I learned something very interesting this morning: I’ve lived my entire life being afraid the whole time (with the occasional foray into outright terror).I know we’re all scared a lot of the time, but this is the flavour of my life. My core conversation – the place from which I approach life – is “I’m scared”.
When I was 5, we moved house and I started a new school. I’d learned to read when I was young (love a good book!) and, being a precocious child, I was quite proficient by the time we moved schools.
My new teacher brought me to the front of the class and asked me to read what was on the board… but it was in a foreign language!
I’d learned to read the ‘traditional’ way as in words like these. But my new school learned to read using a phonetic alphabet and I hadn’t a clue what the words on the board said.I remember standing there like a deer in the headlights, not understanding and terrified.
As you probably know, since then I’ve spent my entire life trying to understand and putting myself into scary situations and generally being a scary person.
It’s an interesting nature/nurture conundrum because I think I am basically curious about experiencing different things as well as being naturally forthright, which can come across as being both brave and quite scary (there’s very little buffering between thoughts occurring and words coming out of my mouth).
And like I said, while I go through life in a constant state of low level anxiety with the occasional foray into abject terror, I’ve also felt the most powerful when I’ve allowed myself to be that “scary” person who isn’t afraid to say it as it is and take on someone/something previously seen to be invincible.
So, that’s where I’m at at the moment and I just wanted to communicate that with the world before I go and have a meltdown about the whole thing
PS Back in 2002, when I first did the Landmark Forum, I had this really vivid nightmare where I was being chased by a tiger. Eventually, the tiger caught me and put a hand on my shoulder. I turned round and the tiger was me.
Funnily enough, the expression on the tiger’s face in the photo is exactly what I look like when I hear someone say something stupid and I decide they need to understand exactly what it is they’ve just said. It’ll be a very familiar expression to my kids (and their friends)
PPS Just shared my exciting new discovery with John and his reaction was “well, duh”
Tiger photo courtesy of Smithsonian Institute’s Adopt A Tiger Scheme