I find that one of the hardest things to do is put myself out there, in any form I feel it makes me vulnerable and my fear of being disliked or ridiculed or looked down on has stopped me doing a lot that I’ve wanted to do. I’ve grown a lot in the last five years or so, since I discovered my independence and strength as a single mum, but breaking through those fears and barriers has been and still is very hard. This blog is ‘safe’ for me. I can express myself and share a bit of myself without worrying about the reaction I will get or having to deal face to face with anyone which is where most of my bad experiences have stemmed from. Starting making a few youtube videos was a massive step for me as I’m incredibly nervous about sharing my voice and my face with the world (ok, so I’m still working up to the latter). Sometimes I wish I didn’t have these anxieties, I wish I didn’t care and I was normal like anyone else. That I didn’t dread making or answering the phone when I don’t know who’s on the other end, that I didn’t feel sick going somewhere new or being around people I don’t know.
And yet, unless we’re brave and put ourselves out there we will never go anywhere. We have to take a chance and hope for the best and try not to berate ourselves too much if it doesn’t go as planned.
I’m not always strong, I don’t think anyone can be all the time and sometimes when we take those brave steps forward it leads to us having to retreat. This last month has been really rough for me, filled with a lot of stress, fear, doubt and frustration and has consisted of me edging forward, not even stepping, but just inching along before running a mile back to hide, lick my wounds and recover from the exhaustion that seems to accompany being brave. Last week in particular was a real low point. I put on a brave face of course, to the outside world I daresay I looked fine but inside and at home when the doors were closed I most definitely was not. I had to do something though, I had to put myself out there and try to inch forward even though it felt like I was waist deep in treacle making progress near impossible while my arms and head flailed and cried and shouted in frustration.
I’m not in such a dark place today, I’m still not feeling like I’m surrounded by rainbows and unicorns but I’m not surrounded by blackness either which means I need to heal a little more and then start the excruciating process of edging forward again. I’m reminded quite well of a line from one of my son’s Thomas The Tank Engine films, funnily enough it’s been replaying through my mind for a while to remind me to be brave and put myself out there. In the film Percy is scared of monsters in the dark when he meets an engine called Gator who he first mistakes for a monster. Gator teaches Percy a thing or two about fear and how running away isn’t brave or going to deal with the problem. It might feel safe but the problem is always going to be there and eventually you have to face it to be free. Percy does manage to face his fears in the end and he realises that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared. Being brave is doing something even though you are scared.