Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I have fucking hated that phrase my entire life.
All through elementary school that phrase, or one very like it, graced every single report card I ever got, right next to the straight A’s. This confused me highly, if I was getting the highest marks possible, how was I not working to potential?
I mean, yeah, I read a lot in class instead of paying attention, but I still got all A’s, tutored other students, helped correct their tests and coursework, wrote puppet shows for them, taught my friend Kay-Ho to speak English (probably better than I do most of the time) after she and her family immigrated to the US from Vietnam. In fourth grade my teachers gave up assigning me to reading groups because they didn’t have texts that addressed my college reading level. I just did a whole lot of book reports. I think I have probably written more book reports than any other person on this planet.
So, what the fuck was up that whole “Not working to potential?”
Now that I’m an adult, I still get it. I get my work done, often with hinderances greater than anyone here, at least, realizes, and still, I get “Not working to potential.”
Well, yeah, they’re right. Being an Admin is NOT working to my potential. I know that. But I’m fucking paralyzed by fear and self doubt.
I know now, through years of therapy, that my parents weren’t directly trying to squash my dreams, but rather that they wanted me to be realistic about my chances of making money by writing, or anything else that smacked of flights of fancy. But the end results were much the same. I want so desperately to write and be read, and create meaningful discourse to the world at large, and I’m fucking terrified of getting that larger audience. That I’m going to seem small, petty and provincial… midwestern. Milquetoast, mild, boring, ridiculous…
Getting all those hits on the “Slut” piece at CA NOW both elated me, and scared the ever-loving shit right out of me. Half my brain shouted, “See!! We DO have worthwhile things to say!!!” And the other half kept cringing back, waiting for the blows to fall, waiting for someone to dismiss me, tell me dozens of people had said those things first and better and more trenchantly and who was I to pretend to intelligence or legitimacy?
I know that working here, where the Union makes sure I’m not fired on a whim, but isn’t good for a whole lot past that, is safe. I also know that it is making me sick, and feel like a whore. And not in a good way. I spend all my time trying to make someone look better than he is, and I’m starting to really, really not care. Hell, I’ve been not caring for a while, and it’s started to show. But it will never be him, it will always be my fault for not carrying on the illusion and letting everyone think the fiction is fact.
I should not cry at my desk as a near daily occurence.
I’m working on building the guts to just say “fuck it” and walk away to spend all my time writing, and courting those 20,000 people who read my piece and took something away from it, even if it was nothing more than, “Wow, I’m not alone.” But it’s really, really hard. I don’t do well with risk… Even in roleplaying games. It drives Ogre nuts, but when faced with a challenge in a game, I will worry at it forever if he lets me. If there’s planning, forget it. The only way he can get me out of it is to force me to make snap decisions NOW. NOW. NOW!!!!
I do surprisingly well under crisis, and tend to court that when I’m bored, frustrated or unhappy. And I don’t mean courting drama in light of crisis. I mean, letting work shit pile up until the last minute, and blazing through it in a burst of glorious productivity, then going back to slacking.
I’m not living up to my potential, and I need to fix that. I just don’t know how.