Patterns : REQUIEM

Therapy Sesh 2 : REQUIEM. 

10am on a soakin' Glasgow morning. My hands are red raw from the wind and rain being pelted at me as I walked to the building where I vent to my lovely counsellor. 

We sit down, she puts my jacket over the radiator and begins. 

How do I want to start this week? Is there anything in particular that's been bothering me? 

IS A CAT A HAIRY BEAST?! 

Yes. Academic work. My course. I'm terrified of failure, to the point where I procrastinate or learn other things to avoid having to face the difficulties I encounter. We extrapolate the timeline of where this may have come from. 

16 years old. August 2008. It was a Tuesday. 
Exam result day. 
I opened mine on the street because we bumped into the postie as we left. 
Higher Physics. My favourite class. No Award. 

THAT CAN'T BE RIGHT I AM NOT A FAILURE THEY ARE LYING ARE YOU KIDDING WHAT THE HELL IT - and suddenly this noise of sheer anguish rips from my throat and fills Morris Crescent with its terrible presence. Tears scorch their path from eyes to chin. I crumple the embossed certificate as I stomp back to the house, tearing it into tiny pieces as I ascend the stairs to my room. Bilious rage. Noise. Sadness. Disappointment. All directed from me to myself. 

I sit in the shower, water pattering on my shoulders. My dad asks if I'm ok. No response. I don't want to talk. Failures don't deserve to talk I just - 

And do you think that's where perhaps your fear of failure comes from? That it began then, when you thought you had succeeded and then this was the outcome? 

Yes, absolutely. I know that this is where it comes from. That I remember clearly the feeling of disappointment and I dare not experience it again. Which leads me to avoid things I may not be fantastically good at and instead put my efforts into excelling at what comes easier.  

I'm not good at accepting criticism, have a  fear of failure, and facing difficulties fills me with dread. Why wouldn't I want to avoid these at all costs? 

The counsellor brings up an interesting point - the things that come easier to me still have their challenges and that I find happiness in overcoming these. Why should the other tasks be any different? I didn't speak a word of German, but now I do. I didn't play drums, but now I can with ease. I can't sing well, but sang in front of around a thousand people in Berlin last July.  Why should coding on a computer be different to how I handle these situations? Is it because languages, music and creativity are distractions to 'real-life' that I just happen to 'be good' at? I must allow myself to enjoy things I'm not immediately good at; that's just something I need to work on.  

 

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