Beyond Fear…

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.

Below is just a snippet of the list –
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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 …

do-the-best-12-1000x800

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!

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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!

Fear –

“What if I show myself who I really am and I don’t like me?  What then?”

Mandy

Hi, I'm Mandy! Wandering my way through life using words. Family and friends. Connection and community. I care. I write. I share. I post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and if you'd like receive updates via email please click HERE.

8 Comments
  1. Fear a four letter word…. Starts with F, we all hate it but we all have to find a way to deal with it. Bloody four letter words like nice and love and feel and heal, all those things you are trying to do(and are doing! ) love is the biggest and scariest but know we love you and your struggles and your efforts cause we feel them too. Love not a word said often enough but I’m telling you right now I love you, you are strong, resilient, clever , talented and I think amazing! You go girl ,sections 2-6 are there for the reading, learning, experiencing and loving!

  2. I want to tell you something useful. Or tell you it will all be ok.

    One day something will say to you ‘what’s the worst that can happen if ..’

    What’s the worst that can happen if people don’t like/understand me – they aren’t meant to understand you, they are meant to accept YOU as you are and if they don’t then you don’t want them in your life.

    For me, the telling line in your post is the last one. All that goes before it is dependant on being accepted by others, by outside influences. I’d say start at the end of your post “What if I show myself who I really am and I don’t like me? What then?”. You need to like and love yourself, you are your own best friend, you come first, you are your priority and nothing and no-one else.

    You have a designated place on this earth, make that place your sanctuary and nurture and watch it grow.

    1. Yes, Deb – you are exactly right! That is what I discovered as I wrote. It’s all about accepting myself and loving and caring for myself, first.

    1. Thanks Kath! The “like” button is one of those things that is lost in Vietnam … travelling with my web guru son!!!! It will be back soon I hope!!

  3. Hi Mandy, I’ve just found your About the Blog page. You have more Brave inside you than you give yourself credit for – and those are 3 very fine sons you have there. I also wanted to say I love the new photo on your gravatar!

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