Do Headspace. Eat breakfast. Change the cat litter. Put the washing on. Use the aircon. Don’t use the aircon. Go for a swim. Phone a friend. Have a shower. Get dressed. Write. Read. Walk. Do all of the above. Do none of the above. Think. Stop. FEAR!
Some of the list that is playing like a song on repeat in my mind. Each time the list ends with the word FEAR, it loops around and begins again. Only to be punctuated by that word FEAR – like a chorus. Until the next verse begins again – Do Headspace. Eat breakfast. Change the cat litter. Put the washing on. Use the aircon. Don’t use the aircon. Go for a swim. Phone a friend. Have a shower. Get dressed. Write. Read. Walk. Do all of the above. Do none of the above. Think. Stop. FEAR! Verse! Chorus! Verse! Chorus!
What am I so afraid of anyway? I’ve lost count of how many times I have asked myself that question. The best answer that I can come up with has been the same for 20+ years now…
“What if I show them who I really am and they don’t like me? What then?”
If I hold that bit back inside, I can tell myself – they don’t really know me so that’s why they don’t like me or I didn’t really try that’s why I didn’t get it or nobody can hurt me if they don’t know my vulnerabilities.
Fear is crippling. It stops participation in life. No, not just for me but for many of us that try to live in the world today. I was going to write, function in the world today but then i realised that I can function in the world … I am much more interested in living! Elizabeth Gilbert, in her latest book Big Magic, has a chapter which she calls Scary, Scary, Scary. It is my favourite chapter so far because it is right in the middle of the list she writes, of the ways fear stops us from living a more creative life, that I found myself! Her list goes on for a couple of pages. It begins with
You’re afraid you have no talent. You’re afraid you’ll be rejected or criticized or ridiculed or misunderstood or – worst of all – ignored.
I feel every single one of those reasons, both the ones I’ve listed and the ones I haven’t, and so many more. I am hoping that Big Magic might help me to overcome some of those fears. So far, I have only been able to read part 1 of the book. The part called Courage and I keep rereading it, just to make sure I am not missing anything!! I know I need to move on to parts 2 – 6 of the book. Those parts are entitled Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. But if and when I do move on … that means I might learn something and if I learn something, I will probably have to do something. And that is scary!! The wonderful Maya Angelou tells me …
In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert tells me that fear is boring and I agree. When I am fearful, my life closes in on me. I am not living therefore I can’t contribute to life, to conversation, to relationship. I have nothing to say about life and no one to say it to. But if I go and do something, no matter how scary, like having a chat with my neighbour – it leads me to living more. Who knew that living more would consist of going to Bunnings, eating a sausage from the barbie and using my Christmas gift card to buy a table and chairs to put at the front of my home, for when my neighbour and I next catch up for a cuppa and chat? I may also have purchased a push lawn mower, a reel for my hose, a watering can and a plant for my garden! These did nothing to allay the fears associated with my finances but they did make me happy!
My fear (there’s that word again) with writing a post like this is that readers will say that I am brave to be so honest and open. Unfortunately, sometimes it is easier for me to write about challenging topics such as weight, grief and fear, than to actually move on to parts 2-6 of my life. The parts which mean I have to do stuff!
More and more I am recognising my ability to deflect from my real issues so that I don’t have to get to the doing bit. It’s just so damned uncomfortable … those doing bits. It has happened this week. My therapist (yes, the one that is leaving me to go have a gorgeous much desired new bub – no hard feelings here!!!!!) and I decided on some tasks that would move me closer to my goal of reentering the workforce. One of those tasks was to go swimming – everyday! I went swimming ….. twice! But I did apply for a job, online, that I didn’t really follow up!! Great distraction don’t you think? Surely, you are all thinking, like I hope my therapist will be – Good work, you applied for a job …. that is huge!! Not great, I am knowing – because I know the importance of going swimming everyday. For me, it is about self acceptance, it is about acknowledging my worth, it is about being consistent with myself, it is about self care and it is about I can do!
“What if I show myself who I really am and I don’t like me? What then?”