What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?
Well, there’s a starter for 10. I’ve chosen to write responses to these prompts (from the blog Sunday Scribblings) to help me on my mental health journey, and this one feels like a real biggy considering that a good deal of my anxieties and mental barriers involve fear of failure. It would have been easy for me to take one look at this prompt, think “nope!” and instantly abandon ship. It’s like there’s an alien quality to the idea that I “would not fail”. It feels like the more insidious and twisted brother of “what three wishes would the genie grant you?” - an abstract, fantastical concept built on tempting but unachievable hopes, luring me in with a siren song of positive thinking leading to personal growth, to gain, to cosmic shifts making the world a better place, only to howl with laughter and come and pick at my body when I’m dashed against the rocks.
That was a bit melodramatic but that’s how it gets inside the old noggin sometimes. If I was talking this through with somebody rather that writing it down, I’m pretty sure I would have prefaced that last sentence with “Sorry”. But something I recognise is that I need to stop being so hard on myself and recognise the things that don’t need apologies.
In the spirit of things, I’ll try and answer the question.
The first thing that crossed my mind was that I should probably give a pageant-friendly “end global inequalities” sort of answer but much as I’d like that to happen, I wouldn’t know where to begin. One of my critical inner voices then started berating me for not being proactive and politically minded enough. Another voice answered that it was because I am lazy and selfish, and don’t really care about anybody outside of myself. A third voice argued that I care too much about other people, that I need to focus on myself. The other two started screaming about my rich, white privilege, how I should put myself in the shoes of a homeless asylum seeker, or a terminally ill young parent, or, or, or…
“SOMEBODY WITH REAL PROBLEMS!”
It’s so tiring and frustrating living with an inbuilt constant guilt trip, even when you’re trying to get better.
A voice: “Probably not as tiring and frustrating as BEING OUT ON THE STREETS AND HUNGRY AND A SURVIVOR OF VIOLENCE AND FLEEING ACTUAL PERSECUTION...”
OK then, I think, if I’m nothing but selfish I’ll lean into that and pick a totally self-motivated thing to attempt. Rob a bank and get away with it, or something. Break the law, do something totally wrong.
My heart’s not in that answer.
I suppose I would need to be in a better place within myself before I can focus on anything else. That would be my wish. My attempt to do something. Make myself better.
“Oh yeah, charity begins at home, does it? WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE ACCESS TO--”
Shhh, harpies. They haven’t really shut up, but I feel like writing this has turned the volume down on the voices just a little bit. It might be progress.
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