The Send Button

I think the fear of failure and the fear of success are twin sisters. They play together in the dark; hold hands while they run through the rain. They laugh and giggle and sleep under my bed like childhood monsters; sometimes they whisper things only my dearest friend should know. They tell tales about my inadequacies, and rarely need to embellish for I am fraught with enough details to entertain an entire gymnasium. They are blood relatives to that other set of dastardly twins, depression and anxiety. I think they all phone each other, a hellish conference call that could only take place during a full moon, and brainstorm on ways to stick yet another 9-inch pin into the Voodoo doll that is me.

And yes, I am supposed to be writing.

Isn’t that what I am doing right now?

Paranoia? I think not.

See, they really are out to get me. What they don’t know is that the keys are moving and words are flowing, a river of thought—discordant and jumbled, yes. First drafts are as snarled as mermaid hair, with bits of seaweed and fish scales thrown in for color. First drafts are as maudlin as a middle-aged streetwalker sauntering through a gated community, or as embarrassing as an alcoholic parent coming to visit during the holidays. It’s all about wearing your naked heart on your figurative sleeve. Let the world see it. Or at least pretend to let them see. You’ll always have that second draft, you know.

Unless, somehow, you accidentally hit the “send” button. And you turn in the first version by mistake.

Whatever you do, don’t tell either set of twins what I just said. That would give them yet another stone to cast when I am lying on the floor, my brain empty of ideas and my deadlines looming. Let them think my fears have mysteriously vanished, that I have been healed, that the writing demons no longer gnaw at my heels. Perhaps the twins will go and visit my neighbor instead. I think she needs an hour or two of desolation to break up her cheery day. She smiles entirely too often. Perhaps she has been in cahoots with these evildoers all along.

I’m convinced the twins need to get a life, they’re stuck in a rut, they need to go pick on someone else. I’m entirely too small and unimportant. I mean, somewhere out there someone is actually making an important decision or two. Shouldn’t he/she be the one riddled with doubt? I think this is like getting someone else’s poison pen mail. All this doubt and insecurity has to really belong to someone else, someone with a greater purpose.

All I should be worried about is whether I should have a cheese quesadilla or a bean burrito for lunch. And maybe whether I should polish off that bag of cookies while I’m at it.

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