Zerophobia

[Originally posted to my blog ‘Point of Tears’ on Apr 22, 2005.]

When I was in high school and during my 1st try at college, my biggest fear was blowing out one of my knees. Of course, back then the sports I played ,(soccer, field hockey, & rugby), were a mega big deal to me. I couldn’t have possibly imagined my life without my sports. So to blow out a knee would have been tantamount to . . . well, death.

I’ve gotten past that. At age thirty-mumble~mumble, I have activities that aren’t quite as hard on the body as say . . oh, rugby. Soooo, I think I can lay to rest my old fear of blowing out a knee. Now I don’t always go around discussing my fears with people normally; I mean, I really, truly don’t have many major fears.

Okay. I’m a little freaked out by bugs. But what chick isn’t? (The Brat doesn’t count. She’s weird.) I have a small fear of heights, but it’s not debilitating or anything. I mean, I’ve done rapelling in the Marines and stuff. Shoot! I’d even love to learn how to skydive one of these days if I get the chance. Mice & rats are a little icky, but I like hamsters. So rodents aren’t a major problem.

Overall I thought that I was pret-ty fear free.

I was thinking that until this afternoon anyway.

I was thinking that until I decided I needed to check out the My Fresno State website to check my email there. I’m still really in the middle of the whole getting admitted-oh-my-gods-there’s-so-much-FUCKING-paperwork stage of my relationship with Fresno State, and I’m supposed to check in there about every week to make sure all my ducks are in a row.

After checking everything out I saw a major minor problem with something new that showed up. Seems that Fresno thought that even after completing several English classes successfully I still needed to take an English placement test. Now this little problem has been fixed. But in those moments before it was, I found a fear I never realized I had.

You see, I realized that my biggest fear is transferring to Fresno State, signing up for classes, going to my first upper division English class, turning in my first paper, and just completely failing to come up to the standards of the University.

Of course, the couple of colleagues I mentioned this to scoffed at the idea. How could I possibly fail? Not to mention the tons of data that shows that transfer students coming from a community college are usually more prepared than the juniors who have been going to the same college since they were freshmen.

But what does data mean in the face of a fear such as this?

What if all of those English instructors I had, who I was friends with way before I ever stepped into their classroom, were just humoring me? What if they gave me A’s because they liked talking with me? What if they gave me A’s because they liked my personality? (What?! It could happen!) What if they gave me A’s because they were my friend and they just couldn’t bear to give me a bad grade?

I mean, quite honestly I’ve been scoffing at my English department for a couple of years now. How could I possibly write a crap paper in about four hours to get an A? Don’t they know the meaning of quality? Why were they giving me A’s?

Okay. I have to note here that I’m not writing this to get you to praise my writing skills here. Number one, the writing I do here is radically different from what I have to do for an English class. Number two, it doesn’t really make me feel any better. Number three, I’m just not looking for praise here. So please don’t.

For about three years now I’ve been getting these bogus A’s in every English class I’ve taken, and now I’m just terrified that it will all come back to bite me in the ass when I walk into that first classroom and turn in my first paper.

Looking at the degree requirements for my major, I’m exhilerated and panicked at the list of classes.

Exhilerated by the thought of spending sooooo much time reading and writing. Two of my most favorite things in the world to do.

Panicked at the thought of being called out as a fraud. Of finding out that I just can’t write. That I’m incapable of doing the work required of me. That I couldn’t possibly put together two sentences together to form a coherent thought that could possibly make any sense to any instructor I might have.

Well, you get the gist of it all.

Most people I know will tell me that I have zerophobia, the fear of nothing. I’ll tell them that they can’t prove a damn thing until I get that first paper back.

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