captaintemerity: (Monster Cat)
[personal profile] captaintemerity
For a guy who tends to talk a lot, I'm doing a horrible job lately of talking myself into anything.

I'm trying to remember, at this point, when I became so afraid of living. I lost my job last July (maybe officially in August... I can recall. But I know I was told on the 4th of July that I wasn't in position, and then, on the 5th, I handed over my car, my phone, and a big piece of who I thought I was). And yeah, that's a big hit, to be sure. But I think it's been longer, maybe by several years, since I felt confidence about anything.

Some great things happened to me between then and now. Erin and I got engaged. We bought a house (for better or worse. Probably worse. But we're still here today). I wrote the first couple scripts of a comic that is something I truly love and makes me feel like I accomplished a big part of my life just by doing it. And while it hasn't actually been completed on the art end, I did 24 Hour Comic Book Day with Corky, and then started writing Baujahr off and on with Levi. The ashcan was the first thing I wrote in print, self-published, really small. But then I started writing the strip (or maybe I already was. Again, I forget), and that goes up on the web site and gets printed in Flint Comix each month (I think Levi said 16 thousand copies? I don't know. But anything is a lot to me). Then it was scripting John Russo's story for See-Thru Baby, also put into the magazine. I'm suddenly credited as co-writing something with the guy who wrote a piece of cinematic history in "Night of the Living Dead." And it's both a small thing and a big thing, you know? There's the podcasts, with the d20 which are fun, and the spreecast with Glenn, Greg, Dave and Mike, which are different simply because it's outside my clique of friends (although we're friends now, I like to think). Even just the amount of time I spend visiting the TWiT Brick House, meeting people that I admire and them recognizing me by face and name. It all adds up.

But here I am, terrified so much of the time. I should be driven to be doing bigger and greater things. I have time, at the moment, because of the unemployment and the mortgage help, to pursue something more. To try something new I couldn't have really done working. But I wake up each day and plop down in front of the laptop and the television at the same time and become half-dead on the recliner, under the cats, wishing for things like winning a contest of a new house or a magical lottery ticket to protect me from having to face up to the fact that, within the next few months, I'll have to push myself into finding a normal job again. And I don't know if I can. Not that I can't do an honest day's work. As adverse as I am to going back to the grind, I'm perfectly capable of doing it. But I'm scared that I'm unhireable. That I won't find a job that I am suited to or qualified for that I can also get enough money from to keep Erin and I safely in our home, our bills paid, our bellies and pets fed. That I'll somehow ruin what little we have, and screw up our planned wedding for October. That it won't just be the dreams I'll be giving up on, but the day-to-day life.

The pressure each day hits me, hard, that I'm an emotional invalid. I need to be rescued because I'm too afraid to live my own life.

And it happened longer ago than I can clearly recall. And I don't know why at this point. I seem to remember it was probably about working a position I enjoyed. It paid me well, and I felt possibly too comfortable. And someone came in and pointed me out and suddenly made me feel incredible inferior and not worth anything. And, fortunately, I got out of that spot pretty fast, and he also left the company because, frankly, he was like that with many, many people. But it still affected me. My cocoon was disturbed, and I never recovered from that fully. Every step up just felt shakier and shakier under my steps and I lived in fear each day that this unsteady footing was just going to bring me tumbling down. And, in the end, it did, didn't it? But is it because I was right, or because I was expecting it so much that I made it happen?

There's a fear of failing that is only ever dwarfed by a fear of succeeding. And then there's me. Right now, I'm afraid of almost everything. I don't like to answer my door or my phone. I'm not calling home very often, because I feel like a disappointment, but also because I always expect some news of things happening, like my parents suddenly dying, and me feeling like I let them down by not being there. I don't like hanging out with my friends more than expectations that have already been laid out because I only have the energy to be awake and entertaining for a couple hours at a time. I help at the Comic Shop because Kathy has ever been kind and a friend to me, but I fret each time I'm supposed to be there. Why am I not at home, writing, doing something more? Because, dummy, when you go home, you do nothing.

I'm only part of this new writing group because Chris put it on me. And I know fully well I'll likely bow out before it goes its full run. Because I'll get lazy, or scared, again. I'll say it's not right for me, or that I'm not right for it. And whether either of those statements are correct or not, it's really because I'd rather hide. I'd rather bury my head under the blankets than put myself into anything again, because I feel like a failure. And is it better to fail at something, or to fail by not trying? These days, I'm on the latter end.

I'm not, and have never been, the guy with tons of confidence. I wasn't telling myself that I had some innate talent that was going to get me discovered or rich. As i started to dream more and more about possibly making a living doing creative things, it has still always been about working with other, far more talented people. Writing with Anne, creating with Levi or Corky, working in a writer's room for a TV show. I may have something to offer, but I've never been the lead draw of anything. That's inherent to who I've always been.

And I'd be happy just to be that way again. To at least feel like I'm able to deliver at that level. But that's so many steps above where I am today.
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February 2013

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