I learned a lesson years ago.
It wasn't a good lesson and it hasn't served me well in the long run, but in the short term it was useful and made my life easier.
The lesson, might as well spit it out already, was this:
Do not try very hard.
Eventually people will expect less of you.
You can slide by while exerting minimal effort, you hardly need break a sweat.
If things don't turn out very well you have the convenient excuse, "Well, it wasn't my best effort" or "I wasn't really trying."
Anything less than a perfect result when I was really trying left me thinking, that's the BEST I can do?
I imagined others around me were shaking their heads and chuckling in disbelief, Wow, if that's the best she's got, whoa! God help her!
Put on a nice dress, comb my hair, do the make-up and look in the mirror. That's the BEST I can do? Woof!
Write a story, put my heart and soul into it and wind up with a piece of drivel?
If the best I have to offer is substandard, why offer my best?
My 10th best effort is nearly as good as piece of poo as my soul exposing sweat soaked best best effort.
I can easily brush off the criticism with a hearty guffaw and a breezy little, I know it sucked! I wasn't really trying anyway.
The lesson I learned was, knock yourself around before anyone else has a chance to.
Anyone who wants to hurt you will look at the bruises and realize there's no sport in knocking you around a bit more.
And they'll move on.
The only problem with my little plan is that I haven't gotten anywhere.
I've gotten lazy.
I care too much what other people think.
And that's not good.
I'm paralyzed by mediocrity and terrified of trying to succeed for fear I'll fail.
I'm afraid my best isn't very good.
The Unicycle is in for a bit of a make over.
I'm going to try something new.
I'm going to drop the, Hey, I'm a sucky loser, so nahnahnah, you can't hurt me, facade.
It's only covering a wimpering weeping insecure gal who may or may not have much to offer.
I really don't know.
I don't know what's in there.
Might be better than I imagined.
I won't bother to explore other options.
The other options I'm not going to explore (watch me pretend not to explore them) are the ones that prove that I'm really nothing more than a sucky loser, or that my best effort is crap.
I'm not going to go there.
It's going to take a while to figure it all out.
But I'll give it my best effort.
It'll have to be good enough.