Fear Of Failing

I know this is a very late post. But I did want to complete it as it was a question that certainly did provoke my thoughts.

Back in May, Fandango asked us the following two questions as part of FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION:

“Have you ever been so afraid of failing at something that you decided not to try it at all? What’s one thing would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

shy.jpgWhen I was younger I think I had a fear that I would identify as nerves or shyness. At a very young age, maybe I was five years of age, mum took me to some kind of children’s activity day at a local community centre. When we arrived and I saw all of these exuberant children running round wildly shrieking, I became gripped with fear. My eyes welled up with tears and I clung to my mum’s hand tightly. She tried to persuade me to join the children and enjoy myself, but I ended up bawling my eyes out. Mum had to walk home with me. That is the first event in my life when I can remember what it is to feel fear and decide not to do something.

me at 9I remembered that day for a long time (I still remember it now), but the memory of it had a positive effect on me. I didn’t want to feel that way again so I pushed myself to do what I was afraid of or nervous about. I don’t remember being gripped by that kind of fear through the rest of school. I was secure and content at school. I was not bothered about being popular, and I ended up having a fairly easy passage through school on the whole. I excelled at school work. I was good at sports (because of the stamina that swimming had built in us) and I got on with people. I was in a popular group.

construction clothesAfter school I became involved in voluntary projects, including construction projects, which I loved. I became close to two girls who lived in my town and for the next couple of years we travelled together all over England and Wales to work on various projects. We usually shared accommodation too. But then both of the girls dropped out for various reasons…paid work was becoming more important to them. They both had boyfriends and were preparing for the future I guess (they both married before they were twenty-one). The first time I was invited to a project miles away from where I lived, I felt that fear again. Going on my own made me nervous. I would be staying with a family I had never met, and would not have the other two girls to help me be chatty with them. I would be arriving on the construction site on my own and hoping I would see other volunteers I recognised so that I did not end up standing alone looking like a lost little lamb.

Why on earth did I feel nervous? It was wonderful. I was emerging from my shell and becoming more of my own person. It was so good for me to do things like that on my own and not rely on my familiar friends. I have rarely looked back since then. I have seized all sorts of opportunities that came my way and I have realized fear should not hold me back from all life has to offer.  I have realized that meeting new people, having new experiences, visiting new places are all wonderfully enriching and exciting. How happy I am that I have not held back. I have acquired an amazing treasure chest of friends and life experiences that make me me!

HOWEVER…

I guess the only area where I do hold back is when it comes to love. Maybe it’s because I am such a realist. I know that whereas there could be many things that could make me a blessing and a bonus to someone I love, I could also become a burden (especially after my head injuries). I do have a fear I suppose that holds me back. I would not want the man I love to resent making a commitment to me, making sacrifices for me and making changes to his life to have me be a part of it. I can’t bear the thought of the man I love slowly starting to despise me because I cost more than I contribute to his life – I don’t just mean financially.

distraught.jpgThere are other fears. I fear making the man I love angry because I won’t compromise on certain issues. It’s not just a matter of being stubborn, it is my conscience I cannot deliberately go against. It has happened before. It’s not easy when the man you love asks you to do something that is so much the opposite to who you are as a person. It has caused at least one of my meaningful relationships (my courtship with Jammy), and many of the fledgling relationships with men I had started dating, to crumble. If a man pushes me to do something that makes me miserable, my fondness for him, respect and trust for him fade, as I find it harder and harder to feel secure. I disconnect and an impenetrable wall goes up inside me.

leaving1.jpgIt’s not so easy to find a loving relationship that makes me thrive. I love giving. I love loving. But if I realize that the person I am is shrivelling up and finding it harder to breathe because of the unhappy cloud that has descended upon me, all I can think of is how to escape. I can overlook a lot. I can endure a lot. But I have a silent breaking point. “Silent” because I don’t become enraged, no, instead I just vanish.  I don’t want to hurt any man. In some ways…it is better to be in love with a man who lives on the opposite side of the planet, because hopefully those situations when I would either stand up for my conscience and disappoint him, or else give in out of a desire to please him, and then suffer the misery of a pained conscience, will not arise too often.

flower quote.jpgI think at times I should carry a sign on my head that says “DO NOT TRY TO MAKE ME YOURS, BECAUSE IT IS EXTREMELY UNLIKELY THAT I CAN BE WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO BE”. I met my match. My match was Jack. Jack and I were on the same page with regards to all sorts of issues. We both knew it. We felt the same way about how to spend life, time, money. We both danced to the same beat. It is one thing that saddens me at times to know that there are many nice men out there, but men who I would make miserable and/or who would make me miserable because we would not be on the same page with certain issues.

cryingI am afraid of being in a situation that is desperately miserable for both me and the man I love. These days I like to be realistic and make it clear to the man I love that I can be his best friend and there are a million things I can do for him out of love, but there are things I cannot do without destroying myself. I will love him the best I possibly can. I will be there to hold on tight through thick and thin, but there are issues I will not compromise on. It’s harder than it sounds to find someone who really understands that and does not resent you for being uncompromising on matters that are no big deal to them.

I don’t like the thought of a loving relationship as something that is doomed to failure. I am afraid of hurting someone I love. And then there is a fear, a morbid dread, of a repeat of the situation that occurred with Jack. I cannot bear the thought of someone I love becoming my enemy.

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This was my very late response to FANDANGO’S PROVOCATIVE QUESTION:

Fandango’s Provocative Question #24

FPQ

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Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

I don’t mind being alone…truth be told, I quite like my own company.  My head is never empty of happy thoughts, wonderful memories, dreamy hopes.  I am more than content to be alone at times and be lost in my own pleasant mind.

However, I was once all alone.  Not on my own physically, rather I was isolated within a challenge that I could no longer handle.  I am going to save the full saga of how this challenge developed and intensified for other posts.  But for now, it is enough for you to know that I had no idea who to turn to for help.  It was a situation I did not feel I could share with my loving family.  It would have appalled them to know what I was dealing with.

I had lost confidence in the friends around me.  I had many friends who had known me since childhood but none of whom were living in London.  Those I thought could perhaps help, I either did not want to bother them because they were so important, or I was frightened of the consequences of getting others involved.  Truth be told, the man who was the root of all my trials had confused me.  (If you read “Peanut-Butter Cookies – That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbled” or “Would You Like A Cup Of Tea?” you may understand why I was confused.)

This man seemed to have decided to make my life miserable…he was a very influential man.  He was a popular celebrity.  He had been using social media to spread his dissatisfaction with me which had intensified my isolation.  I am a softie…I don’t fight with people.  I had never been in this situation before.

My isolation had been increasing over time.  One Tuesday evening, I felt I could not go home to where I lived because I might see him again.  I had seen him several times during the previous days and he had shown his usual hostility.  So I did not go home.  I went to a local park.  I sat on a bench and allowed tears to stream down my face.  I was overwhelmed by this challenge…I felt not just alone, but all alone.  Isolated in my emotional pain.  Maybe you have experienced that kind of alone…”all alone”…feeling under intense stress and not knowing who you can turn to.

In London you are not often alone physically.  There are always lots of people around. When I arrived in the park there were joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists.  A man sat next to me on the bench.  A complete stranger.  It was him.  I was not afraid at first, I was caught up in my burdensome brooding.  But I do remember what happened when I stood up with the sudden awareness that now it was dark and there were no joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists anywhere I looked.  I had decided I should not be there.  I said it out loud.  I actually said, “I should go home.”  I try not to think about him.  Despite what he did that night, the damage was already done.  Caramel was already crushed long before that night.

Now I am going to take you forward several hours.  A security guard had found me…he had found me left in bushes with obvious injuries.  He had called an ambulance.

Ambulance

The rest of the day…well I remember an array of flashes and noises.  I was asked many questions, the same questions over and over, by paramedics, nurses, doctors, police…everyone introduced themselves…I still remember some of  their names, Gary, Patrick, Michelle, Daryl, Samara, Naomi, Carol, Jyoti, Michael, another Michael…I cannot remember their roles, but I can remember their words.  I was asked again and again what I could remember.  I would be asked that question many many more times.

I was also asked who they could call…I kept on saying “Noone, please, not yet.”  I told them where I lived, but I begged them not to contact anyone yet.  I knew that my family and friends would be very distressed.  I needed time to be able to muster the strength to reassure them that I was alright and everything was going to be alright.

I drifted in and out of consciousness…after a whole day and night in the hospital I woke up on the Thursday morning feeling numb and empty.  One of the first people I saw that morning must have been a ward clerk, with the task of arranging discharges.  She introduced herself as Sally.  She asked me how I was getting home? had I arranged my transport home? was someone coming to pick me up? or would I be making my own way home?  I felt horrified…suddenly the thought of going back to my accommodation after what had happened to me in the park was impossible in my mind.

How could I go back there?  He was still there…the man who had been making my life unbearable for two years.  There were scores of neighbours who had been speculating about the relationship between he and I.  Over the two years thousands of cruel words had been spread about me.  I had been taunted and mocked about him.  Hundreds, perhaps thousands of others – friends, workmates, and his fans had read his posts about me on his social media sites.  He even used me as the subject of a comedy sketch he was involved in on an entertainment show.  After that I received many many more remarks about his view of me.  I had been enduring all of that for almost two years and it had essentially crushed me.

This site is Crushed Caramel.  I am finally sharing with you what crushed Caramel.  Not what happened that night in the park, but the two years beforehand.  Now…with my physical injuries and the horror inside of me of what had happened during the night I was in the park…how could I go back now?  I was not ready.

I said to Sally that I had not made any arrangements yet.  I asked her what time did I have to leave? was the bed I was in needed by another patient?  She had a look at my notes and replied that I should not worry until the consultant made his rounds.  I was worried though!  When the consultant came…I asked him what time I had to leave.  He made it clear that I was not going anywhere.  He said that they would be keeping an eye on me for the next few days.  I was relieved.  Pressure lifted, I felt that would allow me the time to work out what next.  Who should I call?

My best friend Marta was on holiday in Spain, visiting her family.  My closest sister Milly had just flown out to Central Africa to begin a new project.  I did not want to call my parents just then because I knew they would be anxious, possibly devastated if they saw what had happened to me.  My flatmates, Ivo and Lyn, were also on holiday.  I did not want to call my boss or anyone too important.  I had many friends in London, but they were all  friends of my ex-flatmate.  I was frightened they would tell him what had happened to me.  There was one thing I was sure of, I did not want him to know.

Momentarily, I felt desperately alone.  For the first time since I arrived at the hospital I began to cry.  It was not being on my own, but feeling all alone.  There seemed to be noone who could really take the weight of this enormous challenge away from my shoulders, noone who could lift the heavy burden on my heart.  The pressure inside me was welling up and out poured tears.  I cried silently.  But the raw pain inside was burning away.

That was when these words suddenly started to echo around my mind:

If I would fly away with the wings of the dawn to reside by the most remote sea,  Even there your hand would lead me and your right hand would take hold of me.  

If I say: “Surely darkness will conceal me!” Then the night around me would become light.  Even the darkness would not be too dark for you. But night would be as bright as the day; Darkness is the same as light to you.

You may know these words well or perhaps you have never heard those words before. You may have other sources you turn to for comfort and wisdom. But these were the beautiful words that started to sing within me.  The pain, the pressure, the panic melted. Comfort invaded the space they had been occupying.  Comfort in the shape of warmth, of courage, of knowing I was not alone.  The awareness that I had a friend who was far bigger than any challenge I could ever face, far more powerful than the worst of my fears, was immensely comforting.  I felt as if a great pair of arms lifted me up out of the bed I was resting in and gave me a bear hug!

Those last words “darkness is the same as light to you”.  Momentarily the gloominess of my situation had overwhelmed me.  However, even if my pain was dark and bitter and I could not see hope ahead or a way out…well, He could.  To Him, it was clear as day…night might as well be day.  He saw past the darkness, He could see everything and understood everything.

More words came into my head and comforted me.

I have many friends and family members.  At times though I had felt as if they didn’t understand who I really was on the inside.  Everyone thought I was a little ray of sunshine.  I tried to be happy and friendly with everyone.  I had tried for those past two years to conceal the pain of essentially being bullied and tormented.  I had tried to laugh it off, to make light of it, to pretend I was not bothered by the cruel words uttered against me.  As I mentioned, I had felt all alone because there did not seem to be anyone I could turn to for help with this challenge.  The words that came into my head again in a loud and reassuring tone were these:

My bones were not hidden from you when I was made in secret. When I was woven in the depths of the earth.  

Your eyes even saw me as an embryo.  All its parts were written in your book.  Regarding the days when they were formed before any of them existed.

To feel all alone, to feel as if there was nobody that really understood me or could help me with this challenge…how wrong I was!  From the moment I was conceived He knew I existed.  Nothing has escaped his notice.  He knows every detail of my mind and the depths of my heart.  There I was alone in hospital, but now I knew I was not alone!  I was now infused with the peace and calm and power I needed to face the future.

It gave me the courage to face with calmness everything I needed to do.  I rang our Mandy, who was the only family member I thought could see me with my injuries without sobbing.  Mandy is one tough cookie.  She jumped in the car and came straight down to London.  She did cry when she saw me, but she managed to control herself as she saw that I needed calm.  Together we rang a close friend of mine who was of great influence.  He promised to look after all of my arrangements in London.

All of these beautiful expressions, which were penned around 3000 years ago, were evidence to me that we were never intended to have an isolated existence.  Being on your own is good for you at times, but feeling all alone is not good…it is not what we were designed for.  We thrive on love – showing love and knowing we are loved.  To me these special words breathe love and deep personal interest.

To sum up the effect of these words, I would like to share my quote for today.  If you ever feel all alone.  Isolated, with a challenge that is beyond your ability to deal with.  If your heart is weighed down with grief or anxiety and you cannot see any light ahead.  The quote, the 2,700 year old famous words that empowered me like never before were these:

Do not be afraid. I…will help you.

And He did!  Every step!

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Many of us are very sad at the news that First Fridays, Daily Prompt and The Community Pool are no more to be…We are all hoping there will be ways to keep the connections going.  Well one way appears to be challenges bloggers can nominate each other for.  So this post is Day Three of the Three Day Challenge.

I was nominated for this audacious challenge by Mr Mark Anthony, as you can see from his post.  Thank you Mark Anthony…the nomination gave me some ideas regarding more lessons in life that Caramel has indeed learned.  I am pleased to be able to share them on the Crushed Caramel site.

https://markanthonysthings.wordpress.com/2018/05/24/3-days-3-quote-challenge-day-1-1st-tag-be-inspire/?wref=pil&wref=pil

THE RULES:

• Thank the person who nominated you.

• Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

• Nominate 3 different bloggers for each day.

“ Do not be afraid. I will help you.” 

CRUSHED CARAMEL (LEARNER AT LOVE) – DAY THREE OF THE THREE DAY – THREE QUOTE CHALLENGE

 

My nominees :

https://pepperedwithstories.com

https://gratefulsinglemoms.com

https://mylifes810015070.wordpress.com

I love looking at your posts and appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

I hope you enjoy this challenge as much as I have.  Maybe you will have something fun, wise or inspirational to you that you can share with us.

As for my own posts…well I promise you for the rest of the week they will be much more light-hearted!  I don’t want you to worry…we will come back to this subject at a much later date.