Dear Old Fear of Messing Up,
Back so soon? Silly me, I didn’t think I would see you for a while. Yet here you are again, looming over my head, ever threatening to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Last time we talked, I told you it was over, but deep down I always knew you were secretly waiting for the perfect opportunity to swoop in and, staying true to your name, mess things up.
We have a long and complicated past; it’s a little funny that I let myself listen to you, because I mess up all the time, and usually it ends up being okay in the end. I have been messing up for my entire life, so I should know better. But you are incredibly reliable; I know I can always depend on you to follow me around and speak lies to me whenever I start to question my decisions or my worth. I shouldn’t be surprised that you are in my life again; it’s a pattern with us, and you certainly know when to show up. Now that I am feeling tired and overwhelmed, now that I am doubting my abilities and questioning my potential- you are the first to tell me that it’s going to be too difficult. You tell me that all the effort will not be worth it, the constant struggle to attain a goal or even simply move forward in life will not end well. It will be too much work, too much sacrifice, and the final reward will not justify it all.
After you have planted that seed of doubt, then comes the most blatant lies of all: I cannot do it. I should not try. It will not happen for me. If I try and fail, I will look the fool, and everyone will say “We never thought she could do it anyway”. Dancing, teaching, traveling, being a mom, finding a life partner- I wasn’t cut out for it.
If I am to be completely honest, listening to you is an indulgence; you see, it is far easier to listen to my good old Fear of Messing Up and never try at all, than to risk everything and make a few mistakes. Easier, but miserable.
Here’s the thing, I despise the fact that you have become a part of my life. You bring out the worst in me. You make me indecisive, negative, and timid, not to mention you stifle any kind of creativity and fresh perspective. You make me resentful, bitter, regretful- which is exactly why I cannot let you be a part of my life anymore.
I know I’ve said it before, but this time I am resolved. No more toxic late night conversations in my mind. No more telling me not to try because I will fail. I am resolved to silence the perpetual nagging that tells me over and over again “But what if you fail…but what if you fail…but what if you fail…”.
Well, if I fail, I might look silly. I might get hurt. But I will learn, I will laugh, I will try something else- and when I finally succeed, I’m gonna have a party and you will not be invited.
So, dear Fear of Messing Up, it’s been real, but I’m over it. If I ever see you out on the street, please don’t say hello, and please don’t call. I’m ready to move on. It was never true love anyway.