Believing

Two days ago, I began a whole different post.

It was about failure and resolutions for a year we’ve now lost. Failed resolutions. I didn’t intend to fail, but then, I didn’t make any real effort to win so technically, failure was assured. Actually, that’s not even technical, that’s logical and I cannot (or should not) lament something I chose.

After Nano Poblemo, I said I would blog more. I haven’t, yet, and I’m not sure why I feel guilty about it. It’s crazy because I’m creating failures for myself.

So, it seems that this post too, is about failure.

It is.

And it isn’t.

Nano Poblano was a resolution. Not one timed with the New Year but one that came at the eleventh hour on the last day of October. I’d procrastinated. I’d thought about it for days previously before I finally committed to it. And then I did it – I blogged everyday for a month.

I won.

I set myself some resolutions for 2015. None of them were unreasonable or unrealistic but I didn’t take them on. I wondered how they were any different from my Nano Poblano challenge.

They weren’t different. Except, there was this little part of my brain that believed I could write a blog post everyday.

I believed.

This post was going to be about lots of things. Instead of resolutions, I’m going to focus on believing.

Happy New Year, my friends.

Whatever you do in 2016, be your best.

Truth of Lies

I’m feeling pensive.

As Nano Poblano draws to a close, I find myself looking back.  I used to write blogs and not post them. With Nano Poblano (or NaBloPoMo), I found myself ignoring my normal blog-filters and I wondered if there was one post which should have stayed in drafts. Sticks and Stones.

Over the last month, it was my most ‘silent’ post. Being the self-deprecating, panicking sort, I wondered if it was okay. I am alone in these thoughts? Did I offend people? Was I wrong to mention how I managed bullying at school? I don’t know.

This made me think about truth and lies and how sometimes they’re black and white and other times they’re grey.

In my post, the technique I used to survive bullying at school I related to an Aesop’s Fable. I went with the flow, I acted like I didn’t care, I played situations down. I acted like they didn’t happen.

I handle adult life in a similar way. I play the game. So long as I maintain my moral compass, I tend to be what people want me to be. It’s only when things I vehemently believe in are challenged and when that affects me, do I stand my ground. Everything else, I let go.

I play the game. A friend of mine says it’s not an honest game. I’m lying. By ignoring things that upset me, I’m pretending to be something I’m not.

She right, you know. It is dishonest in its own way.

But I’m me when it matters.

If you know me well, I’m me when I’m with you.

That’s the truth.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 28 of Nano Poblano!

[That’s Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo]

Two days left!!!!

 

Sticks and Stones

I was always good at Playing the Game.

That’s what my mother called it. The art of moving among people, saying what needed to be said without being angry or offensive. I internalised emotions. I diffused situations with humour. I remained silent if necessary.

I recognised this at an early age.  I noticed some classmates lacked it. My own brother lacked it. Although he was older than me, there were times I came to his defence. Ever the diplomat, me.

One of my favourite of Aesop ‘s fables was The Oak and the Reeds. It’s not as well known as some of them, but it resonated with me. The tale of the old tree than grew with the reeds beside the river. The tree was proud of its strength and size but a great gust of wind tore up the oak from the ground.

The tree wept.

“I don’t understand it. How can something as frail and slender as a reed escape the anger of the wind, while a strong tree has been torn up by its roots?”

The reeds explain the moral of the story.

“Sometimes in  order to survive, it is better to give way.”

And this is how I played the game. I stuck to my opinions when they truly mattered and let everything else go. I decided who I respected and who I didn’t – and as to the latter – if I didn’t respect you, why would I about care what you said or thought?

I was so lucky to believe this. To believe this so strongly I left school without enemies and a small group of friends who stood with me.

Though, we are never unbroken.

My insecurities lie in my capabilities. My ability to write, for one. I suffer from anxiety and have developed a habit of surpressing how I feel. Sometimes, I surpress too much.

As an adult looking back, those who ‘broke’ me were adults and/or people I respected.

But.

But the beauty of being an adult is when looking back you realise we are all victims of our lives. We all (mostly) do not intend to sabotage the lives of others but do what we think is best at the time. Then to compound this there are personalities and how two people can take the same experience and interpret it a very different way.

Of course, bullies do intend to sabotage lives, they’ll probably never realise how much. They’ll probably never realise how broken they are themselves.

I was bullied at school but I was always lucky to be a reed.


So, I’ve just come from Ra, and she wrote this. It’s a whole heap of awesome, but this clip triggered these memories.


nanopoblano2015darkDay 24 of Nano Poblano! That is, Ra’s version of NaBloPoMo.

We’re posting everyday in the month of November!

When I say ‘we’ I mean these awesome folk.

 

Day Five: The Fear of Desperation

nanopoblano2015darkOkay, so it’s NanoPoblano or NaBloPoMo and I’m trying to avoid list-blogs. To that end, I’ve looked to The Daily Post for inspiration and found this topic, ‘Phobia Shmobia’. And really, it’s doesn’t matter what it inspires, does it?

I’ve always found phobias fascinating. My own main phobias include:

Atychiphobia – the fear of failure

Claustrophobia – the fear of enclosed spaces

Arachnophobia – the fear of spiders

Ophidiophobia – the fear of snakes

And some I can’t find a name for, like the fear of awkwardness. Why can’t it be called Awkwardphobia? Why does it have to be something-in-Latin-phobia?

The interesting thing about phobias is, they’re irrational. I have a friend who’s afraid of birds. She will cross the road to avoid walking through a folk of pigeons or seagulls. You couldn’t get her into a henhouse for love nor money. She finds them unpredictable. There’s a part of my brain that laughs with its logic. It asks – what threat do they pose!? Why are they to be feared!? Then, another part of my brain reminds me that fears are irrational. To some, my fear of spiders, snakes, enclosed spaces and failure are as illogical as her fear of birds.

Of course, there are ‘grades’ of everything. My fear of failure is my most debilitating fear. It’s not like I spend my life rigid with the fear of randomly confronting a spider or snake and I am still able to use an elevator without freaking out about the confined space. Logic does save me, most of the time. Things like awkwardness and failure are harder to define, but tangible fears I seem to handle okay. Which can be strange.

For instance, I’m not one to take a roller coaster ride. Not because I can’t, but because of logic. I wonder why people scream when they have some idea of what to expect. Which is hilarious because it makes me sound like no fun at all.

Oh my God, I’m no fun at all!

It’s weird, right? I’M WEIRD!

Firstly, let me clarify – I haven’t been on a OMG roller coaster ride. I live in an area where world-grade rides don’t exist so I (really) don’t know what I’m talking about. I took a local ghost ride once that was so underwhelming my friend beside me screamed just to give the cart behind us some hope.

The question The Daily Post asked was – have I overcome any fears?

Well, I’m blogging daily for the month of November.

As a failure-fearing-monkey, that’s progress.

NaNoProMoDon’tknowBloMoSomethingSomething

There are those of us that have Words. And I do mean Words with a capital, in italics and bold. It’s all words, words, words and they explode out of them in groups of a thousand and they actually contain brilliance that simply lacks a French polish. This is not me.

Words stumble out of me like it’s lunch time and they’re still in their pyjamas. They’re not embarrassed (but they should be) and I’m their mother, trying to make sense of their behaviour all the while feeling responsible for it.

I get caught in words, fixing their hair, adjusting their clothes, match making, trying to build perfection while avoiding clichés. I’m so poorly read I could weep. Yet, I’m not willing to undo that failure with any kind of gusto. If I read four books a year, it’s a Christmas miracle.

If you’re a follower of this blog, it’s well known fact I’m a slow writer and poorly read. For those with Words, it’s difficult to explain that each blog I write takes me hours, the comments I leave on a fellow’s blog can take just as long, compounded by panic – ‘is it offensive?’, ‘could I upset someone?’,  ‘does it convey what I mean?’ and you have no idea how many comments I spend hours on, and then delete.

This is me. Loving Words, while fearing Words.

Words.nanopoblano2015dark

Knowing all this, NaNoWriMo is a dream, NaBloPoMo is a possibility.

I’m going to give that a go.

Please be patient, and don’t shout.

Thank you.

*Cuts NaBloPoMo ribbon*

WHAT’S THE WORST THAT CAN HAPPEN?

Maybe it’s a strange mantra. I kind of fancy one that’s more about love or creativity but this one speaks to me. It’s been my survival mechanism for many years now.

The important thing is, it mustn’t be misconstrued. I’m not asking myself to imagine the worst things that can possibly happen in any given situation. I’m not wondering if the legs will fall off my chair or my house will fall down or I’ll be abducted by a squirrel with a limp. It sounds like a drastic question, but what it actually offers me is perspective.

I procrastinate. More than I’d like, and probably more than is ‘normal’. I’m procrastinating about writing this blog post. I’ve had the title and the first line written for two weeks. But like anything I undertake have to fight the naysayers in my head. They’re telling me I suck and that this blog post is so badly written I’ll be judged ad infinitum by all who visit here. So I ask myself, what IS the worst that could happen?

I might suck.

I might be judged for it.

And the next question is the important one.

Does that matter?

*posts blog*

Painting By Numbers

Not long after we bought our house, I decided to paint our bedroom olive green. A colour similar to this blog’s background colour (if your computer’s able to display it). I had this colour in my mind’s eye – this bold, deep and soothing green. I grabbed a handful of colour samples from the hardware store and picked the green of my dreams. Then I had second thoughts. Was it too bold? Too deep? Too green? Bowing to caution, I selected a softer, paler, safer green at the paint shop. Perhaps predictably, it didn’t quite meet my expectations. It wasn’t awful though, and not wanting to put us through the painting process again (and I hate being wasteful), it was another three years before we tried again with the shade I should have used in the first place.

I don’t trust my instincts enough. My impending-failure internal sensors can’t seem to distinguish between mistakes that matter and ones that don’t. In this instance, not only did the mistake not matter, but I only made the mistake in my attempts to save myself from it. *Creates wormhole*

This is taking fear of failure to Level Stupid. Which, oddly enough, reminds me of this poem:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

I’ve always loved this poem, but often wondered if that love was born from envy. I remember reading it for the first time at secondary school unable to share the author’s inclination for the ‘road less travelled’. I mean, why was it ‘grassy’? What was wrong with it? Did it flood? Did it peter out until you were lost? Did it take you to a cliff that had partially slipped away and you had to either turn back or rock climb? Perhaps its use had ceased when someone discovered it ten miles longer and took you to exactly the same place as the other road. My instinct to pre-empt mistakes is so strong, I even question metaphors.

On the upside, I reckon I’ve saved myself from many inconveniences and embarrassments, and because I can perceive problems before they arise, I’m a great sounding board for issues. Equally, though, I’ve made decisions that have kept me on the safe road at the cost of experience and discovery, and I worry about things before they happen, even when events are out of my control and I hesitate at the point of doubt and procrastination, and I’m unable to move beyond it. What if there’s a avenue for failure I hadn’t predicted? So I stop, half way through a creative project with an overwhelming desire to quit before I fail. Leading to not failing, but not succeeding either.

20150126_135537This is one of my many idiosyncrasies that I’m trying to resolve. Sometimes I need to trust that it’ll work out, that the repercussions of it not working out on the scale of importance from Stupid to Death, is off the scale at Inconsequential. So this week I painted the spare room a deep turquoise blue without second guessing myself.

And yes, it’s perfect.