Thursday, July 14, 2005

The only thing we have to fear...

Fear. What does that word mean? Well the dictionary says -
1 a : an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. 1 b (1) : an instance of this emotion (2) : a state marked by this emotion
Now that's all well and good but what does it mean? It's different for everyone and everyone has it. The key is what you do with it. Now, myself, I can handle fear of the outside nature fairly well. By outside I mean things that happen outside of your head. Yes, I'll jump at an unexpected surprise and I have a tremendous fear of heights. But the fear I want to discuss now is the fear that paralyzes you and keeps you from accomplishing many things.

There are two fears that are currently trying to hold me hostage. The first is my fear of programming. Strange, isn't it. I love programming. I'm not totally inept at it. But it seems I'm intimidated by the scope of the code available in the open source world. I'm afraid of C/C++. This is why I keep bouncing around the edges of open source projects. I help here and there but never with any serious amounts of code. I'm also not very good at coming up with ideas for things to develop. So I'd have to attach onto an existing project. This would mean joining people who already have started coding. And no matter how experienced they might be I'm afraid that I will just bollix up whatever I try and do. It's a fear of not being able to be able to code. I just recently realized this fear. Maybe with the realization of it I might be able to try and overcome it.

The second is one that's not uncommon at all, though not easy to put into words. It's the paranoia and doubt and fear that happens when you are dealing with someone in a "relationship" context. This primarily manifests itself early on. Both men and women experience this. It comes just as you are starting to move into the romantic phase but is not limited to there. You worry that you're not quite good enough for your SO so you try and over compensate. You also worry that you're being strung along. Both of these relate to self esteem issues. It's the, "I'm not really good enough for this person so I have to try harder and I also have to worry that (s)he is just playing me and seeing others behind my back." There's a small amount of jealousy in there but jealousy is also a self esteem symptom. Right now I'm fighting this one very hard. I'm doing two things that are not good things to do when in the beginning of a relationship. One, I'm calling her to many times. Two, I'm having wild irrational feelings that she's with another man. The first is compounded by the fact that I can never get a hold of her. I can call work, cell & home and all I get is voicemail. This leads to my calling more times than necessary, thus making me look like I'm a needy insecure little boy in a man's (broken down) body. The second comes with the, "So why am I not reaching her?" question. The paranoid feelings that she's with someone else who she thinks is better start running wild in your brain. Well, my brain at least. Now, this actually has happened to me before, which doesn't help things at all. But I have been given no sign that this is the case now and, in fact, have been given strong signs that I'm on the right track. If I were being strung along and used like I describe it would mean assigning some very serious dishonest and duplicitous characteristic's to her. I've been given absolutely no indications whatsoever that anything remotely unsorted is going on. We've known each other now for 3 years and she's always been slightly deficient at taking and returning calls. This is primarily because she's quite busy and also because she seems to share a character trait that I have in abundance. Forgetfulness. Over the years I've found that, when when it comes to assigning people personality traits, the simplest one is likely to be the correct one. In this case there's intentional deceit and dishonesty on one hand and forgetfulness on the other. One requires a lot of effort and skill and planning while the other, well, doesn't. Thus I have no real reason to be paranoid. But rationality often has a hard time trumping irrationalities. So, again, I must work to overcome these feelings and fears.

Where does this leave me? First, I must overcome my fear of programming. It doesn't matter if I stink initially. It's been over 10 years since I was a real programmer and then it was with different technology. I just need to dive in and learn. Second, I cannot let my "fear of girls" paralyze me and cause me to do something that would jeopardize things with our budding relationship. "Pull yourself together, man!"

But then again, just because you're paranoid it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

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