About a year and a half ago, I started this blog. For the most part, it was done just for the hell of it. On occasion, though, it has served a more therapeutic purpose. In therapy, the concept of journaling, or writing down your thoughts and feelings. I’ve done that a few times here, and this is once again one of those times. My reasons for making this public is this: If anyone else who reads this has had the same thoughts/feelings, they’ll know they aren’t the only one. Solidarity is important, especially when it comes to issues or challenges we face internally. I fought for a long time with thoughts and emotions that I thought were just me being different or crazy, only to find out they were perfectly normal. Another big reason, which is actually an issue of mine, is that I want people to know me better. I’m not a very easy person to really understand, and a VERY small handful of people have been both in the position, and gave enough of a shit, to really get me. This is my way around that, in a way. If that says something bad about me, or make me a loser, then so be it. Nothing new there.
Last night was the last game of the season for my company’s softball team. I decided to play this year, and they didn’t have a problem with my lack of prowess on the field. I didn’t do well during the season, and last night was no exception. When I was driving home, I was considering it, and a few things came into better perspective. It was the first time I actually fully acknowledged something about myself. I’ve kinda known for awhile, but always just ignored it and distracted myself, instead of following the path and seeing how far down the rabbit hole I could go.
I came to realize that this all relates to a big issue for me, which in my mind is a major personality flaw. I believe that I’ve been given a fair amount of gifts, so to speak. Gifts like intelligence, coordination, etc… My problem is that I have done very little with them. I have literally dozens of hobbies and interests, and I’m not particularly good at any one in particular. I’m average at some, below average at most, and awful at a few (like softball). The title Jack of all trades, master at none is fitting, since it doesn’t specify how good a Jack is at a trade, and usually has a negative connotation. I’m well aware that proficiency takes practice and dedication, and that’s my problem. I have virtually no drive to excel at anything in particular. I have desire to be good, but no get-up-and-go to put myself out there and really kick ass at it. It’s frustrating to deal with because most people just say to me “just do it, don’t think about it, just do it”, which would probably work for most people, but for some reason it doesn’t work for me. I need that drive to really make any headway. I was told by my vocal coach that if I actually practiced and worked at it, I could be a pro level singer, but I never have an urge to practice, even though I’ve long dreamt about being a truly great vocalist. I used to do martial arts, and while I was decent at it, I never excelled at it. I took fighting class, and was one of the worst fighters there. Just lacked the drive and focus. This also makes it hard for me to fit in with a commune-like structure, since I don’t stand out at anything, and end up having little to offer aside from sarcasm and alcohol consumption.
The real problem here isn’t the lack of drive, because that’s just a symptom of a more deeply rooted problem. I’m not 100% sure this is the real issue, but logically it makes the most sense. Fear. I’ve been fearful my entire life, about a myriad of things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any odd phobias like heights, spiders, enclosed spaces, carnies, etc. Considering the “gifts” I believe I possess, I fear giving my all and being left wanting. It’s a huge flaw in my ego. This is probably the #1 reason for my self deprecating humor, and why I always talk down about myself. If people expect less of me, and think I’m fundamentally incapable, then me being average is taken as a win overall. The problem is, I’m actually capable of much more, but I’m too afraid of the failure to bother trying. It makes me a huge hypocrite, since I’ve berated others for doing exactly this about one thing or another. Granted, it wasn’t nearly as systemic as it is with me, or at least I don’t know it was.
My fear of giving my all and still failing goes back a very long way, and is now so ingrained in my psyche that it’s a core part of my identity. I don’t think the change will ever occur, don’t think I’ll ever get past this. Too many years as a kid being told I was worthless, not good enough, etc, all led to this, and I didn’t bother acknowledging it until it was too late. It eventually evolved into a sort of apathy, where I just don’t care enough to succeed. I know I could be better. A better musician, a better worker, a better fighter, a better thinker, and a better man. All things being considered, viewing myself in full perspective, this all results in me having great tools, and not really building anything with them. This, to me, makes me an overall failure, which is probably why my obvious low self esteem doesn’t feel forced or disingenuous. My only hope is that I can mask it enough to hide it from my children, but knowing them, they probably have some sort of clue. I just hope they don’t see that as the right way to be.