EMBRACING FEAR

I don’t like confronting situations. In fact, I avoid them at all costs. But am I refusing to look fear in the face?

Yesterday I knew I was going to run into someone I didn’t particularly want to see. 

Yet, I mustered up my courage, was an adult about it, and went ahead and steeled myself to do it anyway. 

It was over an incident that happened almost 7 years ago now. 

It’s not that I hold grudges, however I have a very long memory, which means that I never forget the way somebody made me feel. So essentially it had nothing to do with a lack of forgiveness on my part, but rather a lack of forgetting. 

I also discovered on my way to where I was heading, that this person absolutely didn’t want to see me. In fact, they were livid that I was going to be present. 

Now I’ve written countless times about how super sensitive I am. I rarely even watch the news, because I find it disturbs me. So this was a monumental thing that I was about to do. 

Upon learning that this person was particularly annoyed that I was going to be present at the same location as they were, I became incredibly nervous. 

In an ordinary situation, I would have turned around and gone back home. Avoiding the possible confrontation. But I didn’t. 

I was with a girlfriend, and she is very perceptive.

She had noticed that I became quiet. Retreating into my shell. My mind was racing, filled with a myriad of thoughts. To say I was rattled is the understatement of the millennium. 

“Don’t worry Amy” she said to me sternly. 

“I’m ok” I feigned a smile at her. 

“I can see your hands trembling” she said to me matter-of-factly. 

Shit. She saw that. My nerves were shot to shit. 

“You have to learn to be stronger. Don’t let anyone get to you” 

After around an hour, it was time to indeed quite literally look fear in the face. 

I mustered up all of my courage, and went and said hello to fear. 

And guess what happened?

Fear embraced me warmly and kissed my cheek. 

And this is what can happen with fear. And why it’s so important to face it.

We often build things up in our minds. It’s all just an illusion. 

There’s that saying “decide you want it more than you are afraid of it”. 

It’s not that I WANTED to see this person. Not at all. I could have happily lived out the remainder of my life having never seen this person again. 

What I did want was to overcome my fear. To release it. And the only way to do that was to have the courage to face it head on. 
It’s only when you become so fed up with avoiding fear are you able to truly face it. 

So today, I ask you to think about what you are avoiding confronting. 

What is it that you are afraid of?

The only person who can hold you back is you. 

Gather up all of your nerves, even if your hands are trembling, and go and embrace fear. 

You just never know what might happen. And after last nights act of courage, I can confirm that fear IS just an illusion. 

It only has the power to destroy you if you allow it to. You are in control. Always know that. 

You possess the power of allowing fear to overcome you, or kiss you on the cheek. 

PUTTING PEOPLE ON PEDESTALS

People do this all the time. All the time. 

We become so enamoured with someone that we pop them up on a pedestal. 

But what effect does that then have?

Look at the classic example of that of a celebrity. You always read about their ridiculous demands. They only want brown M&M’s. They want their hotel room filled with white orchards imported from somewhere or other. They want 16 cases of Fiji water…you get the drift. 

When you do place someone high upon a pedestal, what do you think is going to happen?

They look down on you of course. 
Their perception becomes skewed. And most importantly – YOU are beneath them. 

Now, this is of course something that is often done in romantic relationships. 

It can be done in friendships. 

But it can also be done when people have children too. 

Now people might probably say I’m speaking out of school, as I haven’t earnt the right to have such a controversial opinion on people putting their children on pedestals. I am merely an observer. 

Yet, this is how observations are made. 

You hear parents comment about their children all the time. 

“They are my world”

I totally get that. I adore my friends 6 year old. I would do anything for him. And I didn’t even give birth to him. So I would imagine the ties would be that much stronger if he was biologically mine. In fact, I’ve been invited along to my little buddy’s Christmas concert at his school this evening, and I couldn’t be more proud. I’m also really happy that my friend sees me as someone important in her child’s life and has included me as part of her extended family. It’s a kindness unparalleled. 

Some parents put their child on a pedestal. In fact, some mothers place their sons upon a pedestal. They glorify them, wait on them, pander to their every need. In their eyes, they can “do no wrong”. 

The risk with this type of behaviour is that these men will often enter into relationships assuming the world revolves around him, and that his partner should wait on him hand and foot, which is not a good recipe for a mutual relationship. In fact, it can be disastrous. 

If you do end up glorifying your prodigy, and making them exclusively your “world”, where does that leave them at the end? Are you making a rod for your own back? Or for their future partners back?

You will undoubtedly create a little demi-god. A little person without limits or boundaries. A sense of entitlement within that child who has been praised and adored and placed on this pedestal. 

They will see the world with a different set of eyes. They will look down upon others. It’s the potential making of a narcissist. 

I use the example of a parent doing this, however as I stated in the beginning of my piece, it can also be done in a romantic union, or a friendship. 

Now I am not one to give parenting advice. Not in any sense of the word. In fact, I would probably make a terrible parent. 

However, I have seen enough to form the opinion, that it’s important to treat people as equals. Not as your superior. 

To not treat this other person, be it your child, your lover, or your friend as if they are the reason for your existence. 

It has far reaching, detrimental effects. The celebrated one having that sense of being blameless. Allowing the pedestal dweller to behave in whichever manner they please. 

A terrible combination for all involved. 

So I guess what I’m trying to say, is value everyone equally. No one is better, or worse than you. Don’t place someone up on a pedestal.

You’re not doing anyone any favours. 

Set boundaries, and limits, and don’t allow anyone to walk all over you. Remember, people will always get away with whatever you allow them to. 

STRONG, INDEPENDENT WOMEN

You always hear about being “strong, independent women”. How we should strive to be one. I know I do. 

Gosh, Beyoncé even wrote a song about. 

But is it wishful thinking? Can we really be strong, independent women? Or are we already, and have merely been convinced that we are not?

What about “strong, independent men”?

Is there such a thing?

Aren’t men already “strong and independent”? It’s hardly a question that ever gets asked. 

There really is a different set of rules in place for men. 

After all, they can screw around and not be judged. If anything, they are congratulated for nailing anything with a hole and a heartbeat. To be completely blunt. 

Women don’t have the same privilege of being celebrated for whittling our bedposts down to a toothpick.

I honestly believe men have it much easier than women. And more often than not, men don’t need to be “strong and independent”. They already are. It’s a given. It’s a mans world. 

But is it on account of the women in their lives? 

What about that saying? “Behind every great man, is a great woman”.
Does this indicate that a mans strength and independence is as a result of there being a strong woman behind him to make him feel that way?

I’ll give a few examples of what I’m talking about below. 

They are rarely the ones to walk out of a relationship, and if they do, it’s generally for another woman. 
Women are more likely to up and leave when they’ve had enough. Men will comfortably remain in a problematic relationship due to a phenomenon known as homeostasis. Roughly translated to a “comfort zone”. 

So does that make us the stronger one?

They more often than not earn more money than women. Yet they will generally have a female assistant. 

They are undoubtedly the stronger sex physically. 

Think about when men and women make love for instance. 

Men need a release, and women need to be filled up. We are very different creatures. 

Women have to be completely vulnerable to a man in order to have sex with them. They have to open their legs, and let a man enter them. 

If that’s not being totally submissive, I don’t know what is. And it makes men feel like “a man”. To dominate, and penetrate. As crass as that sounds. 

Yet without women making them feel “manly” would they just be resorting to a date with Mrs Palmer and a tube of lube? 

My two favourite fiction books are Twilight, and Fifty Shades of Grey.

And there’s a common theme with both of the characters in these novels. 

Now of course, Fifty Shades is pretty much the X-rated version of Twilight so of course there are going to be similarities between the characters. 

Isabella Swan, and Anastasia Steel are both completely taken by, and totally submissive to their respective beaus. 

These men are both rich and gorgeous. 

But what about the underlying theme in both of these books? The one that may be overlooked by most?

The level of control in both of these relationships. 

Edward is constantly ensuring Bella’s safety. Always keeping a watchful eye on her. Sending his sister Alice to go collect her if he cannot. Carefully controlling her every move. 

Christian Grey buys Anastasia a BlackBerry so he can monitor her at all times. And he does. He even makes her dress differently. And practically forces her to eat. Not to mention the fact that he ties her up and beats her for his own sexual gratification. 

Yet both of these men are brought to their knees by these seemingly submissive women if they were to walk away. 
And it’s revealed through the books, that both of these men have self esteem issues themselves. Which is where the control comes from. 

I always come back to that of everyone projecting. 

These men are projecting their own insecurities onto their women. Manipulating them, and holding them accountable for their own perceived inadequacies. In effect, making these women anything but strong and independent. Forcing them to mirror the state that they are in fact in themselves. Insecure, low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, low self-worth. 

These men are actually very clever. Yet they have derived their own identity from that of destroying someone else’s. Essentially stealing it for themselves. They intentionally sought someone who was a little bit fragile, a bit delicate, easily persuaded, in order to feel like a “man”. And in the process making the women subservient, and racked with self-doubt and indecision. 

So are these fictional men really powerful at all? Are they really strong and independent? Or is it only on account of the women by their side? Or in these cases, the woman strategically placed on their mantelpiece. 

Now in no way am I tarnishing all men with the same brush. Not at all. There are plenty of strong, independent men out there, whose self worth is not dependent on that of a woman. 
However what I am asking, are men really stronger and more independent than women? Or are women just as strong? Or are women stronger but the male ego would have us believe we are anything but?
As usual, I don’t have any of the answers. But it’s something to ponder regardless. 
Am I a strong, independent woman? You tell me…

SHIT TO KEEP IN YOUR HANDBAG

My friend retrieved my handbag from the front seat of my car the other day.

“What do you have in here?” She asked me, as she struggled to lift it.

I always have carried a large handbag. Which is quite comical as I’m teeny tiny, so it almost looks as if I’m carting around a piece of luggage.

However I like to carry essentials with me. And I don’t mean any old essentials like lipgloss or car keys etc. Stuff you actually need.

My friend was humbled the other night as we sat eating dinner in a restaurant when she realised she had lost the back of her earring.

“I might have one” I told her.

“No…” She replied in disbelief.

After rummaging through my purse, sure enough, I found an earring back for her. I have all sorts of stuff in my handbag. It may be because I’m old, and I know what to expect, however here is a list of the shit any woman should carry in her bag:

1. Tampons – do you know how many times I’ve been asked for a tampon? Unless you’re menopausal, you’re gonna need these every month…
2. Lipgloss
3. Tissues – good for blotting excess oil from your face; in case you cry; in case you get a runny nose, or worse still, a nose bleed. Oh, and in case you go to a public restroom and there’s no toilet paper
4. Band aids – hello? Blisters?
5. Phone charger – you never know when you’ll need it
6. Needle and thread – clothes tear all the time. And buttons fall off too
7. Earring backs – you just never know when these will come in handy
8. Umbrella (there are small ones you can buy)
9. Bobby pins and hair elastics – again, I’ve been asked for these on numerous occasions
10. Perfume
11. Rescue Remedy – for anxiety. We all get nervous you know. Just remember to spray it UNDER your tongue
12. Snacks – ok, this isn’t mandatory, however if you read my “top ten fears” article, you will know I have an irrational fear of starving to death
13. Bottled water – just in case
14. Hand sanitizer – you never know when there’ll be nowhere to wash your hands

So do yourself a favour and buy a bigger handbag to cart all of these things around.

You’ll thank me later.