Sunday, April 29, 2007

Cages of our own making

Sometimes, I am scared to take on a daunting task, not because I might fail, but because I might succeed.

Like many people, I have achieved a few things in my life time which seem, looking back, precocious. The trouble with being good at something, unexpectedly good at it, is that expectations grow and grow, and at the same time there is a nagging suspicion that this must be a lucky streak. A fluke. Two flukes, three flukes. A dozen. And with each fluke, each double six, each head that isn't a tail, the pressure builds.

I have fluked too many things. And now I find myself scared to roll the dice, because other people seem to believe that I can guarantee a double six. They appear to be convinced that my dice are loaded. That it's all in the wrist action.

Sometimes I look at my blog stats and am grateful that I am not an a, b, c or even d-list blogger. I can't imagine the pressure of feeling like people are expecting a brilliant blog post every time. Of feeling like I will be judged on the rubbish I write. Or tied to an 'identity'. I like that as Stray I can be lots of people. Silly, serious, poetic, blunt, frivolous, funny and boring if I like.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a cage built out of my achievements. I am aware that this sounds pretty wanky. But I want to say it, because I suspect that I am not alone - that most of us walk around inside these invisible cages. What if I fuck up my second child? What if I only have one book inside of me? What if I can only take beautiful photos of beautiful things? What if they only love me because they don't know me yet?

A perpetual anxiety about being Found Out. Nudity dreams. Hesitation before raising our hand to give the answer.

What if, until now, I have just been lucky every single time?

What if I roll snake eyes?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh but darlinc, it IS all in the wrist action :0) But as for you rolling double sixes for other people maybe its just by being you, all those shades and hues that make up the whole, that gives those who come in to contact with you feeling that your dice are loaded as they often as not feel like they're given the prize, the winners cup, the answer to a problem. None of those may actualyy be true or all of them might on the very odd occasion be true; either way it is absolutely not fluke that you are you and that is someone precious and yes even prized by those who are fortunate to come in to contact with you be that the you dazzling with skills and technicalities or smiling quietly and lightening someones heart.
Wrists and nakedness now there's an image to conjure with:0)
What if's can freeze or free I think I prefer the second and it is always a choice you know. Shit might still be shit but it's our perception of how far up the ankles it is that counts.
( a non blogging D-W)

29 April, 2007 17:19  
Blogger Ms Melancholy said...

What a really touching post, Stray. I imagine there are many, many people out there nodding their heads as they read it. Now, as for those nudity worst one is where I am nude on the toilet on the stage in front of the whole school. Yep, it's as horrible as it sounds! Fear of being 'found out' for sure. Thank you so much for voicing it.

29 April, 2007 21:49  
Blogger Stray said...

Hey anonymous ... I nearly wrote anonymouse, which filled me with the giggles. You are right as always. I shall avoid the double entendres and chew on those words for a little while. I particularly like the notion that sewage is in the eye of the beholder.

OMG Ms M! That sounds utterly traumatic! Awful awful ... I shall start a collection to get you some more therapy! I'm glad it's not just me then. Phew!

29 April, 2007 21:53  
Blogger Dale said...

O yes. All the time. At one time in my life I wanted nothing so desperately as to fail -- completely, spectacularly, and irrecoverably -- so that no one would ever expect anything of me ever again.

(Tong Len practice has helped me with this, more than anything, btw)

30 April, 2007 04:36  
Blogger Böbø said...

Yay Stray, glad you out of Hospital and back in the blogging groove with a classic lovely post.

It's funny how we usually only fluke things that we've studied, practised, and others think we have a knack for.

I have nude dreams too. But boy nude dreams. They don't make me anxious. But I think I'll keep some boundaries around them. Trust me, you'd thank me for that.

30 April, 2007 09:27  
Blogger Caroline said...

I read this post yesterday. It made me cry. I read it today and found it inspiring. Think yesterday was a bad day.

I understand. I feel the same way. My invisible cage protected me, but just recently I have taken a step out from it. And I'm scared.

Some time soon. Any day now. Everyone will realise that I haven't really got a clue. I'm kind of just bluffing my way along. But I hold my hands up high. And wait for everyone to point and laugh .... I'm waiting ...

But at least I am experiencing. And not hiding any more.

30 April, 2007 10:21  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Stray: I believe that you are brave, as if this post alone doesn't confirm that. Brave people are not immune to the fears you describe, but they try to move past it.

And I'm delighted that you're back from the hospital, without causing my migraine to return.

Also, if it's all right, I wanted to remind you and your readers about the GBA(s)FC, which kicks off May 1st over on my blog. Perhaps we can look forward to a Stray entry?

30 April, 2007 11:48  
Blogger Stray said...

Dale - you're right that meditation, just being able to acknowledge the cage, notice it, not rattle the bars or beat myself up for caring, has taken me forwards by a big step ... being able to see the fear for what it is - not scared incase I can't but scared incase I can is strangely liberating. And then, being part of a group (thank you) where it's ok to voice these things, where people are interested in each other's cages and generous in describing their own, is just really cool!

Bobo - oh you are very wise. It's peculiar how often I have worked 15 hour days in the run up to one of these amazing flukes ;)

Thanks for sparing us the nude dreams!

Cas - sweetie! I am sorry for contributing to your tearfest ;) I promise I haven't been going inside your head - though I do think sometime other people's anxieties vibrate in a way that make our own come to the surface. The italian deal (hey everybody who doesn't read Cas's blog - an italian publisher has bought her book! ) both reassures you that it's not a fluke - your book is actually fab - and piles on the pressure.

Whilst you've got your hands up like that could you help me rehang my curtains? I can't reach and they've come off the rail. Thanks!

Maht-in-the-Moon thanks for calling me brave :) I liked it! though I don't feel brave at all ... except I spose I must be just a little bit because I got butterflies and nearly didn't post this incase people thought I was an idiot ... and then I did it anyway! Yay!

I would love to do your acronym, if only I knew what it stood for. Return with details and I shall post about it and sharpen my pencil :)


30 April, 2007 12:05  
Blogger Badger said...

I think I am the opposite. I don't really have any achievements. Except for mimicking animal noises very well and embarrassing myself. I never completed any degrees that I started because I was too scared I would fail them.
I never for a minute thought I would succeed at anything. Which ultimately meant I never did.

I am scared of never succeeding in a relationship, so again I don't try because ultimately I know would fail. I even fail at trying to be a good friend.

I feel like I am in a very different cage to yours. It feels more like a box and I can not see out.

30 April, 2007 17:30  
Blogger Stray said...

Badger badger! That is just not true - you get your magazine to print every single month - despite being surrounded by lunatics and people who don't have a clue what you do! Lots of people would aspire to that - I think you only don't recognise it as such an achievement because you didn't dream about it when you were a baby badger. It can be hard to see how clever something you do is when you do it every day :)


30 April, 2007 18:04  
Blogger The Moon Topples said...

Stray: It is a short fiction contest, and full rules are up on my blog. Last time, it was a lot of fun, and I'm hoping I've made some improvement over the first contest to make it even more smoothly-run and pleasurable for all who care to write.

30 April, 2007 21:22  
Anonymous Natalie said...

Oh oh oh oh! I identify completely with this post, Stray. So much so that I'm not going to say anything in case I just repeat what you wrote.


01 May, 2007 15:41  
Blogger Stray said...

Mr Maht - I'm definitely short. If the shortest person wins then I'm a dead cert.

Natalie - Thanks for stopping by to nod and mmmm in the right places. It's much appreciated. :)


02 May, 2007 00:17  
Blogger Bitterroot said...

Stray, I think this is one of the most insightful blog posts I've ever read. I do know exactly what you mean but I've never seen this problem expressed so eloquently.

08 May, 2007 01:05  
Anonymous Hydrocodone said...

ZbA7XV The best blog you have!

02 November, 2007 12:32  

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