Since my last post I have been thinking more about my perfectionist tendencies and how they have held me back in life. There was so much I wanted to do, to try, but the fear of not being perfect at it first time made me not give up…but not even try in the first place. So here is my (non exhaustive) list of things I have not tried, but wanted to, because I knew I thought not be perfect at it..
1. Sing In Public
My grandmother was an amazing jazz singer. I grew up watching musicals. My brother and I used to sing all the duets from Disney musicals together (in the safety of my bedroom and my pacifist brother who wouldn’t have criticised me ever…well not back then). I love music. I also love to sing….but you wouldn’t know it as I have a strict no singing in public motto. I know I don’t have a beautiful voice like my gran so I just will not sing in public. Yesterday Miss 12 & I attended a Grease sing-a-long and she sang along with gusto (as did the rest of the audience). I remained tight lipped in fear someone would hear me. The only people who have heard me sing are the girls (and probably their father who wisely has never even mentioned overhearing me sing). When they were babies I would sing them “You are my Sunshine” and every now and then I have a sick child crawl into my arms and demand I sing it again.
This one I think I am slowly beating. But given as how I have stalled in moving on to the next week with the Couch to 5km app I think it is still fear holding me back. I spent much of my teenage life living in a small beach side town in rural NSW. It seemed everyone was athletic – except me. I also had incredibly weak ankles growing up and they ached all the time. Also I am almost blind in one eye … my glasses are supposed to correct both eyes so I have the same vision with them on. Great in theory, but in reality they can never get it just right and I have almost no depth perception. I can’t see shallow holes in the ground. Which meant whenever I had to run around the school oval I almost always hurt myself. My foot would find a hole and my weak ankles would collapse and I would be unable to walk for a week. I now run on a footpath I know. I know which square is raised slightly. I know because I run laps up & down this 200m path 3-5 times a week. But still fear is holding me back from moving to the next level. I am afraid that I won’t be able to do the longer runs (it is a run/walk to recover/run again – repeat program slowly building up to running) so I stay on week 1. Even though when I started my run was more of a shuffle and now I am running. Even though I am covering more ground every time I go out (in the same time). Even though I now have great shoes that support me. Even though I have nothing to loose. I just can’t seem to do it.
3. Finish My Work
This is a big one. This one still wakes me up at night in a cold sweat. This makes me ashamed to still be alive (I know that sounds horrible, but I can’t help but feel if I was dead my clients would have been better off). I still have unfinished client jobs. Including several weddings. I had friends offer to take over when I was in hospital. I had retouchers and gifted photographers willing to take over all my client jobs. But I was certain I would get better. I feared what the clients would think of me for not doing it myself. I feared how the photos would turn out if I didn’t do them myself. Then the longer it went on the bigger the fear got. Now I can’t look at my work without having a panic attack. Its been over two years since I shot my last wedding. Now I fear having to contact my clients (who have I guess long since given up) and tell them I can’t do it. Or that I can do it. That I have done it. I fear it all. None of the photographers who initially offered are in contact with me any more. In fact not a single photographer (Including those I mentored, took into my home, gave their careers a start – not for any money) remained in contact with me. I am scared of putting myself out there. I am scared a client will find my blog, see I am living again and accuse me of being a horrible person. I am scared you will all judge me harshly for it.
4. Press Charges
Recently I discovered in NSW their is no statute of limitations on child sexual abuse. In the 18 years since I was abused not one single person (councellors, psychiatrists, psychologists, womens health workers, doctors) have informed me of my right to press charges.I had been linked to an article about how shoddy the system was in some places in the world in regards to the time limits. Mainly as something like child sexual abuse, especially as it is commonly a family member, is almost never addressed when the person is still young. I know that had I been told this ten years ago I probably would have declined. It was still too fresh. My mum & I were barely speaking again. It was too much for me to deal with. I was terrified. After everything I just assumed it had been too long. The information that I could still go to the police and report it was overwhelming. I was so incredibly angry that no one had given me the option. Now I have the option but fear is again holding me back. My mum is completely unreliable…she wavers between refusing it ever happened, to showing me the piece of paper from DOCS that says there was “insufficient evidence” to do anything to telling everyone how she tricked him into admitting it. None of those things happened the way she claims they do (she likes to rewrite uncomfortable history so she is the hero, never the villian). I am not in contact with any of the people I told in high school. The school counsellors never reported it. My only other possible witness is my brother. He is just 18 months younger than me and lived in the house at the time. The last time it was discussed with him was 17 years ago when my dad grilled him and he claimed to know nothing (the guy walked around the house naked and masturbated in the loungeroom in the afternoons when we were home…if my brother didn’t notice there is something wrong with him). While I can remember exactly some moments I couldn’t give an accurate timeline. Fear of upsetting my brother (my 12 year younger brother…after all it is his dad I would be going after), fear of the police laughing at me and telling me I have no hope. Fear of having to come face to face with him again (I have had to do that enough given he is my brothers dad). Fear of what my crazy mother would say. Fear of having to have a real conversation with my brother about what happened. Fear that people will assume I have some ulterior motive (the popular one in my family is “she is looking for attention”). Fear of having to relive something that already haunts me everyday.
Fear of the not perfect outcome is holding me back from so much. It’s all well and good for me to post a picture of my messy bedside table…even to talk about not being able to sing in public. But even if I can’t press charges or finish the work myself…I need to find some way of moving forward without being paralysed with fear that it might not turn out “right”.