Fleeing In Terror’s Probably Not The Best Option


I’ve finally figured out what’s bugging me, what’s dragging me down about the coming semester: the fear of other people’s expectations.

This time last year, no one expected anything from me because nobody knew what I could do. Including me. I just figured: I don’t want to suck. So I’ll go quietly about the business of not sucking.

Now there are, I don’t know, expectations and shit. There isn’t a question of can I do well; I’ve done well, at least in academic terms, and the expectation is that I’ll do so again.

I don’t want to screw up–which isn’t new–but I feel like there are people watching, now, for whom my screwing up isn’t a question. It’s like: you’re here. You carry the name of our program out into the world. And you’re not gonna fuck it up.

Even my editors and the admins of conferences I’m attending, it’s inherent in their communications with me: you’re not gonna fuck it up. You’re a professional. This is what you do. We trust you to come here or write this and talk intelligently about this stuff.

Which is fucking terrifying.

I’ve realized that I like going in with no expectations–my own or anyone else’s. I like flying in blind, with no one knowing me or my work and being like pleasantly surprised or whatever that I’m not a complete idiot. That I do know how to write, sometimes. How to speak, less often.

But that shell’s been spent and the bullet’s long gone. Don’t get to be a virgin forever, I guess. Now I gotta give the people what they want, what I think they want, and it’s no wonder that reading acres and acres of fanfic rather than putting any of my stuff on paper looks pretty fucking fantastic from here.

I’ve internalized all of this crap, is what I’m saying. And it’s acting like a major block that I’m allowing to prevent me from getting shit done.

Dude. I’m scared.

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