Terrifyingly Successful

I’m hoping Kevin and David won’t be too pissed off about my essentially ripping off the title of their podcast for the title of this post. But being that this post is a response to their latest episode, I figured it was probably okay.

So on their latest episode they go significantly more serious than usual. One of the best things about Terrifyingly Beautiful is that they make it easy to laugh at our anxiety, and as we all know, being able to laugh at something takes away a lot of the power it has over us. But kind of like I say in my book, there are some things that just aren’t really funny, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t still need to talk about them at some point.

So on their latest episode, David talks about his anxiety about success. And sure to some extent, he means anxiety about whether or not he will manage TO BE successful, but it’s more about his anxiety about actually BEING successful. And as soon as I heard him talking about it, I was like “Oh my god, YES.”

My particular anxiety about “being successful,” is that I feel like I’m just perceived as successful. It’s like somehow, without even really intending to, I’ve managed to trick people into thinking that I am capable. I worry that it’s not that I am actually good enough, it’s just that I’ve been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who have helped me look good. But at some point people are going to figure out that I am incompetent and do not deserve to be where I am doing what I am doing.







Case in point, my prior post, 30,000 Foot View, was inspired by John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down as the post indicates. But what I don’t talk about in that post is that the actual imagery therein was based on what was going through my head at the time because of something that had happened to me earlier that day. 

I’d been at an annual leadership conference hosted by my specialty’s professional society for the prior 4 days, and it had gone exceedingly well. I’d had some unplanned but really exciting opportunities. I’d risen above what had been expected of me and gotten a lot of accolades for that. And of the things I’d known in advance that I needed to accomplish while I was there, they went even better than I could have hoped. I was really feeling extremely confident and proud of myself.





As the last day of the conference was wrapping up, an attendee came over to chat with me. This isn’t unusual since it’s a small conference and a lot of people end up meeting me at some point. And he asked – so how can someone get to do what you’re doing – be so involved with not just participating in these but actually getting to facilitate and be involved at the organizational level? Before I could answer, he was like, “Oh wait you work at Hospital X with Dr. Y, right? (Dr. Y is amongst other things the director of this particular conference offering, at least for the last few years). Oh, that explains it.”

I let it go in real time, but I was thinking, “Hey, screw you buddy. He may have helped me get my foot in the door, true, but I’ve gotten as far as I have based on my own efforts and skills. So there, you sad and pathetic little man!!”

An hour later…. “I really am nothing but his shadow. No one would even want me here if it wasn’t for my working for him.” That’s right folks. Top of the world to I’m not even mold on a piece of cat vomit in an hour.

Welcome. To. My. Brain.

So I totally get David’s whole thing about being stressed about whether or not he is worthy for the success that he is realizing.

And then, he talks about being afraid to allow himself to succeed because putting yourself out there in what could be success could also be setting yourself up for failure. His example is that he believes he’s self-sabotaging himself for opportunities because deep down he’s afraid he’ll screw them up and it’s better to just not get the opportunity than to take it and find out that you’re not good enough. And I am so totally there. 

There’s been a number of times over the past almost 15 years that I have looked for other options and a been offered opportunities that would have been, at least at face value, growth opportunities. And that’s the very definition of success, right?

I’ve never taken any of those offers. I like to tell myself that’s because I was looking at the big picture and seeing the long term positive things about where I was, even though there were certainly real-time negative things. But the reality is, after hearing David say it out loud, I have to admit that I’ve been in that exact same place as him. Those opportunities represented taking the next step, doing more than I was currently doing, but there was always the chance that I wouldn’t be able to do it. It’s a lot more comfortable to stay where you are than it is to take the chance that you aren’t capable of doing more.

So success…. It’s what we all want. The idea of not achieving it is a horrible source of anxiety. The reality of achieving it is a source of terrible anxiety.

Wow. Our brains really are screwed up, aren’t they???


P.S.  I’m sure some of you are probably sick of me telling you that you really must go listen to the Terrifyingly Beautiful. Except you’d only feel that way if you hadn’t yet listened to it, because if you have actually listened to it, then you’re thanking me a million times over. Seriously folks, it isn’t rocket science. If you don’t already have a podcast app, or do not have a podcast app that lets you access this particular podcast, go to your phone’s Google Play Store and download the free “Stitcher” app. Then search for their podcast and Wal la! (If nothing else it’ll make this post make more sense.)







Nope, Still Hump Day

On day two of my endeavor to do this whole “you should write something everyday” thing, here comes another post. (I can give you names and Twitter accounts of the author’s you have to blame for these atrocities.)

Today will be a sort of ‘second edition’ of pet peeves. I wouldn’t necessarily say that many of these are pet peeves,but well, that’s just the label we’re going to go with. So today: 

Pet Peeves about Foods

Ketchup: Being from Pittsburgh HAVE to start with this one. THERE IS FLAT-OUT, NO QUESTIONS, WITHOUT A DOUBT, NO YOU ARE JUST WRONG IF YOU SAY OTHERWISE, any ketchup other than Heinz. I don’t care who makes it, I don’t care what you call your imposter condiment – ketchup, catsup… whatever, it’s disgusting. All of it.





Mayo: I am not the biggest fan of mayo to start with (seriously Japan, what the eff???) But all mayonnaise except for Hellman’s mayonnaise basically just tastes like what I imagine boogers would taste like.

Meatloaf: If you follow me on Facebook then you are already aware of my quite strong opinion on meatloaf. Meatloaf should only come with a ketchup glaze, period. This bullshit with putting gravy on meatloaf has to stop. Turkey? Fine. Hot covered roast beef sandwiches? Fine. Mashed potatoes? Fine. Poutine fries? Fine. But as soon as you stick gravy on so-called meatloaf what you now have is Salisbury steak. And if I wanted Salisbury steak I would have ordered Salisbury steak. Keep your damn gravy away from my meatloaf and hand me the Heinz ketchup.





Green Peppers: First of all I would like to start off by saying I actually really like green peppers. I love them in chili, I love them fried with onions on sausage sandwiches, I love them in fajitas… But I do not understand why people insist on putting green peppers in shit that they don’t belong in. Essentially, whatever you put green peppers in ends up pretty much tasting like green pepper. And I’m sorry, but spaghetti sauce should not taste like green peppers. Nor should meatloaf. Nor should a myriad of other things that people insist on putting them into. Look, I know it’s a cheap green vegetable but just stop it!

Salt and pepper: I actually don’t have a problem with salt and pepper themselves – I mean these are pretty much the two most essential seasonings out there. What really irritates me is when you go to a restaurant and there’s no salt and pepper on the table. Yeah, yeah I get it – you can ask for it. But basically by them not putting on the table and making you have to say that you want it, it’s like they’re telling you you’re some sort of heathen or something if you ask for it. It should just freaking be on the damn table already. If I want to put salt and pepper on my food I don’t care whether you feel insulted by that – I’m paying for the damn meal!





Over-cooked steak: This one’s a twofer. First of all, people who order steak medium well, or even worse well done – you do not deserve steak. If you’re essentially going to turn that meat into something dry and tasteless then do not waste a perfectly good high-end steak that someone else could enjoy. Just buy some ground mystery beef and have a dry ass burger. Second, restaurants that cannot properly cook steak. Look, it is not a requirement that every restaurant have steak on its menu, so if you can’t cook the damn thing the way it was ordered then don’t have it on your menu. And before you say “oh but just send it back until they get it right”, I do not want to wait for yet another meal to come out and, back to my prior point, this is a waste of a perfectly good animal’s death. It should be treated with more respect and if you can’t manage that then just don’t do it at all. And actually I lied, this is a threefer – because the other thing that really irritates me is that they will not allow you to order a kid’s steak or a kid’s burger medium rare. I’m his mother, if I want to endanger him with a medium rare steak that’s my business. You want me to sign a waiver or some such nonsense, fine, but my kid doesn’t want dry ass meat and I’m not going to pay for dry ass meat for my kid.

Avocados: This isn’t just about me hating avocados (which I do). It’s about the fact that this whole avocado thing has just gotten out of hand. People complain about the whole pumpkin spice thing, but seriously, avocados are just showing up in all kinds of things they should never be in. I mean, there is no place IN THIS WORLD for avocado ice cream, end of story.

Deep Frying Everything: Again, just stop. You don’t need to try and deep-fry everything you can get your hands on just to prove that you can.

Lemon in iced tea: Why in the hell do restaurants automatically put lemon in your iced tea? If I want lemon in my iced tea **I** can easily add lemon to my iced tea. However if I don’t freaking want lemon in my iced tea (which I most certainly DO NOT) and you have already put it in there, my iced tea already tastes like lemon and there’s not really any way to undo that. Stop making my decisions for me!

Getting Over the Hump

My creative headspace has looked a bit like this lately:






I’m envious and a bit in awe of authors who write everyday, no matter what. They tend to have this theory of ‘write something’, even if it’s crap, just to stay mentally limber and develop good writing habits.

Me, if I tried to do that, most days my writing would look like this:








And I would like this:









That said, at some point you really do have to write SOMETHING or risk giving up altogether (even if it’s just a post full of crazy camel haikus).

Working all day long / My boss thinks this is water / What else would it be???


Don’t know ’bout Yankee
/ But this Doodle is dope fly / Don’t hate, Bee-ahh-chez!


Hey I did warn you / Don’t ask me “what day is it?” / That shit’s got real old


And last but not least / “Your thoughts on camel haikus?” / Make it freaking stop!!