Sunday, 10 May 2015

{Dear Diary} Ready, Steady, Jump

It's May. Fucking May. Month FIVE of 2015. In a few weeks time I will be turning a year older, before you know it Xmas chocolates will start appearing in shops like parasitic boils and then BOOM - it'll be 2016. So why the fuck am I pissing time up the wall like I have a Tardis stashed in my knicker drawer?

Because, ladies and gents, if I'm being melodramatic, I am drowning in a tsunami of fear. If I'm trying to be lighthearted, I am pooping it. If I'm in total denial, I'm a little anxious. The reality is more of a paralysis/deer in headlights situation where I'm so caught up in my own fears and self-doubt that I can't move in any direction.

It's an awful thing to admit, but that's the truth. At the end of March I left my job with £3,000 of hard-earned cash, enough to live off for 2 months while I went freelance and started my own production company. I am going to do this, I said, to myself, to my friends, to my family. I may as well have got it printed on a t-shirt or tattooed on my nose, I was that determined. "I'm going to put myself out there and I'm going to Make. It. Work."

It has been 5 weeks now, that money is almost gone and at present I have no paid work booked. That's not to say I've not been working; on the contrary, I've had about 2 days off in those 5 weeks, because when you are your own boss there's no escaping the guilt that keeps you tied to your desk past 6pm. I made an online film that was actually pretty successful, built a website, made 3 different showreels, and carried out hours of research. I've spent my evenings at several networking events and had coffee with dozens of interesting people who want to work with me. But I haven't been earning and that there is a major issue.

So yes, I am terrified of not making rent at the end of May. Except that isn't the biggest fear that currently has me on the verge of a panic attack 9 times a day.

Do you know what I am scared of? You'll laugh.


And how stupid and cliché even is that? I know, I'm aware (yawn). It's boring and pathetic, the kind of shallow tripe screenwriters give a character when they're too one-dimensional. But there you go.

To be fair to myself, I'm not usually a scaredy-cat. Other than a deep-rooted and irrational fear of tidal waves (hence the earlier metaphor) I'm not fazed by much and I've been through some scary situations. The difference is this time, the terrifying obstacle I'm faced with is myself and I have only myself to motivate me.

Am I talented enough? Am I clever enough? Business-minded enough? Focused enough? Old enough? Wise enough? Thin enough? (Absurd, says my rational brain, but sometimes it does feel like if I just lose 8 lbs I will be an instant success).

Some days I wake up ready to kick ass and conquer the world; within an hour I'm staring blankly at my computer, or I'm bingeing on houmous, straight from the pot with a teaspoon. It doesn't matter how many Beyoncé songs I listen to, I'm in an infuriating spiral of self-doubt.

That's why since "launching" with a website and a viral campaign, I've not approached half the brands and companies I'm meaning to. It's why I waste hours panic-applying to regular office jobs I don't want. It's why my folder filled with ideas (good ones, too) goes untouched and unseen. It's why I kid myself with endless lists and spreadsheets, planning for eventualities that will never happen if I don't step out of my comfort zone.

I'm scared to try. Because I'm petrified I'll discover my fears are justified; that I'm just not good enough. That I am a fraud. So I sit here, that tit who's made the climb, tied the bungee cord around her ankles and stepped up to the platform, only to grab the ledge at the last second and refuse to move at all.

I only realised this very recently and, as my housemate keeps telling me, thought I should document the trials and tribulations of turning yourself into a business. Is anyone else in a similar sitch? I know I'm not the first to fear failure. I'm sure most psychiatrists would say it's completely natural. But I need to get over it already. I need to jump.

So tomorrow, Monday, I'm gonna jump. And I'm leaving self-doubt behind. I'm going to wake up and tell myself I kick ass. I'm gonna act like I already run a successful media empire. I'm going to pretend I pitch to major fashion labels for breakfast, write TV show outlines for lunch and dine on multi-million production deals with a side of red carpet and a gold statuette for dessert. (Lack of ambition has never been a problem, clearly).

Essentially I'm going to try the "fake it til you make it" strategy and see if I can instill a little more self-belief. If anything it'll be a fun little fantasy to live in until my rent money runs out and then I expect I'll come crashing back to reality with a bump. But if it works...

Hopefully I'll look back in a couple of years, at a party on Richard Branson's yacht and say, "Haha, look how cute and frightened I was!"

It doesn't feel so cute right now, future-asshole-self, so just you and Rich watch out for tsunamis, ok?