One year later…

I have had this blog for a year now.

Well technically I started writing here on March 7 2015 so I am late, but life happened. Plus I don’t think that it is a big deal. I don’t really feel anything about this, but one year is a milestone so here goes: Happy one year anniversary to my blog.

I haven’t posted everyday during this year, I don’t have a theme, and there is really no structure to the madness. But it has been nice having a place where I can share some of my thoughts, and express my love of RUMI.

When I really think about it, I realise a lot has happened in this period, but I stay detached and experiences are like oil to my water. I have noticed a change in myself this year and I am equal parts excited and terrified for what the future brings. Sometimes I wish I could peek into my life 5 years from now, to see how things will be. Sometimes I scare myself by thinking: what if nothing changes? What if I am in this exact same spot, daydreaming about the same things and watching life pass me by? Change is scary, but even scarier is remaining the same.

What will my life be like 5 years from now, I wonder? Will I be happy and fulfilled?  Will I still be alive? Will I have fallen victim to a maniac suicide bomber? Life has this way of being completely unpredictable, tossing you in directions in which you never expected. Whatever happens, I hope to be alive, I hope to be happy, and I hope to always have a reason to laugh.

 

On Introversion

Introversion sucks.

Point blank period end of discussion.

Sure it’s all good in the beginning; skipping out on parties and get-togethers to hang out with yourself. It’s nice to be alone, by yourself, with your thoughts, a book and a movie. The thought of screaming in a club in unappealing, hell the thought of being around other people is exhausting. You enjoy your company the most, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You are introverted and proud.

Until one day you realise that you do not know how to function in society.

I mean, you always knew that you were “different”. Everyone else seemed so comfortable being social, having lots of best friends and being the life of the party. You were pretty much a happy loner, you had-have- friends but you don’t keep in touch regularly. You have never really craved company and you have never needed others to make you feel good. You have always been okay with being alone until now.

You begin to realise, corny as it sounds, that no human is an island. Maybe it would be nice to have best friends that you can yap on and on about nothing with. Maybe it would be nice to have lots of pictures commemorating the fun times you and your friends have had. Maybe you should have socialised a bit more. Maybe you should have tried harder to make and maintain relationships. You begin to realise how necessary human companionship is. The conversations you have with yourself? You wish to have them with another human being. The scenarios you play in your head? You wish for them to be reality. You still have no desire to be the life of the party, but you sometimes wish you had more excitement in your life.You are tired of only showing your real self in certain settings when you are really comfortable, tired of people saying they did not know you were this crazy. You want to be comfortable at all times, at least comfortable enough to talk to people.

But one’s personality is difficult to change, especially in later years. You cannot simply become extroverted. Introversion still weighs down on you; you want to talk to people and mingle, and at the same time you want to be left alone. Be my friend, but no please don’t bother me. It would be nice to have everyone make a big deal of your birthday, but at the same time the thought of all the attention makes you dizzy and afraid.

Besides, everyone else is so different. You cannot relate to their experiences, and you do not think you have much to add to their conversations. You really want to have fun and at the same time you really do not want to leave your room. Your Fear Of Missing Out is strong, but it’s no match for your Reluctance To Leave Your Room.

Everyone one around you is chatting away about their weekends, and you’re seated alone wishing you could yap away as well, but grateful that no one is talking to you because, well you have nothing to say about your weekend. So you just read your book or check your phone.

Fed up with the solitude, you want to start actively making changes; and you try contacting friends you have not communicated with in ages. Their lives have moved on quite a bit, because the lives of others do not stop just because you haven’t spoken in a while. It stings a little-a lot- that they did not tell you of these momentous changes in their lives. But what right do you have to their lives Ms. Introversion? Miss I don’t like to speak on the phone or text or communicate in anyway. Miss I let my phone ring because I really do not have the strength to carry on a conversation. Being introverted is not an excuse. “That’s just the way I am” is child babble.

It is hard to change and most times it seems impossible. Introversion is not an uncool-cool trait that writers and other creatives have. There are degrees to it and at the far end are those who cannot speak in public without feeling as if their heart will explode. Those who panic when they think someone is coming to speak to them. Those who rehearse future conversations and bail out on social gatherings because they have nothing to say.

It is nice to be by oneself, but it is also nice-necessary even- to leave the confines of one’s private sphere and go be with people. Laugh, take pictures, build a tribe, make memories. Life is not meant to be lived alone.

 

 

On Fear: What are you so afraid of?

Oh fear. When we speak of fear, what is it that we talk about? Snakes, death,spiders, no wifi, carbohydrates?

In my journey into adulthood, I have come to realise the stranglehold fear has on me, and on other people. Not just fear of the physical, or of death; but of the abstract. Perhaps the most pervasive fear is that of failure. Even just as common is the fear of success. It may seem strange that one would be afraid of success, but I assure you it is quite common.

I hate to fail, even more than I like to win. The sadness failure brings is bigger than the joy success brings. Sometimes, I am so afraid of failing that I prefer not to try at all.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

I like to win, but I am afraid of what success brings; the pressure to succeed all the time. In a marketing course as an undergrad, I got the highest grade in the class midterm. Not only did I score a high grade, the rest of the class did bad. Of course I was pleased, especially as the professor was full of praises, but my joy was overpowered by my nerves. Instead of basking in the glow of this success, I started to feel the pressure to do well on the next midterm. What if I didn’t do as well?  Sometimes, I pass up on opportunities, not because I am afraid to fail, but because I am afraid of what success will bring. You succeed once, and everyone expects you to replicate the success every time. You get one question right, and every one starts to look to you for the answers. For some, success brings with it a world of change that they may not feel they are ready for. For others failure is a more comfortable space.

Both fears come from the same source: self doubt. We are afraid to fail, and afraid to succeed because we doubt ourselves.We don’t think we have what it takes, and we don’t think we will be able to handle success. I read somewhere that we tend to overestimate the capabilities of others and underestimate ours.  We simply do not think that we are good enough; surely someone else will have something better.

One of the best things someone ever said to me was if 50% of the class fails, then 50% of the class passes. A friend said this to me when I was panicking about a difficult Statistics course back at university. These simple words changed my entire perspective for that course. Why did I immediately assume I would be part of the half that failed? Why did I completely ignore the fact that there was in fact a 50% chance of passing? I studied hard, and did in fact end up passing the course with the highest grade in the class.

Sometimes this self doubt comes from unpreparedness. The fear of failing the exam is not because you are daft, but because you haven’t studied. I realised this this year, when I had to take a professional exam. The exam is a notoriously difficult one, and more than half of test takers fail it. I of course got caught up in the fear, until I started to study. I studied hard and my confidence grew. The exam was a piece of cake.

Sometimes the simple solution is to prepare and to practice. It is not enough to simply believe you can do it, you need to put in the required work. When we are prepared, we fear a little less, because we know our shit, so to say. We are confident because we have practised, maybe even failed, and learned from our mistakes. Sometimes we have to fail before we succeed. Sometimes things have to change and we should accept this, rather than run away from it. I am slowly learning to not be afraid of failure, but instead to draw out lessons from it.

Even with these lessons, fear is still quite omnipresent in my life and I try to make a conscious effort to overcome it. Sometimes it works, sometimes I let the fear win. I tell myself over and over again, that there is nothing to fear. I try to face my fears. What is the worst that could happen? What are you so afraid of? It is so empowering to do something that you feared you couldn’t. Even if you fail, you still feel good for trying.

Fear can only be defeated with action. Inaction will allow the fear to grow  until it takes over everything. If you are afraid of something, do it.

CHANGE

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.

This applies to so many aspects of life. The fear of the unknown should not hold us back from evolving. A time will come when staying the same becomes unfeasible and then the fear of change becomes insignificant. Yes there is the chance of failure, but why ignore the possibility of success?

What if I fall? Oh but my darling but what if you fly?

What are you most afraid of?

Our deepest fear.

 

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?

Marianne Williamson