Sidebar: My Self-Deception

Sidebar: My Path

Don’t remember who said it, but there’s something about the quote, paraphrased below, that sticks like beach tar to fleshy foot:

“Self deception is such an insidious thing; not only are you lying to yourself, but then the lie covers its own tracks, so you never realize it existed to begin with.”

The words ring in my ears, like the shrill WHIRL WHIRL of a distant police car, or the smoke alarm cutting through a dream, as I decide between the Plunge or a Toe in the Water.

Reason tells me the latter. Lay the foundation, build from the bottom, then race to the top. It is a sensible route: the money holding me over won’t last for long. I need time to establish myself in this city and to produce worthy material, and time costs money.

Yet there’s this gut check, some inner-level of “shit ain’t right” noxious-fog clouding my emotions I must resolve before making my decision:

Am I returning to the service industry because it’s the best method to reach my career goal of becoming a screen writer? Is it really the best thing I could possibly do? Or am I terrified; still that scared little boy with a bowl cut and sweaters two sizes two big, who retreats to the familiar?

Am I returning to restaurant work because it’s all I know? Because I’m a Linus and it’s the security blanket I’ll drag around behind me for decades to come?

At times of personal uncertainty, I remind myself to stick with The Plan. The Plan was formulated at a secure, logically-sound time, before Daniel found himself cast in the lion’s den. Like the professional golfer, disciplined enough to stick with his swing, regardless of how poorly he’s playing in a match. He knows better than to stray from the body mechanics he spent years developing.

Or a savvy investor, who refuses to budge from his investment strategy, and holds his position while all the Chicken Little’s of his world (his clients, the media, his colleagues) scurry around with heads lopped off, selling in a panic because of a sudden downturn.

But… did my self-deception stretch even as far back as when I formulated The Plan? Did I already realize how far I’d find myself outside of my comfort zone, and justify it months ago?

Did my lies already cover their tracks months and months ago?

Maybe they did.

I want to berate myself for my weaknesses, for my hesitation while my mind screams at me to act. But time’s up. I’m here now, and there’s no one around to seal shut the lions’ mouths. The luxury of second-guesses, or armchair quarterbacking the next step, goes to the day dreamers who speculate the journey. They have the good fortune ribbing you on a mistake, or jiving at a cocktail party about “how I would have done it.”

If I’m wallowing in my own self-deception at this particular crossroad, then let it be. I’m only hurting myself. I’m the one who has to work harder, produce more, and put myself outside of my comfort zone in other arenas to compensate for my weakness.

I can live with that.

Photo Credit: Richard Keele

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