Fear of Success

You are invitedAll the music that I had been practicing for weeks poured out of my brain and splashed on the floor. I was paralyzed until Mom came up and retrieved me. She took me back to my seat where I buried my face in her breast wishing I could disappear.

As I sat and watched G’daughter (teenager) struggle with homework this past weekend, I observed her paralysis from fear of failure and fear of embarrassment because she couldn’t do something. My first thought was that someone had taught her and I to fear failure. Then I realized that the opposite was true. Fear of failure is as natural as our need for love and belonging. It is not taught… it just is.

It’s interesting to look back at other times when I feared failing. The first time I had tosuccess failure make a presentation as part of a team project at work. At the last minute, I tried to back out, but the team would not let me. Then I started using a different (chickenshit) technique. Whenever I had to “perform”, I wouldn’t tell my friends, family, or coworkers just in case I embarrassed myself. So, when I was in a triathlon, I didn’t tell my friends or family…. Not even my kids… just in case I failed.

As it turned out, my performance events were successful (except for the piano recital). Over the years, I have successfully and comfortably spoken before audiences of 300 or more.

I now realize that I denied myself the pleasure of being comforted by friends and family when I fail and the joy of sharing my success.

So for my upcoming storytelling event, I have invited everyone.

Stay Tuned….

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Mother’s Day Tears

mom and dadI have no idea when my mother died. I was there. I planned and attended the funeral, but apparently I have totally blocked the date. If my life depended on it, I would not be able to remember her date of death. I’m guessing it was somewhere between 10 – 15 years ago.

I went through some semblance of the “normal” grieving process, and after awhile, I only thought about her on occasions, which became further and further apart. My thoughts of her usually occurred at some family gathering when we were reminiscing.

But yesterday, Mother’s day, the sadness exploded. The hostess asked each person at the table to introduce themselves and relate a story about their mother. My insides froze. The sadness welled up in my chest until I couldn’t talk. I was caught totally off-guard. I had no idea where the sadness had been hiding. Plenty of Mother’s days have gone by since my Mother passed, and the only time I remember it invoking sadness was when I spent my first Mother’s day without her.

As my turn approached, I had to find my voice. I didn’t want to cry in front of  these strangers. I was barely able to tell them my Mother had passed and it was not a good day for me. Naturally, that was a downer for everyone, because they had all been relating wonderful experiences about their Mom’s.  But everyone, including me, recovered.

I guess it just means that she is still with me. She is still in my heart and soul.

Stay tuned.

Failure as a Woman: I don’t Bake Cookies

Can that be a picture of me baking cookies! How’d that happen! I don’t bake cookies. All through my parenting years, I baked muffins, bread, pies, and carrot cakes until my kids said enough with the carrot cakes already. Strange, I can’t remember ever baking cookies, until now.

This all came about because my neighbor and friend asked me to join with several other women and each of us were to bake six dozen cookies for her daughter’s wedding. Apparently this is an Italian wedding tradition. Now there are times when one can say NO, but this wasn’t one of them. On top of it being the wedding of a young woman who I had watched grow up, my neighbor, and mother of the bride, had just lost her husband of 30 plus years. You just can’t say No in this kind of situation. So I had an “opportunity” to stretch by doing something new.

So, I set about baking cookies. Actually, I thought about it, worried about it, pondered it and finally got around to it. First, I looked up cookie recipes on the Internet and prepared to make my first batch of sugar cookies. The recipe called for the dough to be chilled in the fridge before cooking.  The problem occurred when I removed the dough from the fridge…. It was rock-hard which provided me with another opportunity to…. Try again.

After trashing the rock hard cookie dough, it occurred to me that I could simply buy a boxed cookie mix. The only reason this did not occur to me earlier is that I am a die-hard “scratch” cook. I have been frequently heard to proclaim that making something out of a box or can is not really baking or cooking. Nonetheless, the clock was ticking and I wasn’t really feelin’ this cookie bakin’ thing. So I bought a couple of boxes of cookie mix. My niece who was visiting for the weekend was listening to me “talk about” baking cookies but she wasn’t seeing much action, so I awakened on a Saturday morning and she had surprised me by baking the cookies using the box mix. Great… four dozen down and two dozen to go.

I went back to the Internet… got an oatmeal cookie recipe and proceeded to make the remaining two dozen cookies.

Now… I am woman, hear me roar

Stay tuned

The Siren Song of the Familiar

Here I find myself nearing another decision crossroad… to stay or to come back. I’ve tendered my notice, but am considering other work options that could bring me back to the UAE. After being away from home for 10 months, I feel a desperate need to go back and touch bases with friends, family, and favorite foods while wanting to continue this amazing adventure where something new is added to life’s buffet every day.

Going for two interviews and my husband has cautioned me against a Freudian attempt to torpedo myself. He suspects that my desire for home may be so strong that I will subconsciously fail the interviews. I know from my husband and others that home is a myth and a comfort rut. I understand that everything at home is the same. I know that friends and family are doing the same things and saying the same things. I know that time has continued at the same pace for them while I was transported to another dimension where one earth-minute is equal to 10-xpat minutes.  While the arms of my clock have been whirling by, theirs has been pretty steady and methodically plodding on. But, slow and steady can feel good. It’s comfortable.

Comfort can be like a siren song. Like being held in a mother’s arms and not wanting to leave. It’s scary out there so why not remain comfortable in our cocoons. The answer is that we miss so much in our cocoons. We are born onto a planet with so much to see, do, and experience. So, it seems a terribly wasted opportunity to remain in one place all our lives.

I will not torpedo myself. I will march forward and do my best so I can make the choice instead of them.

Stay tuned….

Becoming My Mother

20th anniversary at hilton resort and spa in rak 005Wonder how many years it takes to become one with a partner. Certainly more than five. Maybe more than 10. But, somewhere along the line after all the hurts, joys, tears, breakups, sorrows, and laughter, something begins to happen. Like most children, I had a ringside seat at the table of my parent’s marriage. As a child, I remember the major swings in their relationship, but as an adult, I began to appreciate and long for what they had.

Towards the end of their marriage, they became dependent on one another, but in a good way.  Mom’s eyesight was failing… so he was her eyes. Dad’s memory was failing…. so she remembered for him. Where one went … so did the other.  I never thought I’d say this, but Clay and I would be so lucky to have a relationship like theirs.

20th Anniversary at Hilton RAKOur recent 20th anniversary gave me pause, but I wasn’t sure why. Maybe because I don’t think about being married… I just am. Maybe because I see a glimmer of what my parents had in our relationship.  The 20th certainly seemed to have more significance than all the others. Of course, when measured against those who have been married 30 and 40 years, our little 20 is a drop in the bucket, but it’s our bucket, and we’ve been busy stuffing that bucket with all kinds of memories… birth of grandchildren, death of parents, cruises, moves, summer backyard pool parties, and lots and lots of fun stuff.

Many of those memories are saved in our electronic photo album that I searched for photos to frame as a gift for my husband. That search became quite a foray down memory lane. Pictures allow us a chance to re-experience a moment in time. To savor the joy of a grandchild’s smile while floating in the pool. Carl and Diamond in PoolTo relive a time when we danced on an anniversary cruise.

Having a compatible partner is a gift. I never want to take him for granted. I frequently tell him how important he is to me. He is my partner, my lover, and my friend. Maybe that’s why this 20 year milestone is so important. It doesn’t seem possible, but I love him more and more each day.

Happily on my way to becoming my mother 😉