Monday, April 15, 2013

The Fear of Success...

This is a topic that has been visited and discussed by women all over the world, I suppose it's my turn to add my own voice. I am sad to admit, that I am fearful of my own success.  What does this mean? Well, a couple of things.

At the end of this year I will have completed my first doctorate. Two years after that, God willing, I will have completed my second doctorate. That'll be 3 higher level degrees by the time I'm 30. By all design and logic I should be proud of myself, excited, and elated, and of course, I am. However, recently, an underlying thread of fear has been creeping into the mix.

See, one thing you must understand about me is that I am my father's daughter through and through. Even with my older sister and mother as powerful feminine role models, I naturally inherited the spirit and essence of my father. My father instilled within me, though not purpose, drive, tenacity, ambition, independence, stubbornness, and determination. Qualities, I'm sure, he wished he could have imparted upon my brothers.  Like my father, when I see something I want, I set a goal, and pursue it blindly, then ask myself what's next. Well, as I settle into the daily motions of accomplishing this most recent goal, the blinders are off and I've finally have time to look around and survey my surroundings and I'm scared. I can equate it to the cognitive development of babies, who originally have no sense of depth and would crawl right off a balcony if they could. But one day a light switch gets turned on and they realize the danger of continuing to crawl forward.

Is there such a thing as being too successful for women. The "I am Woman, Here Me Roar" part of me wants to scream no! But then my mother's voice comes creeping in, saying "Baby, your eggs are drying up, go get married." Suddenly the roaring stops. See, I may have embraced the idea and persona of the modern day successful woman. But I still have the traditional concept of the man being the "The MAN" in the relationship embedded within me. Meaning, most importantly to this monologue, being the bread winner, or at least on equal footing. You may now see how this could be potentially problematic for me. See, finding a man is not a problem for me. But let's be realistic, how many men, brothers in particular, who possess a minor, bachelors, master's, two doctorates,  are 6'3" and SINGLE, do I really think I'm going to meet?! But! To further complicate matters, I'm vehemently against the idea of being a "Suga-Mama". I think at the very least the plate a man is bringing to the table should be just as full as mine.... something has to got to give. *sigh* It's only a matter of time before Tyler Perry makes a movie about me... or even worse... Steve Harvey.

But really, to the main point I want to get to. It's quite obvious that at some point I need to be open to readjusting my views and making some compromises. Unless of course, the universe materializes the perfect man for me (Which I still consider a very real possibility... don't judge me). But I feel as if women all over are all faced with this choice. Do you pursue being a successful modern woman and put at risk the traditional roles of husband and wife? If I wanted to guarantee that I'd have the traditional relationship/marriage I've been dreaming on since I was 5, should I have looked past the desire to pursue a second doctorate. Should I have even just stopped at my master's? Or, should I accept the fact that with almost half of the black male population incarcerated and only ~10% of those not incarcerated with bachelors degree, that being a "Suga mama" is a real possibility.

Contemplating the option, panic mode begins to set in when I consider the possibility that some men, including successful men, (though I don't think you'll find one that would readily admit it) find it disconcerting to date someone more successful then them, to not be the bread winner, to not be the one the family depends on to stay afloat. I'm of the opinion that the inner cavemen that dwells in all men needs to be needed! In the pursuit of success, have women, am I, destroying the lifeline that satisfies that need? (A full anxiety attack is initiated when I consider the phenomenon of successful black who refuse to date black women... but that's a whole 'nother post). I find myself asking... why is it for men, The Pursuit of Happiness is the Pursuit of Success, while for some women we may find ourselves choosing between the two. I'm not only afraid that,  I won't be able to balance having a successful career, love and family, but also that I won't make the right choice to figure out how to have all 3 in the first place!

But that's just the iceberg of my fear. Beneath it all I'm afraid that I'll like my success, so much so that I won't want to compromise it for the pursuit of love and a family. That I'll find myself sitting on Oprah's couch discussing why so many successful black women remain unmarried. Although, meeting Oprah would be pret-ty cool.  But you get my jest.

I guess all in all, I'm afraid of not being able to identify the compromises, if any, that would have to be made to successfully balance a career and love. What I need to do and get on the Millionaire Matchmaker show,  and marry some old money... but until then, I'll just remind myself not to worry. God has a plan for us all, it's only scary cause we can't read the whole story... That doesn't stop me from wishing he'd throw in a spoiler alert here or there!