Every time I attempt to write a post on this subject matter, I tear up. Then I stop.
This time, since I can at least give myself something to return to when things seem tough (and so that hopefully it helps someone else), I am gonna get it out.
I used to be the person who wouldn’t try to fly for fear of falling. Every time I stepped away from a chance to have, be or do something amazing it was all for the sake of saving myself from failure. Or rejection. Or humiliation.
Then I had this dream that could no longer be avoided. And I had this little person who I was going to raise to believe that he could pursue his dreams (wisely and responsibly) and here was my chance to be his example. So (with some prayer and some preparation) I closed my eyes, stood at the edge, spread my wings, and went for it. I was flying.
Things got rough at times. Turbulence. Predators. Weather. But I have come through it all. I am flying.
Where am I now? I am almost there.
This has been a metaphor for my life over the past four years as a PhD student. (AND A MOMMY!) Not long ago I had a talk with my mentor during which he brought up the fact that he thinks I should be done within two years. Outside: “that is a long time, what are you worried about?” Inside: “2 years is a blink of an eye to a senior grad student. 2 years is a fraction of a blink of an eye to a mother!” This time is going to go by so fast. I am in the home stretch. I am almost there.
So I am flying toward my destination. Unaware of when I’ll get there just knowing that I will get there. Then all of a sudden, I am given an idea of when I will get there. Then unlike any knowing that I have done before, I am really knowing that I am going to get there. SUCCESS!
My wings starts shaking. My heart starts pounding. My turbulence is coming from within.
Success. How can I feel so overwhelmed right now? When I am almost there?
I have rolled it around in my head too many times. This scenario. This predicament. Then I stopped rolling. I stopped analyzing. I stopped treating myself like a piece of data. But wait. Maybe data is the way to look at it.
I was the girl wouldn’t try to fly.
I hypothesized that it was because of my fear of falling. However, it was as I approached success that I felt most fearful.
So wait. My data suggests that my fear is not of falling, but of success? Quadruple sigh.
Passed classes. Passed quals. Press through all the proving ground thrown at a black female scientist. I spend years holding my head up through utter crap and here I am losing it…over success. If I seem mad at myself, it’s because I am mad at myself.
Breathe deeply. Get to the point.
I have held myself back out of fear over and over again. I think it’s because I have told myself that failure is on the other side of fear. Really, it’s success that is on the other side of fear. And whatever I have told myself about success made me afraid to reach it.
So what’s my proposed solution? Change my mind about what I think of myself being successful. Get out of my own way. Walk around the fear. Stand in my success and realize that success is where I am meant to be. Then move on to more successes.
Easier said than done. But be done it must.