Fear of Success

Dear Africana Woman,

How are you Sunshine? I hope you are having a brilliant week. I don’t know if you know this. I started the Africana Woman blog so as I could write regularly as a way of practice for writing my first book. I have been saying that I will start writing the book since January 2021. But the truth is I have failed to start the first sentence. Don’t get me wrong, writing flows naturally to me. When I sit down to write this love letter to you every week, the words lay down one after the other like dominos. So I have had to question myself on why it is a struggle to start my book. Today the answer finally came to me.

I am afraid of success.

Lol. I know. I know. You are thinking “Most people fear failure so how can you fear success?” Well simple, it is the stories that I have told myself that are deep seeded in my unconscious mind that are holding me behind invisible bars. I guess there are a few things that make me hesitate.

My privacy is deeply important to me. Says the person who spills all in public every week. I value living a normal life where I can go anywhere and be obscure in my anonymity. I do not admire celebrities who lose the right to walk into a public domain without being recognised, stopped and admired. Sorry, judged. See when I dream of success I DREAM BIG. I see global domination and reach. However, it is more important that my work is successful than me, the persona, having star status. So, I struggle with letting go of the mundane day to day tasks that we take for granted but for celebrities is a luxury. If I could not go to a supermarket and dance to the music in the aisles I would be miserable.

Another thing I fear is what I would have to compromise to get to my vision. More precisely, I fear losing myself on the way to the top. It’s the simple things. Like, nine out of ten times I choose not to wear makeup because I am comfortable in my skin. However, I have received disapproving direct messages that expressed shock to see me on a Live with not a lick of makeup. Or currently there are things I have to omit from my writing because of certain associations and it feels disingenuous or that my writing is not complete. Sadly, the time is not right to sever those connections. I am also such a home body; therefore, I am usually very comfortably dressed. A hoodie, bum shorts and a wrap (chitenge) are my standard attire. Fortunately, the work I do does not require me to be dressed glamorously in every moment. However, I think people measure my competence against the casualness of my attire. These seem like small examples, but as they say many drops make an ocean. So if I compromise in many small areas, will I lose the essence of being me?

I must add that if you are a believer in a greater power, there is a high chance you fear that God’s definition of success looks different from your definition of success. Often, we want to dictate what our success should be in prayer whilst resisting divine guidance. We clutch onto societies metrics of success that have been drummed into us from birth forgetting that as unique an individual as you are also merits that your success will be unique to you. Accepting your unique success can take a while. I encourage you not to focus on external pressures. Don’t take a sneak peek at your neighbour’s test paper. You are not writing the same exam with anyone else. Look within and figure out what your metrics of success are by understanding what gives you true peace and joy. To be honest, I fear the unknown of what God’s definition of success is for me. I think I have seen a glimpse of what could be but I will never really know until I get there. I also don’t want to think of success as a destination but as a journey.