Kill the Charlatan! or Why Self-doubt is My Best Friend

Being human is a struggle.

The Buddha knew this and spent his whole life teaching people how to avoid suffering. Having spent plenty of time during the past decade working at equanimity, reminding myself not to react to things (pleasant or unpleasant) and to stop planning out my whole goddamn future, I tend to have a staggeringly short memory in times of stress.

But then, at least I’ve gathered the tools to help me cope. While retail therapy sounds appealing, I’m pretty sure I’d just have a massive closet full of unwanted clothes and enough credit card debt to last three lifetimes. I’d much rather meditate or practice yoga when I’m stressed out, and occasionally run away to far off places to avoid the fact that I don’t really want a real career, or a big house or any of those things that our society deems important.

But because I do run away to far off places and still need to work to pay for food and shelter and clothes for my continually growing kids, I end up in situations that other more homebound people might think insane.

Like not having any actual work lined up for the next few months.

When you’re a freelancer, as I have to remind myself daily, this isn’t the end of the world. There’s ebb and flow, and in the end, it all works out. But that doesn’t stop my brain from screaming FAILURE! whenever I send out a query and hear nothing back, and it also doesn’t stop a snippy little voice from questioning (constantly questioning) my actual talent and ability to write in the first place.

Who do you think you are? Do you really think you’re that special? Why would anyone want to read what you think? You’re not that interesting.

I feel like a sham: like I’m actually fooling everyone (including myself). This whole life – the carefree, mobile existence we’ve created – is just a way to put off the inevitable adulthood that we’re constantly postponing.

But then, of course, I snap out of it and think of all the things I’m grateful for and all of the reasons why I actually don’t need to worry. I have a bright, hardworking husband who will do whatever needs to be done to keep us afloat. I have an excellent brain, strong work ethic and enough experience to get a well-paid job, even if it’s not the one I really want. I have a supportive family who never questions our way of life. And I have amazing friends who not only encourage us to continue living the best life we can, but tell us that we inspire them to choose the more challenging route, because everyone knows the best views are from the edge of the cliff.

Life isn’t supposed to be easy.

There are a gazillion sayings about taking risks for greater gain, and what I’ve come to see is that you just have to find the stomach for it. Given the choice between a slow death from boredom and an exhilarating drop from an airplane, I choose the plane.




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