Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One Step Up, Long Way Down

It's a cliche.

I'm not afraid of heights, I'm afraid of falling from them.

It's also a metaphor, albeit an ill-constructed metaphor, which I must confess also seems rather cliche.

But I feel it needs to be said because if you haven't already reached this point, you will and when you do, you need to know you're not absolutely crazy.

Then again, I'm sharing my experience and it's likely I'm a little unhinged so... perhaps you are crazy.

It's okay. We're all a little mad here.

Last Friday it was revealed that I was one of the very lucky ten people to be added as an expansion pack to Geek & Sundry's vloggers. And of course I'm elated, exhilarated--over the moon...

But I'm also absolutely terrified. 

There's a weird comfort in failing, I think. Or, rather a part of you does get comfortable with it. You try your hardest and you slide back down.

Rinse repeat.

There's not really a risk if you've already mentally prepared yourself for it. 

But succeeding is a different beast. And it's one I've honestly struggled with as an artist. I can't tell you how long it took me to manage a simple "thank you" when someone complimented my work. I had trouble making excuses. I still have trouble making excuses. Criticism was easier to hear. I knew how to filter it, how to use it to improve things.

We create because we enjoy it--and of course we want an audience and we want an audience to like it but once you know people are honestly paying attention, there is a definite feeling of stage fright in that.

Because once you succeed at something--even if it's a small something, the risk of failure seems ten times more petrifying. If you fall on your face, there are more people to witness, if you make a false move, you could damage everything.

Failure means there's work to do. Success means "you got it, now don't fuck it up."

Even though it isn't true, succeeding once seems to take away the freedom to fail any time after it. 

It's a scary thought, really. Maddeningly scary.

Or maybe just being scared of doing well seems crazy. I'm not entirely sure. I felt pretty crazy this weekend. Sliding back and forth from dancing for joy and vomit inducing panic. 

Admittedly, looking back, I realize that panic was fueled by the emotional stress of needing to finish two major projects before the end of the month while moving and agitated by the physical stress that was the insanity of the Spartan race.

So maybe that's not an entirely accurate observation in this case. 

But the point is there is some terror in succeeding in what you're doing. There's a huge difference in the mindset of wanting something and actually achieving it and that's okay. It really is. There's nothing wrong with being scared about it because it means you care--you want it to be good. 

And if you care about something badly enough, you probably should be a little scared. Scared you'll mess it up, scared you'll lose it... But that shouldn't stop you from going for it with all of you.

If you haven't got to it yet, deep breath, you will. And when you do remember that being scared of it is completely fine. You're not crazy.

You just care.

I think we need more of that in the world sometimes. 


  1. It's a conundrum, isn't it? As an artist of any kind, you're torn between the humility (hopefully) that comes from somber self-reflection and hyper-criticality, and the ego that projects the belief that you're the only person who can express your own unique impression of life and the world.

    I tried to find the quote by Neil Gaiman (but I failed my Google skill check) where he talked about feeling like a sham every day, and just dreaded the moment where everyone found him out.

    It's the friction between ego and self-doubt that often sparks the most beautiful work, Kiri. You're gonna be fine. *hugs you anyway*

  2. It can be very scary being put in a position that comes with increased scrutiny for sure. Especially when you are trying to be creative which inherently means you are putting something out there which is a piece of yourself. So having the added pressure of wanting to create something good can be pretty crazy.

    Like you said though, I think a little fear is healthy, it just means you care and you are going to put your all into it. Failures happen though, and all we can do is try to learn from them the best we can. Easy to say, tough to do right?

    For what it's worth though from some stranger on the internet, I think you are going to do awesome!

  3. I really can't say it better than Ren. I'm excited for you Kiri!

  4. I agree with the above sentiments. And I also think that, with regards to your G+S admittance, you were already good enough at your vlogging/singing/edumacating/writing and the whole range of other artistic endeavours that you had a friendly, cooperative and appreciative following BEFORE you got voted up.
    What do you need to do differently, other than just be yourself and carry on doing what you are doing?
    Not a damn thing. :)

    You'll do great, but don't run yourself ragged to do it (literally and metaphorically, you crazy Spartan running lady).

  5. I agree with those who commented before me. I haven't known you long but I was drawn to your personality. Be yourself and you'll go far.
    I know that moving is stressful and I wish you luck and calm feelings.
    Also I can totally relate to a fear of success. I've published small articles and stuff but now that I'm almost finished with my first book I'm terrified.

  6. Continuing the trend, I agree with everyone above me as well. If I may stand on their shoulders for a moment (Oomph! Sorry! Oof, ow. So sorry.), it's not just your success up to this point that's gotten you here. It's your failures too, the ones which led you to your recent successes. You will fall from time to time, but you know what? You're just as human as we are.

    In fact, as much as I wish you the best of successes, I also wish you a few failures in between, for it's only from the ashes does the Phoenix rise again, and it's only from our less than stellar "successes" do we learn more about what works, what doesn't, more about ourselves, more about the world, more about... More.

    I hope I speak for all of us here when I say that when you do fall, you'll just have to look up to see hundreds of hands reaching out to you to help you back up. It's up to you to accept them.

  7. Just remember..."You're Not Alone..." That might have a hidden meaning as well, but for now, just remember I am always there in your corner cheering you on! And no matter what happens, when all of the fans go home, I will still be there, to help you up when you fall, and to push you forward when you do great! Which you seem to be doing a lot more lately! You have quite a following of friends old and new, they like your sincerity and your honesty! Be yourself...and you'll go far! Plus don't forget your mother!