Facing your fears

Today has been an active one, for me on a Saturday that’s fairly new! Okay, I go horseriding every Saturday afternoon but that is normally it, my weekends for the last few months have been a little bit lazy, probably partially down to feeling a bit low and having no motivation to do very much. Nobody ever sees that though because on the outside I’m always bubbly and happy. It’s the inside that’s normally a bit of a mess.

I sometimes beat myself up when I let my fears get in front of me, my fears and anxiety are all around messing up. It’s not the pain that might happen, more the consequences of the embarrassment that follows that I can’t cope with. So every day I’ve realised I’ve faced fears and overcome them. Today I jumped a horse for the first time since coming off 18 months ago and getting concussion. It was horrible, not because of the pain, more the anger at myself for not being able to do it, and the fact that I then had to wait for the concussion to go away and the headaches afterwards. I’d ridden alone that day, my daughter was away so I was feeling brave. I often think that the responsibility I know I have as a mother stops me doing stupid stuff most of the time, but every now and again it also puts barriers in my own mind because I worry that if I’m not around to look after her, who will do it? Yes she has a dad who loves her, but sometimes she just needs her Mum, that’s how it is.

Every day there is a fear of some sort to face. Sometimes it’s a simple one that others have no idea is scary, this week I moved to a new company again and met new people, I also talked to them. The outwardly bold redhead with the bright red lipstick and masses of eyeliner is actually really scared of people. Always has been. Probably always will be. People are unpredictable, you don’t really know what they’re thinking. In my head I have to convince myself that they don’t all hate me and wish I was dead, of course these are my own thoughts that I’m reflecting onto others and not their own at all!

Every day I have to fake it, most days I make it, some days I fail. I have had to learn not to beat myself up, not to over analyse what happened and move on. Today I’m looking at the fears I’ve faced. Last May I got a mortgage on my own… I had always been told I would never be able to do it alone. I had always been told a lot of things. Making those first steps, believing that I could and if I failed it would be okay was a big thing for me.

Leaving the company I’d worked for after 13 years was a huge scary step. It wasn’t about the money it was about releasing myself from the past. I’d grown too big for the confines of my role but that scary jump into the unknown was the best thing I ever did. Moving again 5 months later just wasn’t as scary, now I know I can move to a new place and make my little space. I know I can do this time and time again if I want to and need to.

Coming off tablets for depression, I decided to do this only a month into the last job, until that point I was a mess every time I even thought about removing that safety blanket from my mind. The idea of running out causing more anxiety than the real anxiety. Now I’m free. The bad thoughts still happen, but I think they’re less than before. Perhaps that level of anxiety got smaller, I’m really not sure. But I’m not scared of the bad thoughts now. They don’t plague me when I realise they’re just thoughts and I don’t have to act on them.

I’m not scared so much of being alone, dying alone or never being in love again. I’m starting to feel like it’s all a bit overrated. I’ve seen so many shitty marriages blow up that I’m actually more scared of getting into that situation myself. Perhaps one day I’ll love someone enough to face that fear, but right now it’s not holding me back in my life.

On Monday I was anxious about going back to the gym. I’d committed but I was scared. Scared of being too unfit, too lazy, and I was wrong, it’s surprising how just one week of training can get you back to fitness so quickly.

My biggest fears are that something will happen to my daughter. That I should have been there and I wasn’t. I don’t think that’s a fear that will ever go away. I have to constantly let go. I realised a lot of them are more around other’s perceptions of my parenting and not my own. When I do it my way things work better.

So the fears, a lot are inherited. The fears didn’t always come from me, the fears were learnt, I’ve had to unlearn. I’ve had to believe and not be so scared of failure. My biggest ultimate fear right now is playing music again. Why? Because I used to be so good. I used to be a professional, I used to be able to nail every solo and now I know I can’t. That trumpet sits in its case after over a decade waiting to be played, wishing it was played and I’m too scared to touch it. I know that it will sound bad, I know that I won’t remember how the notes fit together. The daft thing is I can move my fingers in the right order, I remember the notes, I remember how it goes. But will this instrument that can be so unforgiving be forgiving for my first attempts? I’ve dabbled, enjoyed and then given up a few times. Playing in front of people may never happen again, I think I’m okay with that, but perhaps I feel a little sad for the big part of my life that I’ve lost. There will be a day where the excuses get smaller, the wish to play gets bigger and I’ll pick it up again. I have to learn to forgive myself for neglecting something I was good at. For allowing other things that weren’t so important to get in the way of what was once my favourite thing. It’s a mental block, it’s always a mental block. When I convince myself that I actually can, I always do and often surprise myself.

I’m learning that it’s okay not to be perfect. That model in the magazine is airbrushed to fuck, nobody can live up to her, not even her! That mother with the white jeans had a meltdown shortly before leaving the house, her PJs have coffee all over them, her perfection is merely my perception. When I remember that nobody is perfect, I feel better. My riding instructor is a brave lady, but getting there has taken many falls, hours of practice and it’s okay for me to never be that good!

When I enjoy what I do and forget to be afraid then life gets better, life gets fuller. Physical pain is temporary, the emotional pain of the fear is harder to overcome. It’s the elephant in the room and the thing we don’t deal with. Bit by bit I’m overcoming it, it’s taken a while but it’s made my life better. Perhaps one day I really will be happy to let go of the reigns and ride that horse over every jump, fence and ditch. It’s a trust thing, trusting in life that it’s got my back and that whilst there’s temporary pain when it doesn’t go to plan, everything always turns out right in the end…


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