05 Jul Getting naked is the best thing ever. And no, it’s not what you think.
Staring at the computer screen and all you see is a blinking cursor and a white page.
You stop it, you…. you menacing straight-laced little thing you. I hate you, you know that? You remind me that I haven’t done anything.
I have felt that way more than I would like to admit.
Probably 49,820 times.
I’m a writer at heart. In my wildest and realist dreams I’m a kickass author on the best seller list. In the rest of my body I’m that kid who is trying to get changed for gym class among the other girls – stretching my shirt out with my elbows and wrestling to get my t-shirt on while I’m taking off my school shirt.
Staying partially hidden is exhausting. You either get naked, or you don’t. There’s no halfway.
So here’s the thing. Starting my business, working with some incredible people has been a white-knuckling experience. Most of me is faithful, knows this is an amazing magic carpet ride and all that good stuff.
What I really want to talk about is the side that is still in the locker room, struggling.
In seventh grade we were all throwing ice around after gym glass. We were all in various stages of wearing our shorts and being the scrawny new kid I was playing along to fit in.
My ice hit the class bully, Katie*. Of course among the 20-someodd girls, it was MY ice that hit her.
“Back of Super C at three”, she spat.
That was where people got their clocks cleaned. Super C was in fact a grocery store and the bullies at my school chose the worst location possible. Right beside the dumpsters.
I knew if I didn’t show up, I would never live it down and tomorrow would be worse. I knew if I did, I would return home a bloodied mess.
In Mr. Sugar’s English class I sat staring at the clock. 2:55pm. My friend had spent the entire hour looking over at me every few minutes to see if the expression on my face had changed from terror to prize-fighter. It never did.
The bell rang and off to my locker I went. Grabbed my school bag and went where my legs took me. To the back of Super C.
You’d think management would have heard about this and installed cameras or something but no.
By the time I got there hoards of students had gathered to watch and there I was with my mind negotiating which fist I needed to hit her back with and how painful it was going to be.
Stage right, Katie enters with the mean girls.
She takes me in with her whole gaze and says “you’re not worth it” and with that, she literally turned up her chin and walked away.
I just about threw up.
At the time it felt like a stay-of-execution, but why didn’t this feel like a victory?
We create situations in our imaginations and set ourselves up with what we believe is going to happen. Those things feel so real that when they don’t, we are left with wondering where we stand.
I could have chosen to see that me showing up was a victory in and of itself because I stood up to her. Instead, because she didn’t find me worthy enough to hit I allowed it to fog the rest of my high school experience.
I am not worthy.
Today, those words are in a diary somewhere far from my consciousness, but my expectations are the same.
What would I tell my 12 year old self?
Embrace the victory. More people have gone home than show up for a fight. Where in your life have you shown up when others wouldn’t? Think back. Surely you have had courageous moments when people have reacted like “whoa, you did that?!” Journal about that feeling.
Re-create the victories, and multiply them. Successful people have trained their mind for success. Unsuccessful people have trained their minds to be unsuccessful. It really is that simple. Remind yourself of the greatness you have within.
Bullies bark. Ignore the noise. Who in your life is a nay-sayer? We’ve got loads of them. No matter who they are, ignore them. It doesn’t matter if they’re your brother, your niece, your neighbour, your boss. Let go of their definition of you.
Define yourself. Inside you have two voices. One that celebrates you, and the other that condemns you. The one that gets fed, lives. It’s as simple as that. Starve the condemner to death. That is the voice that will act like an anchor on your dreams. The celebrator is the one that sets you free.
Manage your expectations. Does it make sense to expect yourself to be a gymnast of Olympic calibre if you’re just learning how to use the uneven bars? You will fall, you will make mistake, even Olympians do, but be sure to remind yourself that this is a process.
Trust the process and let go of the outcome. There was a reason why I showed up and didn’t go home. My path wasn’t to get beaten up or harassed for running away with my tail between my legs. What I did as a 12 year old was ridiculously difficult but somehow I knew this was the right thing to do. Where in your life are you trusting, and where are you running away?
In my life today I still have to work through some of these things. Especially letting go of the outcome. I have an expectation of what I want my life to look like, don’t we all? But instead I have to:
Always do the next right thing.
Know that the answers I’m getting are always wiser than my prayers.
* Names have been changed because while I don’t live anywhere near the Super C anymore, I am choosing to stay far away from drama of every kind.