Quite awhile back when I was a young punk ass, know-it-all, I was seventeen at the time, my parents made me go to a drug and alcohol counselor. They knew I had an alcohol problem and figured I smoked pot; they had no idea how far down the rabbit hole I had gone. That’s neither here nor there, for now. I agreed to go so I could get out of working at this horrible job I had at a place that made adhesive bandages (band-aids), it was mind-numbing, tedious work and I hated it. They called and set up an appointment at a place that specialized in teens with drug and alcohol problems.
After meeting with my counselor a few times to discuss my background (I held nothing back from her, telling her all the different drugs that I had had experiences with) and how the treatment program would proceed she sat me down to give me her evaluation. She went through all the preliminary bullshit about how these drugs and alcohol were bad and the effects that they can have on an adult’s life, let alone that of a teenager. Then she got into the more personal aspects of the session. She said that she could tell I had potential (something I had heard over and over and the word still makes me cringe.) What she said next really blew my mind, she said, “You have a fear of success.” Knowing me, at that time in my life, I probably answered her with, “What the fuck does that mean?”
I honestly do not remember her answer, but throughout my adult life those words have seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Every time that I have been on the edge of being successful I have done something to sabotage that success. I cannot say I have knowingly done these things to prevent myself from reaching my true potential. Yet in looking back I can see how I created the situation that ensured my failure, whether with jobs, school or writing; I have often been the one responsible for my collapse. As part of my “starting over” this IS the main thing I need to figure out to be able to move forward.
I do not believe I have an actual fear of success. I think I have a fear of living up to the expectations that being successful at something can create. I have worried too often about letting people down; as a result I have worked at lowering people’s expectations. Thinking like that has got me absolutely nowhere; it has kept me right where I have been, treading water or backsliding. That is just not good enough. For now on I want people to have high expectations for me.
Mostly, I want to have high expectations for myself. I do not want to be one responsible for holding myself back; that is just plain old stupid. I have potential, a lot of potential (hey I said that without cringing) and it is long overdue for me to start living up to that potential. So if you read this I want you to have the highest possible expectations for me that you can have. For me, I am no longer going to fear success; I am going to achieve it. From my point of view, the sky is the limit and I am just getting started.