A post by my friend Dylan Cornelius struck a nerve. In it, he touches on a lot of the same feelings I’ve been having lately surrounding a whole lot of Americans these days: fear. 

I’m afraid. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of not being good enough. This isn’t just a fleeting fear that I can suppress when I feel like it. This is an overwhelming fear that literally cripples me from acting.

My biggest question at the moment is why? I’ve had these fears for as long as I can remember, and they’ve only gotten worse. Where did they come from? Is this just what every artist has to deal with, to a greater or lesser degree? What do people do to overcome them?

I can relate because, like Dylan, I’ve had many dreams that have remained just that. Some invisible force seems to hold me back, some dreadful premonition that things will never end well. 

But in my case, my fear isn’t that of moving forward. It’s the fear of not moving forward. 

My biggest fear is mediocrity. 

Who cares, right? Isn’t “mediocrity” just a fancy way of saying that you care about what other people think about you?

Well…yes. To a degree. 

I think about this with regards to what kind of legacy I will leave for my son and any other children I may have. 

I want the best for him, but as I pretty much wasted my teens and twenties, have I laid down a path of failure to him?

I want to set a good example, but as a deal jockey in an unremarkable line of work, will I be an inspiration?

I am already a failed musician. I am in a career that, while tolerable, and while at a job I actually like, doesn’t really think animate me. And like Dylan, I have aspirations of writing. Yet nothing has come of them so far. 

You can, and indeed should, learn from failures, but what if failure is the only outcome?

But there are things I fear far more than failure. 

My fear isn’t of taking the plunge. It’s of jumping off of the rock to the water below, making a splash…

…and having nobody pay attention. 

Yes, this is narcissistic. Yes, this requires a heathy degree of self-delusion. Yes, this necessitates a healthy ego. 

I mean, even people not liking what you do, or having a strong reaction to it, is better than not caring, right?

Like Dylan, I struggled through a You adulthood that was very confused about what it meant to be an “adult,” a “grown man,” and an “American,” and am just trying to make it as best I can. 

It would just be nice if somebody cared. 

Resources: Ed Latimore, Aedonis Bravo, Neil White, Mark Baxter, Dean Abbott, and Alexander Cortes write about some of these things with great insight. I highly recommend you check them out as well. 

Follow me on Twitter @DaytimeRenegade and @DaytimeRenegade

And check out my Instagram here

2 thoughts on “Mediocritaphobia

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Alex. This is rough stuff to wrestle with. I’m still dealing with mine, at least for the moment.

    The pastor at church today preached an awesome sermon about how God calls us for different things He wants us to do in our lives. It should be up online soon, and when it is, I’ll put a link here in the comments.

    I can honestly say the most fulfilled I’ve ever been is when I know I’m doing what God would have me to do at that moment in time. When I step out of His will or the path is unclear, I feel neutral at best and miserable at worst.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Daytime Renegade says:

      Dylan, great! I’m looking forward to seeing it.

      That’s the thing about doing what you’re supposed to do is that it IS just a sense or a feeling that you’re on the right path. We have free will, but God has given us a way of knowing when we’re doing what’s best.

      Liked by 1 person

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