Worst Case Scenario Girl [NaBloPoMo 25]

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / 6:34 AM

I just read this lovely little book by Andrew Kaufman called All My Friends Are Superheroes. It's a world where everyone has a superpower (except for the protagonist, Tom) and are known by their superhero/heroine personas--and not all of them are exactly positive: there's The Sloth, who sits on his couch, "paralyzed by all the things he wasn't taking care of," and there's The Stress Bunny, who absorbs everyone's stress (which is why she's always invited to parties).

Or there are the superpowers you think might be great, like how The Seeker can find his way anywhere, even if he's never been there before. "But since this is his superpower and he defines himself through it, the Seeker gets quite upset and fidgety whenever he reaches a destination. He has to immediately turn around and head somewhere else."

Having a superpower, in Kaufman's book, isn't exactly about saving the world. I think if I had a superhero name, I'd be Worst Cast Scenario Girl.

Worst Case Scenario Girl is your most grounded friend. She balances out The Optimist and serves up doses of realism whenever a situation is in danger of heading for the clouds. She helps you get all the ifs, ands, or buts out of the way, and prepares you for the worst outcomes--or at least prepares you to defend yourself from little things that could lead to disaster.

She's also a huge bummer to be around.

I have this natural and terrible habit of immediately thinking about all the ways an opportunity can go wrong. I think it's my brain's way of keeping my personal expectations low because I know what it's like to be disappointed--and I hate being disappointed.

Yes, you have to fail in order to know how to stand up strong, but it doesn't mean disappointment doesn't blow.

I internalize most of this and only vent my "worst case scenarios" to some of my closest friends, but my biggest fear is letting this habit consume me in every moment. Whether it's in my personal or professional life, I would hate to be the negative foot-stomper in the corner of every room, or the constant worrywart who brings down everyone else's energy. There's a difference between being realistic and being a Debbie Downer. I definitely don't want to be the latter.

Being afraid of the consequences of taking any sort of risk is the opposite of embracing life the way I've been striving to achieve. I've always been the person to think, "I could get hit in the face" when we'd play any sport in gym class, or "What if I drown?" the second I get too close to a body of water.

There's a Tina Fey quote from Bossypants that I've quoted in conversations before with other people, but I have trouble living by the philosophy: "You can't be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute."

The waterslide metaphor aside (because waterparks are kind of gross), I want to go down more chutes when they appear--not entirely without hesitation, but without overthinking. Without worrying about everything that could go wrong. Life is about living, after all. I don't want to fill my mind with fear before I have the guts to say yes.

In All My Friends Are Superheroes, there's a superhero named Mr. Opportunity. "He knocks on doors and stands there. You'd be surprised how few doors get answered."

If it's possible to transform--and I believe in any world, that possibility must exist--then I hope Worst Case Scenario Girl can learn to open more doors.

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