The Problem With Desire
It’s a hard thing to want something, and I mean really want something, with all of your heart, and every bit of your being. So much so you can barely contain the elation in your voice when you talk about it, nor the flutter in your belly attesting to both extremes of excitement and apprehension. You find yourself struggling to keep the knot in your throat from rising just thinking about it, dreaming on it.
Yup, desire can do that to you.
Twenty years of secretly coveting something for myself; almost a decade’s worth of semesters staggered between raising kids, juggling bills, and the daily grind of nine-to-five; and all the nights spent studying eight hours in one sitting until I was ready to poke my eyes out – I’m finally that much closer to my ultimate goal. But it’s the 11th hour and I find myself questioning everything that got me here, all of my efforts, every what-if and why-didn’t-I, and the actual probability of crossing the finish line at all.
What if I don’t make it? What if I’m wasting my time? What if I can’t get into law school? Or what if I do and it proves too much? What do I do then? What does someone do with a failure like that, outside of lock yourself in a room watching depressing reruns of Grey’s Anatomy? How am I supposed to keep moving forward, pretending every next step doesn’t get me just as close to failure as it does to triumph?
I am scared, more scared than I’ve ever been.
I can hardly stand to remember each instance I’ve cried in the car like a fool because I felt that much smaller than everyone else. Insignificant. Less worthy. Nor do I care to count how many times I’ve wished to climb a tower and scream at the top of my lungs in defiance to the world below, “Yes, I can!!”. Only I’m just now realizing that convincing the rest of the world what I’m capable of has never been the issue, it’s convincing myself that’s proven the challenge.
I think that’s the problem with desire, the truth of wanting something so much that the fear of not attaining it can swallow you up whole. And God help me I’m just trying not to get consumed in one gulp here, at least long enough to catch a glimpse of what I’ve worked so hard for, just a shot. A chance to see if I really have what it takes, if I’m that girl, the woman I’ve on occasion dared to imagine I could be.
At least once a week I’m itching to crawl back into the hole I came from because regardless of what we admit out loud there’s a certain appeal to settling, keeping to the security we find within the comfort circles we’ve built around ourselves instead of signing up for a challenge where the odds are stacked against us. I call it the Mayweather move, cherry picking only the fights you’re most likely to win simply to keep your pride intact.
But I tell you what, I know I owe it to myself not to let that be me. And I don’t think it should be you either. I’ve said this before, h*ll, I can’t say it enough. The fear of failure shouldn’t ever stop a person from trying.
So next time you confide in me about one of your arcane desires, one of those dreams you pushed aside years ago, or about the girl you’re certain is too good for you, count on me to look you square in the eyes and say, “Do it.” Seriously. If you really want it, find your cajones and do it.
Lean in for that kiss, ask her out anyways, go back to school, start that business, move on, move forward, let go. Whatever it is you’ve been sitting on, secretly longing but always too cautious to go for – just do it. Because at some point we all need to appreciate that going for it matters so much more than whether we win or lose. My life, your life, shouldn’t be reduced to a black and white scoreboard of hits and misses.
As for me, I’m tearing down the mental scoreboard and I’m gonna’ decorate my walls with the scenes from when I got to do the victory dance, my more humbling didn’t-quite-make-it moments, and all the lessons learned in between. Despite the uncertainty of success or the ugly, but very real, chance I can fall flat on my face, I’m betting everything on black anyways, putting myself out there, and with every bit of strength I can muster, I’m going for it.
What about you?
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