What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. – Tim Ferris
Today was a complete shit day. The worst of the worst. I have a lot of those, but this one really got to me. Then I slammed my fingers hard, numbingly hard, in the back door. So hard it bounced off them. For a second I stood there, staring at them in disbelief. How did that just happen? When the second was up I started screaming, ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck this hurts!’ followed quickly by soft whispers of, ‘You’re okay, you’re okay, everything’s going to be okay.’
There’s a theme here.
Repeatedly I find myself telling myself, quietly, gently, that everything is going to be okay. Is it? I’m not so sure.
One of my biggest fears has always been running out of money. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life working myself into the ground to make sure it didn’t happen. I’ve worked multiple jobs since I was able to work. Financial freedom was only part of the satisfaction, a large part – yes, but the underlying wind at my back, always there, always pushing, was fear. The fear of not enough. Knowing there was no one to bail me out.
Three summers ago I sat at my desk with one eyebrow. The hair on my head hadn’t started to fall out yet, but was about to. I wasn’t sleeping much, determined to prove myself to a client who was, in turn, determined to get the maximum out of me by purposely questioning my capabilities. She was already happy with my work, but on her own quest to prove to her colleagues that she could get just a lit-tle more out of me than they had. I was just a speck of dust in her tornado of insecurity and one-upping.
The bottom line is, my own pride – I will show this bitch the best work she’s ever seen and shut her pie hole! – and, beneath it, monetary fear kept me from putting a stop to something that ultimately played a hand in destroying my health.
Do I believe it was meant to be in the larger scheme? Yes, I’ve come to believe that. The health issues maybe not, but without them would I have had the nuts to quit my job of my own volition? Hell no. I’m good at what I do. I like being settled and I like having money. More precisely, I like the security it provides. Without that stroke I’d still be sitting at a desk for 12 to 15 hours a day, telling myself I was doing really.important.things (that were actually not all that important), no matter how many times I sometimes questioned myself. Would I have left it all behind to bake pie at six in the morning? Probably not.
But I did. No matter the circumstances, I did.
The crazy thing is, aside from the money, I don’t miss it much. When you’re in it, you convince yourself (and are made to believe) the ship would sink without you. Grab the life jackets she’s looking over the side! But when you get enough distance you realize those were lies you believed to keep yourself going. And then comes a whole different kind of fear because who are you now that you’ve lost your connection to this job? What’s your meaning?
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.
I’ve read that damn quote over and over so many times since I first saw it. I am at odds with that quote. I want to rip it up into a million pieces and stomp it under my shoe.
Because the truth is, I don’t feel like I got myself here, facing my fear. I feel like life put me here, whether I liked it or not. There, deal with it. Look it in the eye. Live in it. In reality, I feel like it’s swallowing me up.
Last week after I wrote that bit about working for Chris a few times a week I got emails, actual emails from people who told me they were envious of me. Oh good Lord, please don’t be. I’m only doing what I have to do, what I can do, to keep my head above the water and from losing my mind. These pies don’t really need me, I need them.