The World is My Oyster

ComicGirlIconOne of the things I love most about having a holiday is that for a few days at least I get to stick my head above the parapet of my life and check out what’s going on ‘out there.’  It’s always the time of year when I desperately feel like making changes to my life and vow that when I go home I won’t slip back into the same old routine.  But inevitably I do and before long I end up jaded and bored with things. Oh to be able to re-grasp that summer optimism!  My life is essentially a well-worn routine, my habit web binds me tightly, so for me to make changes means an enormous effort to make even the smallest difference.  But I recognise that deep need in me to break out of the rut, so for my own future happiness I have to make these changes or I’ll just end up going around the same old same old for ever and ever Amen. Pfft!  So I have a plan…

‘Time for me to break my cover.
Time for me to move ahead.’
Richard Ashcroft  – Break the Night With Colour.

OysterShellWhilst I was ambling along a beach one evening last week I nearly stood on half an oyster shell.  It’s not something I’ve ever seen on a UK beach before – even though I know they live in the waters off our island.  So I picked it up, washed it off in the sea and brought it home.  I’ve never eaten an oyster but given the chance I would. And that’s part of what this oyster shell means to me – opportunity. The phrase ‘the world is my oyster’ fascinates me. Not only is it the first line of one of my most favourite songs ever (Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s Welcome to the Pleasuredome), but it also encapsulates the potential each one of us has in our lives.  Some oysters are just for eating, whilst other species yield the most amazing pearls.  But whichever one you open, it’s ours to enjoy, just as the world is ours to enjoy. So why don’t we? Or more specifically, why don’t I? Sometimes I feel like I live in a perspex box, I can see the outside world, but I can’t touch it.

Why do I sometimes intentionally stop myself from enjoying life?
Why do I constantly hold myself back or sabotage my efforts to succeed?
Why don’t I feel I have the right to do well in life?
Why do I walk around believing that other people are so much better than I am?
Why do I shy away from doing or trying new things?

Oh there are 101 questions about myself that I want to tackle. So I’m adopting this oyster shell as my ‘mascot’ for the next year to remind me, like the words of the the FatFace tagline life is out there and it’s for enjoying. Any changes I want to make will not happen unless I make them and the days (and nights) at my disposal are there to seize. I am the only person who can hoik my life out of the rut it’s inclined to fall into and make the changes I want to see.  There is no Fairy Godmother, there is no Gok Wan, there is no shouty Life Coach, I have to be my own Godmother / Gok / Coach.  Yes, I battle with food and I am sick to the back teeth of it. Yes, I battle with my self-confidence and I wish I could leave that behind.  I want to be a confident person and not feel stupid or that I’m hiding from everyone because I feel like a second-class citizen. I want to feel like I’m getting the most out of my life and I’m never going to do it if I let another year slip by without making the changes I want to see.

The thing is, it’s going to be HARD.  It’s as much a mental battle as anything else and a change in mindset. I don’t want to become self-obsessed, but I have to start taking an interest in myself.  Far too many times I end up going along with what other people want without considering whether it’s right for me.  I am essentially a shy person with a fear of the unknown and I miss out on so many opportunities in life because I talk myself out of them. I can list a page of things I have never done because I’ve been too afraid of failing at them. Writing is a case in point.  Why can I blog and write FanFiction until it comes out of my ears?  Because no one is judging me.  If I write something that requires someone to judge it for quality then my confidence runs and hides and I start procrastinating and talking myself out of it.  It’s the same with anything else, give me an exam or a test or ask other people if I’m any good and I will shy away from doing it.  It’s my biggest fear in life to be judged and found wanting and anything that helps me over that massive hurdle has to be of benefit to me.

In making changes I’m not talking about doing anything particularly radical, like upping sticks and moving to the other side of the world; I just want to be ME, the me I know is inside, but keeps getting filtered out by all sorts of head stuff that gets in the way. I know I can bloody write, so why is being judged on it such a massive block? There’s an entire blog post on that!

Of course, journeys and changes are best done with friends.  Anyone else up for the ride too?  No strings, no hoops to jump through, just that commitment to ourselves that this is the last year that we find ourselves longing for what could be, stop the excuses and make strides towards making it a reality in our lives, whatever it is.

So, with my oyster shell placed firmly in my eyeline, it’s time to keep hold of this holiday feeling and make a promise to myself to make the changes I want to see. Think I might need some help from Frankie Goes to Hollywood first…

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3 Responses to The World is My Oyster

  1. Vip says:

    WOW Rachel. This really inspirational stuff. We usually are out own worst enemies. I wish you the best of luck. I am going thru something similar myself. My whole life has been changed in the last twelve months. I am finally starting, I think to put myself together. I fear I may not have a lot of time left.

    I usually read this when I am down and it always cheers me up. Often incorrectly attributed to Nelson Mandela, this always fills me with positivity.

  2. Judi Sutherland says:

    The writing thing; I think all creative people must feel like this. It’s a kind of bipolar view of ourselves: somebody tells us they like something we’ve written and we are on top of the world. Next day, somebody else doesn’t like it or won’t publish it or is indifferent to it, and we’re on the floor. While it is great to have cheerleaders, we also need to be told when we are not really achieving the effect we hoped for. I am sorry to say I think this roller-coaster life is normal for writers. We have to “meet with triumph and disaster / and treat those two impostors just the same”. Resilience, they call it.

  3. Graceann says:

    I understand what you’re saying, because I’m living it, and it is a day-to-day struggle to leave my comfort zone so that I can experience life fully.

    I’d like to meekly suggest a thing or two, just as someone who has observed you for several years. When we first “met,” you were living a fairly quiet life, blogging at LiveJournal, working at the church and while you had moments of confidence, you got down on yourself fairly often.

    This may be a case of your focusing on how far you have to go, rather than how far you have come (which is a very long way indeed). Think about how you felt about your life and your world in 2007 (when we first encountered one another) and how much more you’re experiencing now, and I mean really delve into those memories, and I think you’ll see where I’m coming from.

    Having said that, I’m in the same nicely fitted boat with you, and I’ll happily join you on the journey toward having a more deliberate and *lived* life. I’m certainly not the same as I was in 2007, and I’ve come a great distance. For this I am thankful. That life is a process of learning, and that learning doesn’t end until we do, is something that is a bit scary, but exciting, too.

    I try to do one thing each day that I haven’t done before. Usually small things; sometimes large ones. One day it’s a new needlework stitch; the next day it’s a walk home by myself from Hyde Park (this doesn’t sound like a big deal, but when you consider that just a few years ago my agoraphobia and panic disorder kept me almost completely housebound, you get how huge this is). Just one thing a day. Your mileage may vary, but I’m glad you’re taking the trip. Take me with you every once in a while. :-)

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