I returned to the UK six years ago with Mama Reds full of optimism for my future with a very specific plan in place. Here’s where I insert mention of two very heavily used adages:
The very best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Man Plans, and God laughs
I am sure God laughed at my plan, to escape from something I had no idea existed.
My plan was essentially not be the person I was in Boston. I was going to increase my confidence, get several promotions at work, buy a house, have a family (husband and 2.5 children), save loads of money, lose weight, spend quality time with the hordes of family I have, host dinner parties and just be a fabulous person.
What my reality was……. I lost weight, gained it back plus some. My depression went haywire. I was diagnosed with Lupus and a few other disorders. I stayed in the same position albeit traveling the world while doing so. We had 7 visits from family (the same ones), some family members stopped talking to me for reasons unknown. But something more serious occurred……..I became scared. Stuck. Scared to get my driver’s license, scared to leave my house, scared to socialise. I formulated plans and partially executed them but couldn’t penetrate this destructive fortress I’d created for myself.
Don’t get me wrong, if I stayed in the US, I think I would have eventually pushed myself into a corner. A corner of seclusion, incessant self reflection but rarely action. Moving to England wasn’t going to somehow magically solve my problems. The one thing the move revealed was this propensity for falling into mediocrity, scared of my talent, my capacity, scared of success.
My deepest, darkest secret for as long as I can remember, is that for some reason I believe happiness and success are reserved for other people. In spite of my plan 6 years ago, I harboured a deep-seated resentment against myself saying “you don’t deserve that. no husband, children, executive position or house. your family will not see you. you’ll waste all of your money. no success for you.” I have prayed rigorously for the success of friends’ marriages, for abundance in bounty for all those I hold dear, prosperity for my cousins in all their ventures. Outside of prayer, I found myself helping and enabling others to find their paths to success in a way I wouldn’t for myself. But prayers for myself never had the depth and assurance of those I sent to heaven for everyone else. I wondered, are my friends and family praying just as hard for me as I am for them?
This is where the Doubting Thomas side of my personality gives myself a much needed reality check. Many of my friends and family are out living their lives or so social media tells me. They aren’t cowering away from their potential. So the likelihood is that my intense level of prayer isn’t likely to be reciprocated. Should I expect it? Probably not.
This isn’t a piece about how I escape my crippling fear. Simply that first step in admitting that I have a problem. Empowering social media posts and pictures won’t chip away at fears like this. They are written by people who aren’t consumed by fear. There’s no quick-fix for something that’s probably been laying in wait for decades sabotaging………….
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