Having The Same Feelings As Jemima Kirke – A Fear of Failure and a Pretty Big Ego


I have this mental block. I used to think it was about starting things but over the years I’ve come to realise it’s actually about sticking to things. Forming long term habits, or hobbies, or really anything to do with anything long term.

I get, like a lot of people, insane amounts of motivation to start things right before I go to sleep. Because of that I don’t sleep  much and wake up the next morning so tired that I don’t do any of the things that I spent all night planning. OR I will start something and be almost manically excited and driven by it for the first week and then have a little panic and ultimately stop and go back to doing nothing and quietly bullying myself for not being better.

My friend sent me a video of Jemima Kirke and something she said really hit me straight in the chest. She said:

That’s resistance AND ego, which are the same thing – that everything I make’s going to be great or has to be great? Like, who are you that you are so special and great that you don’t have to make shitty work and practice and get on the floor and make things that no one cares about and throw them out

And that’s exactly how I feel. I never really had to try as a child. I skated by on my above average intelligence and ability in ballet and being the nice girl. I never really failed at anything because I never learned how. My parents never really encouraged failure. They only loosely encouraged success as long as it suited them and they didn’t have to get too involved. In all honesty they’ve never been all that bothered about anything that I do, but they’re very good at saying that they’ll support me in whatever I choose, and leaving it at that. My therapist agrees that a huge portion of my crippling anxiety was a direct result of never experiencing failure. Like never having broken a bone can make people more cautious about taking risks. Coincidentally I’ve never broken a major bone either (nose, toes don’t count).

Rationally I think that failure would be quite exciting if I ever gave it a go. I’m so damn comfortable. I’m so damn bored. I read all of those inspirational quotes with pictures of mountains in the background that say things like “It’s not the things you did that you’ll regret on your deathbed, it’s the things you didn’t do” … that’s very true. I find that very moving and scary, and I get that jolt of brain chemicals that make me want to jump up, put my shoes on and parachute out of an airplane, and then my other brain kicks back in and stays sitting on the sofa scrolling through Instagram because that is inevitably much easier and less stress inducing. Another thing I didn’t do to add to the list of regrets that old lady in my distant future has to think about.

I will be researching this and writing more about it as I soldier on in no/many directions.

I should go to bed now though. I have to get up tomorrow to go back to that job that I’ve spent the past 18 months saying I’m going to leave. So. Very. Comfortable. Amy.

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