Monday, February 5, 2007

a fear of feeling inadequate

"Half the battle is getting over the fear of feeling inadequate."

While editing a certain someone's paper, I came across this observation which, although was being used in a specific context, suddenly shed a new light on my own fear of inadequacy.

Anybody who knows me will tell you that I have been putting off my masterpieces. Whether it be a novel or a perfectly poached egg, it feels as though I am trying to take large steps with baby feet. Where does this fear of inadequacy stem from? Is it universal, like the fear of death and public speaking, or bred from a past experience, like a fear of clowns and cupcakes?

Even writing this blog feels like a battle every time, each post laced with the fear of being inadequate, or even worse, mediocre. What if I have no ideas left? What if my well has dried up before I've had a chance to morph from average into successful and confident?

Every time I come to write, whether it be about cake or bunnies, it makes me nervous. What makes me nervous is not the fact that others are judging me by my writing, but that I myself am the most critical judge of my writing. What scares me is the thought that I will begin to measure my self-worth by the product, and no longer by the process.

"Millions of people live their entire lives without finding themselves. But it is something I must do. The best way for me to find myself as a person is to prove to myself that I am an actress."

Did Marilyn believe that the only way to find out who she was was by defining what she was. Being an actress made her feel like she was someone. And not anyone, but Marilyn Monroe, actress. By being able to define herself by what she did, her job, she was, in a way, proving to herself that she really did exist.

But does "actress" really define her, or is it just a job? And is a job, a profession, a measure of who you are? Is it an easy way out of defining who you are? If you live your whole life not being something, can you still be someone? And when do you know that you've become the person who you really are?

Maybe finding yourself is overrated. Maybe it is so difficult because every time you find what you believe to be yourself, you are already somewhere else. You spend your life chasing a truth that, in itself, is mercurial in its state.

Why are we so fixated on finding ourselves?

Maybe it's easier to to just wait, patiently, hoping to be found by someone else.