This Is Too Big for Me

21 06 2011

Today was supposed to be a celebration. A celebration from beginning to end. A celebration of success, smashing success. Anyone else would have swum in what I experienced today. But me, no, I sank into my ditch of fear. Fear of success?

Success is a trigger, the bigger the success and the potential rewards, the bigger the trigger, the more intense the threat, the more likely I’ll withdraw.


Yes, fear of success, of moving forward. Today I felt the exact same way I felt when I was in elementary and middle school. Terrified, of success. I remember being promoted 6th grade halfway through 5th grade because I was academically “talented.” One of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I was afraid of the “higherness” of the situation. I’d sit there at home, anticipating, feeling the fear in every bit of me, shrinking in my skin.

Today, as I was approached, because of my success, and asked to apply for the very job I had been waiting for for a very long time, I felt that same fear. “What? You mean I actually have a chance? Wait! But this is too big for me!! That’s it!!! This is too big for me!!”


Back in my school years:

Dad: What are you afraid of? Why are you crying?

Me: I am afraid of the new class. The kids, they’re all so big. And the teacher, she doesn’t look nice.

Dad: This is a new one!! I have never in my life seen someone who’s crying and afraid because they passed!! (laughing) This is sickening! You fail (I never failed), you’re afraid; you pass, you’re afraid!


I don’t know why I remembered this very vividly today. I remember exactly where I was and where he was. As I was hit by this gripping crippling fear, earlier in the day, all I could sense was my nervousness and shakiness all over. It wasn’t until a couple of hours ago that I could put a name and a memory to it: This is too big for me.


Another success crowned with fear.




One response

23 06 2011
The Writing Goddess

The really encouraging thing here – you’re really AWARE of your fear.

Many people, odd as it sounds, as afraid of success. Even if we truly want something – to get a promotion, a marriage, to finish a book – we are afraid, because once that plateau is reached, things are going to change, and change is scary. So we subconsciously sabotage ourselves to prevent ourselves from having to face that change.

YOU haven’t. And you’ve been brave enough and strong enough to sit with your fear and think about it, and to recognize it. (Insert cheers & clapping noises here.)

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