Listening to the radio over the weekend, I heard an interview with someone who has undergone gender reassignment. She talked about the unhappiness of her teenage years, and the presenter remarked how wonderful it would be if you could stretch back over time, and reassure that teenager that it would all be alright. Made me think, there are times when I need to stretch back over time and draw out some of the qualities I had had a a teenager – in particular the quality of hell to the fear, just do it anyway.
I was profoundly unhappy as a teenager (school doctor put me on valium at 13) bullied, etc, and, by way of protection I put up a ‘I don’t care, I’m tough’ facade. (That, I don’t want from my teenage self, thanks very much). And I would go off and do things, just to prove that I was tough. Things that underneath really scared me – like going off to work with Palestinian refugees, and getting myself into genuinely dangerous situations, or taking taxis on my own at night when we lived in Brasil, which was perceived as dangerous by everyone except my father!
I am no longer scared of whether people will accept me for who I am, which is a huge relief, and I have started to rediscover my ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. But there are times when it is so easy to get busy and do stuff as way of not having to face the fear, or just pretend I don’t know what I need to do, as a way of not doing that which scares me.
Which is probably why I’ve started to move my business in the direction of helping others deal with the fears that hold them back. It’s something I love doing and have a talent for. I have a great range of tools and techniques and insights, which mean I can help them do it FAST.
My current fear is wonderfully ridiculous – it’s doing a google hangout (a business thing)! I have no problem talking in public whatsoever (as many of my friends can testify – can’t shut me up on a stage), but this whole hangout thingy has me in paralysis. I have had generous offers of help, but still I can’t quite bring myself to the table. It’s not what I would say – it’s the technology – despite the fact I am comparatively very tekkie. Tried hangouts a while back and did not enjoy.
I start to understand what my mother went through when she asked me to teach her how to use the internet. We’d have a session, she’d get it, do it all by herself successfully, then found myriad excuses why not to practice when I wasn’t there. My patience eventually wore out – payback time I guess!
And of course, now I have gone out into the world and said hangouts terrify me, I HAVE to do something with them.