“… Walk Unafraid, I’ll be Clumsy instead…”
I started a blog once before, maybe 7 years ago. It was called Clumsy Instead, in reference to one of my favourite REM songs (not an original thing to do!). I told 2 and a half people about it, wrote a few posts, over-thought the few posts, died of embarrassment over the few posts, that nobody was reading, and deleted the whole thing. I wanted to be clumsy instead, but blogging felt too clumsy, and I wasn’t there yet.
When I started to think in September that maybe I might maybe write something, I went searching for that old WordPress account. My name was still there, Clumsy Instead, there were tags to a post about this and a post about that… I WANTED TO READ THEM… but the posts, and the blog name, were irreversibly deleted. I had decided that no-one should read them, ever, and that was that. I had had my chance to be Clumsy and the blog name was gone and could not be resurrected, now that I was ready to try again.
So anyway, I just picked another name.
But fear is a recurring struggle… a spiral staircase…. familiar territory for most of us, in whatever shape or form it effects us, down here. And so we come back to old favourite songs, we re-read books, we re-learn faith and heart lessons, we hear something new and it reminds us of something old and true.
I think these days of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown (‘Vulnerability TED’) as my Walk Unafraid, Be Clumsy Instead book. I realise how the courage to be vulnerable effects everything from awkward blogging to embracing adventure to having children whose health and happiness and next breath is not guaranteed.
One of my friends recently asked me why I am, like her, a mother who fears her sleeping baby must be dead, and imagines her curious toddler falling out the window. She says her mum was always freaking out, so she guesses that’s where she gets it from. But why am I like that, she wants to know? My mum is calm and SANE. Where did I get it from?
Aside from the reason of being human, I think I panic due to a combination of genes, gospel meetings and Casualty. My nana was a major Worrier and my mum is a worrier too, she’s just good at not freaking out. But also, I went to a lot of gospel meetings growing up and they have ingrained in me the possibility of imminent death for any of us. I have shaken the ticket-to-heaven, moment-of-conversion, fear-of-eternal-damnation thing from my own understanding of the Gospel and faith, but I have never been able to shake the conviction that I, or someone I love, could walk out the door and be hit by a bus.
And then too many episodes of Casualty on Saturday nights in the ’90s have given me a store of visuals to go with my fears .You know, the pre-stories to the accident where people are doing something either really ORDINARY or really HAPPY and then tragedy strikes. I catch myself in life imagining in a certain moment that it’s a pre-story, expecting the worst is about to happen. I can just see us in the park, or driving the coast road, or being tucked in … I can see us ON CASUALTY, or CSI or Criminal Minds. (I have definitely watched too many of these shows to be good for anyone…).
And, as always, the little things effect me even more. The biggest challenges to walking Unafraid come from the every day.
A few years ago I did some Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in the hope that I could be less of an anxious case when driving, and anticipating driving. I remember the therapist’s Eureka moment, when she clearly felt she had unlocked the key, to me. It was when we realised: I’m afraid of crashing, yes of course, but mostly, I’m just afraid of stalling.
And I think this IS they key to me, in many ways. I’m afraid in life of stalling, of getting stuck, of not doing it right, of it going wrong, of having to try again.
But all the voices worth listening to say: be clumsy, instead. All the people I most admire are like this.
And so I say yes, then battle the nerves. I start a blog, and delete a blog, and start a blog again. I re-start the engine. I ask for help. I try again.
I switch off Criminal Minds. I read those lines I underlined in that book. I pray. I read a blog that’s good for me. I listen online to a speaker that feeds my soul. I play that REM CD.
I’ll trip, fall, pick myself up and
I’ll be clumsy instead
Hold my love or leave me high.
What do you do?