My biggest fear is that I won’t be accepted. I have a deep-rooted need for approval that can actually be quite destructive. It has been with me for as long as I can remember. The recurring nightmare I had as a child was of me trying to do something and failing, watched by those I cared about, who made their disappointment evident. They did this not by telling me and shouting and making a scene, but by the tone of their words, by the look in the eyes, and by the way their body language told me they had given up as they walked away and left me on my own. I pleaded with them to try again of course, but they would turn, shrug their shoulders, cast their eyes downwards and then walk away together, leaving me behind.
I have moved on from that dream, although adulthood has just made it a more sophisticated plot, with the same theme. I am on the outside, not quite fitting in and doing things which cause others to laugh and reject me. It is strange in that this does not really play a part in my waking life, but I think that has a lot to with the fact that I have learnt to guard against it. Chameleon-like, I will try to make sure that I blend well into my surroundings. I am fairly successful at this and so I avoid exposure, but in the same way, I am often not seen at all. That throws me back to childhood once again, when after two years of being in the class, the teacher asked me if I was new!
I am not sure where the original fear came from, but it has plagued my life in ways, holding me back and preventing me from letting go. In others, it has kept me safe, making sure that I was always holding the keys as it were. In some senses I have not let people get too close and have always kept my independence. I have been prepared for the rejection that could come, and anticipating it, have moved away from the threat at times. I have taken calculated risks, and have learnt to judge people well. I have developed a good understanding of my own behaviour, as well as watching closely the behaviour of others.
Those who read my blog will see my struggle written on the pages here, and my attempts over the last while to understand and address it. This has been the place where I feel most like my true self, but my expression here sits poorly with the person I am in other areas. This has caused conflict for me, as well as frustration and upset and more fear. If I allow my thoughts to run, I can feel the effects of my exposure so keenly that I become sick to my stomach with worry. All over something which has not happened. As a result I try to retrain my brain and derail those thoughts, I take measures to protect myself and throw myself again into being the person I would like to be.
Finding myself here, is no coincidence. It has come from the unconditional acceptance of one person and is a direct result of the relationship that I am in with him. He was the first person to really start to see the real me. He saw the mother, the teacher, the wife, the daughter, the friend, and the lover, but something about his perseverance with them, something about the way he saw deeper than that, allowed me to begin to let my guard down and reveal what might lie beneath. Of course, this led to the uncovering of the submissive and that has been a large part of revealing who I really am.
Not because who I really am is a submissive; that is just a noun that I attribute to my lifestyle choice, but because being submissive to him has allowed me to feel the acceptance that I needed to express myself, in a way that works. It has allowed me to be pushed past some of my fear, because I am safe to explore with him. I can share my failings and my vulnerabilities and can break down some of the defences I have thrown up to keep myself safe. I am able to tap into a calm confidence that he has helped me to find, and to harness and focus the fight and the passion that is there within me.
So entering into this relationship with HL has given me the freedom to be a person who may be judged, but is not afraid of that. It has let me put into perspective the thoughts and opinions of others and to break some of what held me so strongly to the approval of others. It has been enlightening and thrilling to become known on such an intimate level and it has allowed me to take risks with others, without feeling so keenly that fear about what they might think.
But my progress to date is still minimal. The behaviours and beliefs that have formed a highway to channel the thoughts through my brain, is still the route that is easiest and most familiar. It is still a route that I will return to when under pressure or when I perceive a threat. The path we are walking now requires conscious effort because it is new and has not yet become my default. I know how this works and I know that if I keep on trying and forcing my thinking down another road, it will become a thought process which becomes more easily taken, but for now in everyday life, I still hold back a lot.
Fear of exposure is interesting when I look at it within this context. There are some very real threats which would have a potentially devastating impact for me with regards to material things such as livelihood etc. It is easy, therefore, to focus on this and allow myself to hide from the fact that it is not just about that. Although it is a part which must be considered, take that away, and I would still fear the judgement and rejection of others. I don’t like that. I don’t want to be that person and I struggle to admit that I would allow others to have that control over me.
In the event, I would likely fight. I would likely deal with it. I would likely adapt and move, on but despite that, it is something that crushes me and pushes me back. It allows me to be weak in the way that fear does. It is my soft spot and I am drawn to others who have the confidence within themselves to be who they are. I continue to dip my toe in the water, sometimes more than a toe, knowing that I am unlikely to be washed out of my depth. And being part in, and part out, means that I feel a little dishonest. Not really here, but there.
I shape what I show and I shape what I tell for an audience in a way which makes me think less of myself. I feel ashamed that I hide who I am because even though it is what I need to do, I think that I would do it anyway. I don’t think I would front up to the their judgement, their disappointment, their reaction at the fact that I had deceived them all this time. It makes me uncomfortable to think of that so I choose not to, and that allows the fear to keep a hold on me. It gives it space to sit and breathe and lie in wait, choosing its moment to stretch out and remind me that it is there.
In writing this I also know that I take a risk. It may change what people think right here. I have exposed my weakness and allowed them to see that I am not what I want to be. They may think me less real, less authentic and they may see me as I do myself, as being worth less than them. I aspire to be different. To make inroads to conquer my fear and say, what the hell, like others do. I want to say, here I am. Take me or leave me, but somehow I seem to taper that with, I hope you like me and if not I can try to change. In finding a safe place in a safe relationship, I have been able to make a start, even if very small. I hope to continue this and I guess being able to write this is progress, even if it is just a very small step.
Prompt #352: Fears :What is your biggest fear? This could be spiders or heights or it might be something completely different like getting sick or never doing something you have always wanted to do. What is it that you are so scared of that you maybe you even find it hard to talk about.