Atelphobia

How’s that for a five-dollar word?

Atelphobia.

I found it this afternoon while I was “supervising” the children watching the Cars movie.  Let’s call it that.  What I really was doing was coming down from the oral steroid, inhaled steroid and z-pak cocktail that I took six hours before.  That’s right.  Six hours of nausea, crazy heartbeat and the feeling that my lungs have been dry cleaned.  Which made me grumpy and short with the littles.  Who had been trapped in the house with a deadly combination of rainy day and sick mommy.

So, let’s go ahead a call it supervising.  Just don’t tell anybody that they may or may not have had cheese popcorn and root beer for supper.  I’m supervising and doing what I do best when intense boredom and restlessness sets in, I stumble through the internets. 

There used to be an old joke that if you took all the porn off the internet there would be just one page left called BringBackThePorn.com but that’s no longer true.  In my travels, the internet is full of cupcakes.  I don’t know if that’s true or if the stumble algorithm is finely tuned to my unique brand of porn (that would be food porn) but my internet is full of cupcakes. 

Cupcakes and random quotes and wordy things.  Go figure.  Oh, and booze recipes for fruity drinks.  Pretty photos.  A million things to do with an exacto knife and a pile of scrapbook paper (because what are we going to do with all that scrapbook junk now that 2008 is over?).  And more still more cupcakes.  And big cakes.  And all things peanut butter and chocolate.

Peanut butter and chocolate….wait?  What were we discussing?  Peanut Butter martinis?  Okay, that’s not nice to talk about in front of the girl on antibiotics.  Not nice at all.

Oh, that’s right.  Atelphobia.

Who looked it up?  Who jumped to the head of the class and had to google it before I said what it was?  Did anybody know?  Seriously.  I want to know who is the overachiever around here.

Atelphobia is the fear of not being good enough.

See also: me.

This is kind of funny given that today is national I don’t give a shit day (fact).  On the one day when we all should give a shit less what anyone thinks, I may have just given a name to what plagues me almost daily.

That I am just not good enough.

Because, logically, if you are not good enough, what you love will be taken away and given to someone who is good enough.  You know, not directly but that’s what it feels like. 

How much has this mentality kept me from doing what I want to do?  And this isn’t lately, this has been one of those “all of my adult life” things. 

I say that I am not a competitor which is true.  I don’t have an aggressive bone in my body.  I don’t race.  I don’t have to be first I just can’t be last.  Sound familiar?  I don’t think I’ll get that job/promotion/position whatever so I’ll aim just a little lower to make it attainable. 

But I remember a time when I competed for roles and spots in elite groups and competed to be a higher seed or the only female whatever in a field of boys.  Something happened.  Something somewhere or a great number of somethings maybe?  And now I walk around wondering if I am good enough.

What is keeping from being a stagehand full-time?  The feeling of not being good enough.  That somebody will see through my reputation for good, hard work and my bravado to realize that I don’t know what I’m doing.  And I know I’m good at what I do.  And I know my limits and know what I don’t know.  But that’s the irrationality of a fear.  I could be a stagehand full-time but what if full-time still isn’t enough to make up for the scheduling headaches not to mention the single parent thing.  I like being home at bedtime.  I like being able to take my kids to church or to Grammy’s on a Sunday afternoon.  If I don’t do it, who will?

I live with two talented, beautiful and wicked smart children.  Why am I keeping them out of dance and music and soccer?  Because I know how competitive the world is and maybe, just maybe, they aren’t THAT good?  So now my fear is being projected onto them?  How is that fair?

Since when do we have to be the best at something in order to get to do it at all?

This is a roundabout question of course because how do we know if we are the best or get to be the best?  By taking that first step and just doing it.  Right? 

And is it human nature to be the best?  Or are there some of us that are content being the assistants, the one that’s happy just to be there, the volunteers instead of being paid, the one that is proud of finishing and never gets a medal?

I’m going to be lucky to sleep at all tonight and, for the first night in almost three weeks, it won’t be because of the asthmatic sounding cough.  The combination of some serious steroid jitters and deep thought will make for a long night.  Which means an even longer day tomorrow.

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