Wednesday, 21 December 2016


Almost every day I have the same conversation with frustrated parents.

We know she can do it. She holds herself back. If she just believed in herself she could go so much further.

And I sympathise. Genuinely. Because I also have total faith that their daughter has more ability than she's showing but is being held back by some innate fear.

That's where my job comes in. The company I work for spends its days building children's confidence to Become Fearless. To be able to enter the world as adults with absolute faith in themselves to be successful, to make their own dreams come true, to ensure that no doors shut in their faces and that- above all else- they are not held back by themselves.

Then this week somebody said the same thing to me about a famous sportsperson. That they had read that his own mind holds him back because he's crippled with self doubt.

And again I nodded along, sharing their frustration that fears and doubts could hold somebody so talented back from their full potential.

Then Dale and I went to see Moana.

Before the film started there was a Disney Animated Short. A short film.

It was, in my humble opinion, the best they've ever done.

I'll not give too much away but the basic premise is that a man sees the potential negative consequences of everything, and therefore does nothing. Out of fear.

About half way through, Dale leant across and whispered 'it's you.'

I tipped my head to the side, taking it in.

To my absolute horror, I realised he was right.

Now I like to think I've done a lot of fairly brave things.

Not earth shattering things, but things that certainly changed up my world and took confidence as a result.

I was the first in my family and one of the only people in my group of friends to go to university, for example. I was therefore the first to move out. And I did it totally alone.

I went to Italy alone aged twenty to live with a family I had never met.

I once left my job, broke up with my boyfriend, sold my car and moved to France.

I worked as a live in nanny- packing my bags and moving in with people I had only spent an hour with (or in a couple of cases only spoken to on the phone).

The thought of the interview for my current and previous jobs were so daunting I almost called and cancelled about an hour before I was due to be there.

But as I get older, rather than Becoming Fearless, rather than fully understanding that life is too short and ridding myself of these worries, I seem to be becoming more and more fearful.

And I think a lot of that has to do with 2016.

I know we can't blame everything on 2016.

(I'm fairly sure I've heard people in Sainsbury's muttering bloody 2016 because the Christmas queues are long. The Christmas queues in Sainsbury's are always long. Nothing to do with 2016.)

But seriously this year.

I normally write one blog post a month.

I don't write it for any other than reason than I enjoy writing and it's good to keep up the practice.

I am not, and have never been, intending to go viral. I never intend for these to be for anyone other than my mum, my Grandma, and my best friend Jiminy Cricket.

But this year one unintentionally went almost viral. (It went viral enough that a friend saw it posted in a group that I had nothing to do with by a person I've never met. But not so viral that Very British Problems and The Lad Bible shared it.)

Anyway, it resulted in me being sent truly nasty words by people who have never and will never know me. (If I do ever meet them in person, I've got my speech planned. You know, like Charlotte in Sex and the City plans what she would say to Big if she ever saw him again? She does, but that's TV. I'd say the chances of me meeting Shaz off of Facebook in real life are slightly less likely. The chances of me realising it's her, even less so.)

 So I lost my nerve a bit, and missed a few months this year.

Partly because of those nasty words, partly because of an increased fear of insulting somebody- again, thanks 2016.

Seriously, isn't it so easy to offend people now?

I have shoulder length brown hair with little flecks of blonde in the ends, and I'm sure that insults somebody.

It's got out of control, ladies and gents, and it's putting me on edge all of the time.

I try my absolute best every day to be the kindest person I can be.

I put kindness above all else, and I value it so much in other people.

But now that it's offensive to braid your hair, to be a woman without a child, to post your engagement on social media, to marry a celebrity, to write an honest article about your relationship, to choose to feed your baby in a certain way, to donate to certain charities, to enjoy certain TV shows, to live your own life and concentrate on your own priorities, to be demonstrably sadder about things that have happened to you than about things that have happened to somebody else...I can't keep up!

I feel criticised, embarrassed, and sorry for something I do almost every day because of this out of control fashion to be offended.

And it means I write less. I say less. I do less.

And it's stupid.

Because of course when I truly think about it I know it's nonsense. I know that life's too short, that you can't please everyone, that there's nowt so queer as folk.

But it's hard to keep that at the forefront of my mind all the time.

One friend told me that I need to read less. Stop looking at social media, stop reading articles, just live.

I did that for six weeks, and it was a simpler, happier time, I'll give you that.

But when I returned to social media, oh my, I cannot tell you how many people had had babies and got engaged.

And I love that stuff! I don't want to miss out on wonderful news like that.

Plus I do have super friends on there who I wouldn't speak to every day without it but who do make me smile all the time.

One such friend pointed out yesterday that pizza doesn't please everyone, and if pizza doesn't please everyone then how on earth can I expect to?

Excellent point.

But again, difficult to keep in mind all the time.

Chalene Johnson, fitness guru and all round hero, in my eyes,  highlighted it when somebody wrote on her account that she found her annoying and that she would be deleting her.

She highlighted it to make a point that nobody is liked by everybody, and that's okay. She also said that it's good for you to erase the annoying people from your life. So that girl was doing the right thing in deleting her if she found her so annoying.

Another good point.

So my question is this: how can I possibly be enthusiastically nodding along with parents in frustration that their child is holding onto their fears, and working tirelessly to communicate to children that letting go of fear is going to catapult them into this incredible new world, when I am holding myself back?

If I so strongly believe that letting go of fear is what unlocks an even more incredible you, why don't I just do it?

So that, lovely readers, is my new year resolution.

I am going to Be Fearless in 2017.

In everything.

Work, Home, Life.

I am going to take a leaf out of the book of the latest Disney Short character (spoiler alert), and stop avoiding what could be wonderful just in case it goes wrong.

I have total faith that I can do this, and I must do it, to be a truly positive role model to these children I'm trying to inspire, right?

And what better way to kick it off than with a wedding?

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