Staring at the person trapped in the mirror – I see you but no one else does

It’s a funny thing thinking about what you look like and actually seeing your reflection in the mirror and seeing someone else. It’s also strange when you meet new people and realise you’re not actually like the people in your books that you’ve been reading and the films you’ve been watching. In fact sometimes it may distress you to realise that you are nothing like you want to be. This is not true for all, since some people are exactly who they want to be, but I am not talking about those people and perfection. Who is that girl I see staring straight back at me? Must I pretend that I am someone else for all time? When will my reflection show who I am inside? Because I am too dependent on the opinions of others and I am too afraid to act, to be me. Why? I can only assume it is because I am afraid rejection. I must admit though I cannot conceal myself and I don’t try anymore, but I am still finding it hard to be confident in me.

When we meet people we see traits in others that we like and wish to emulate. This can have either two effects on us a) you feel jealously towards that person and resent them or b) you feel awe and appreciation. I love reading books and it is so easy to get lost in those fictional worlds living the life of that person for a few hours or going on your own fictional adventure. That’s why it can be hard to come back to reality when you’ve always got your head stuck in a book. Losing track of time is the usual, not feeling hungry just completely immersing yourself in the world of another character and their tumultuous journey. When you get caught up in these images and stories you start to live them as your character and can sometimes believe that you have those certain brave, courageous and strong characteristics. However, when you are faced with the reality it can be a shocking surprise to see yourself as not yourself if that makes any sense. You see yourself not as you thought and suddenly the truth looms nears and blinding. You are not like the characters in your books no matter how much you would like to be. This ladies and gentleman happened to me one fine day when I walked into a new job. No one could know how much I noticed the difference and how it doesn’t come to you subtly oh no, I don’t do subtlety! No if you want someone to know something, especially if that person is me it’s always best to say it loud and clear.  Like this revelation came loud and clear on my first day temping. The way I spoke was soft spoken, quiet and almost afraid of myself and my abilities. You could tell I was oozing a lack of self-esteem, control with a self-deprecating nature and shaky confidence.  The way I acted, cowering away from people, shying away, squeaking and hiding. Is that me? I thought could that really have been me? Why was I acting so timid? What did I fear? And then it hit me, I am not that person who is completely confident in myself and I never have been. I am hesitant and I may not realise it but other people do. They know instantly when they meet me that I am a hesitant person. I find it hard to trust my own judgement even when I know that I am right. I find it hard to make decisions and this is not a good sign. I’ve always felt the need to question myself and my actions since I was little.

When someone asks are you sure? Am I really sure? No always that seed of doubt. It’s a difficult journey and it’s a difficult task relearning and reprogramming yourself to think differently, to be certain and try and make decisions. Too much thought can be lethal and too little can be reckless. Let’s not be overcautious now. I’m trying to be more confident, more forward and less hesitant but sometimes its hard to break old habits. Habits that have been there with you for a lifetime.

Perhaps it is the way one views oneself they are a harsher critic- adamant not to admit they are confident and good. This self-sacrificing and subservient image of bowing down to authority and being trampled upon is wrong and perhaps too ingrained. It is an image we all seem to have, a part of us within us, but it just depends how much control you give it. If there was a fire alarm and a few people ran to one door assuming it was the exit, whereas one person ran to the opposite side knowing that it was the real exit shouting to be heard over the commotion. Who do you think people will follow? Will they follow the crowd? Or the one person running in the opposite direction shouting to be heard that he knows the way. It seems logical to assume you would follow that one person, but when your life is in the fate of one person and everyone else is running in the oposite direction it seems hard to resist and follow that one person. After all I’m sure people would prefer to die together rather than with one or two people. It is almost sociological that we would run with the crowd when the truth is the crowd is following someone else- always someone else but just someone who looks like they are in control.

When I speak to some people they say oh your presentation was great you looked really confident and you did really well. But when you examine my thoughts you understand that I felt nothing close to confidence. If you asked me how I felt I would tell you the truth. It was completely nerve-wracking and scary but I did it. When thinking about it I’m not sure why it is scary when people are there to learn when you give a presentation and training for others in the company.

So to the person trapped inside – how do I reflect you? How do I get you out? Time I guess and perseverance. Right now I keep staring at my reflection and keep wondering when I will win, when will I be set free and given a chance? Rather than locked away waiting for a chance to shine. I wear a mask but I am not fooling anyone except myself clearly. The time is nigh….

For now I leave you with a song which is close to my heart: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8GUCQQZS64 Christina Aguilera – Reflection

Advertisements

When will I get it right?

For someone who enjoys learning, it’s easy to think someone naturally smart when the truth is it just requires hard work and practice. Firstly it involves understanding the principle/concept and then putting it into practice is the difficult part trying to work on that concept. I have always enjoyed learning whatever the subject may be but I have also equally found it very difficult to grasp certain subjects while others came naturally. Science, French, languages and maths based subjects I struggled because it took me time to understand and time requires patience in teaching which most people don’t have time for. Other subjects such as art, history, cooking, Design and Technology all flowed so easily to me. I remember my year 7 end of year results where I got Ds and Es in Maths, Science etc. and the only consolation was my As and Bs in Art, History and DT. I was put in the lowest class in year 8. That was the year I decided I didn’t want to be stuck with the rest of the ‘idiots’ in my class who thought 32% in Biology was “bloody marvellous” while I looked on in scorn at the low mark I received which happened to be the highest mark in the class. It took a lot of time, hard work and late nights to rectify these marks and try harder to achieve better. I don’t think I’ve always handled pressure and stress very well, but I managed it. In the end I came out shining with As and Bs and no Ds or Es in sight.

Now two years ago I put my mind to learning to drive and I really enjoyed it to begin with, but a year later after my failed first test I decided to try again and work hard to pass but the cookie crumbed and I came out of the second test utterly defeated and devastated. My confidence fell to the floor and I realised how utterly useless I was at the practical, even though I managed to soar and do very well in the theoretical. Driving for some people comes very easily, while it takes less than 20 lessons it takes someone else more than 80. I started off confident, happy and optimistic and I am slowly burning out after 2 years of learning and 2 failed tests later. My hearts not in it anymore, my resolve is slowly dying and I get angry at the gears by trying to jam them into their rightful place. Slow down, calm down, be relaxed, enjoy it are some of the phrases thrown at me, but you can’t understand me and what I’m feeling when I drive now. I am nervous, I am tired and I am close to giving up, but simultaneously so desperate not to give up because of the amount of time, money and effort spent on trying to become a better driver. My theory runs out in January and I set my target to take my test by early December, but as time goes by, day by day I start to lose hope that I can actually achieve that target because I am so bloody scared. I am so scared of failing again and messing it all up and not being able to do it anymore. I am so scared of the actions of others and what may happen on the road. I am so scared driving in London because it is so tough. I am so scared I’ll never be able to do this. With so many people urging me on I am tempted to forgo this and repeat my theory and do the practical next year when I am ready. I mean let’s be honest you can’t take a test unless you are ready right? Unless you are forced to and time constraints leave you no choice, but at that point you either pass or you fail. I just haven’t felt that feeling of being ready and I am scared I will never feel ready, never get that feeling. Maybe I am relying too much on feeling here and not enough on reason and fact but sometimes its important to feel ready and right before acting upon reason, before going further. Maybe I am getting caught up by everyone else’ standards and demands and not facing up to what I really want and maybe need to do.

I wish time was on my side, but its never on my side really and its never really on anyone’s side. My driving instructor said its all about priorities. What are my priorities? Why am I always racing in life? What am I in a rush for? I think I just need some space from my life but how funny I don’t think it’s even possible to get space from yourself and your life? Don’t think you can run far enough because those problems will still be there at the back of your mind to haunt you. The mind will never let you forget and you will always have to go back to face them in the end. It’s a bit like an elastic band when you stretch it to such a point and finally it needs to recoil back to its original form. Life is a constant struggle and I keep wondering with my head in a book when it will all be over? The book being my escape but after a while knowing that I can’t hide forever and I can’t keep escaping because the story always ends. A book cannot solve my problems, simply help me avoid them for a while. When will the struggle be over? But this is all a 1st world struggle. Despite that it’s still a struggle. A struggle to be heard in a loud crowd, the struggle to be seen and noticed in work, the struggle to overcome your fears, the struggle to fight your depressive thoughts and the struggle against succumbing to the easier path. Nothing in life is ever easy. The struggle not to become like others but be your own person independent of all constraints, others and solely reliant on the self. The self is fragmented though and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about this and seeing my reflection in the mirror when I was studying philosophy. Nothing is indestructible but I do not renounce all hope. It just hurts no that’s not the right word, its just pure frustration with the self and not being able to get it right. When will I get it right consistently? When will I be ready to face life properly?

This is me! Self-discovery alas….

So today I am writing about self-confidence and personal freedom. Last week I did something I wouldn’t usually do- I saw an offer to take up yogapilates and I grabbed it and decided to go for it. What do I have to lose right? So I was meant to go last Thursday but the timetable was changed and instead they gave me a free class of Pilates on Saturday! I wasn’t nervous and I feel like I have turned over a new leaf. No in fact I feel like I have rediscovered myself- the person I used to be- someone who had little fear and would just go for things! It made me realise that I do a lot of things by myself and I am not afraid to do it. I am independent! I don’t need a friend, boyfriend or parent to hold my hand and take me to the class. I noticed a lot of people brought friends, boyfriends or someone they knew with them to the class and I felt proud of myself that I could do things by myself. It also made me think back to all the things I have been doing by myself. It made me reflect about all those times I did things alone- the time when I was in my 2nd year of university and I wanted to join a club so I decided to join the University Club- I knew no one but I was not afraid, I travelled in the night alone (I was crazy travelling late at night in the darkness trying to find this climbing wall!) I am reckless sometimes, but I don’t feel alone! A presence is out there and I believe it to be God! Others may call it something else but this isn’t about belief- this is about taking chances. Anyway like I was saying I met new people but the point is I started it alone.

I decided to work in America for 2.5 months and then travel for another 2 months! I really don’t think things through but I am spontaneous! I don’t plan, well I do but not meticulously! I went to America naive thinking everything will be fine without little preparation and boy did I get the shock of my life! But again I reiterate I did it alone! I was not afraid to travel alone, to meet new people. It was a great experience looking back. I have been concentrating too much on the negative and now looking back I think of the positive. I am not afraid to jump into the deep end and that is something I have been overlooking for some time! I may be slow sometimes, act silly, say stupid things and talk like a baby around family but I am 21! I like to live and learn. I like experiencing new things. I like being a kid around my family and messing about. I don’t want to always be serious. Sometimes I ask stupid questions without thinking, so sue me!?!

I have no one to travel with and I would love to travel but I have always been forced to do things by myself because no one wants to join me! I ask friends if they want to go on holiday and they say yes but nothing ever comes from it. I search and then I realise they are not serious about it! I say I want to join a dance club and they agree but again if it doesn’t meet their schedule or it is just an idea then we can’t do it. I can’t dance very well and my co-ordination but I don’t care I am willing to try which is one of the most important things! Don’t kick me out because I suck- at least I am trying which is more than most people can say! (Not that I have been kicked out! 😉 I’m just saying!) The difference with me is when I have an idea I like to follow through with it! I am not one of those people who sit there dreaming- well actually I am but I also take action too! In my first year I told a friend I want more and I want to be more adventurous and join the climbing club; he laughed. Two years later I met him again and he told me that he did not actually think I would follow through because they were just dreams! But I will if I want something.

Some people may think I lead a lonely life and maybe I kind of do- I have no husband, boyfriend, but I do have friends and they don’t cling to me, nor do I cling to them. I don’t need anyone to do something I want to do and that feels great because I can just do it!!!! I can’t express the feeling but it feels like true freedom! I looked around when I went to this Pilates class and realised I am here by myself and I don’t care. I know no-one but again I don’t care. I am here to exercise and meet new people and have fun. It was a great class! you can really work out a sweat! Anyway the main thing is that if you are alone it doesn’t matter because you can do whatever you want! What’s there to be afraid of? I am re-discovering myself and day by day I feel like I am growing in confidence! This is my chance to shine- I just hope I make the most of all the opportunities that come my way! NO MORE REGRETS! I am strong and I can do anything I want! I am happy in that knowledge because I know I have come so far! 🙂