I was somewhat of a disappointment to some of the people when I was in my late teens and early twenties. With both professional acquaintances as well as personal relationships, I made promises I didn't keep. My word, obviously, was not my bond. I was not a woman of honour. I had my reasons, yes, but the fear of anything was surely no excuse for some of the broken agreements.

When I was unemployed for a while, I signed up with an agency for temporary assignments. One particular assignment stands out because it was one that I didn't take. I couldn't for the thought of having to take a bus and travelling by myself to a new office filled me with dread. So I took the easy way out and declined. I would rather say no; I would rather walk away; I would rather give in to my fears than face them head on.

It's an old, tired story that played itself out time and time again.

Courage sees it through. Having courage means that I should have at least tried. And there were times when I didn't even try, when I walked away, ready to retreat to the safety of my home and bedroom, afraid to face the world. Shyness can be crippling, to be sure, for I can certainly testify to that.

Even now, many years later, I am sometimes overcome with a fear and a dread that momentarily cripples me. There are still times when I have given in to my fears, afraid to move forward. And at this age -- when I obviously should know better -- it is very distressing, not to mention regrettable, that I still choose to walk away from a challenge sometimes instead of staying and seeing it through.

After all these years, have I not learned anything? After all these years, and not knowing how many years there may be left in my future, why do I still choose to walk away? Isn't it better to try and to have failed than never to have tried at all? Isn't that what everyone tells us? Isn't that what I've always known all this time but did I listen? These days, the fear isn't so crippling, but even the hint of fear, or a feeling of dread, is sometimes able to stop me in my tracks. It only takes a moment. And then I make my decision It's incredible how decisive I can be when it comes to walking away.

I have tasted success. I have overcome hurdles in my life. No, it wasn't easy and of course they were not meant to be easy. It was sometimes tiring mentally, emotionally or even physically. And I suppose that is what it's all about.

Early on in my life, I allowed myself to give up too easily. There were times when it seemed that it was all for the best. For there were times when I allowed others to define who I was and what I was capable of. Was I too fearful -- or was I too lazy -- to find out for myself?

Find out now.

I do know who I am and there is still this fear within of what others might think or say. And so what if they think or say anything? Would the universe cease to exist? Silly girl.

And who is it really that I don't want to disappoint these days? Others or myself? I have placed too much emphasis on what others might think of me. Perhaps I've been deluding myself. Perhaps they wouldn't think anything at all. Which would be worse, I wonder.

And so I sit in this fantastic wonderland, looking out at the faces of the naysayers. And the only one I see is me. If there are any others, they are hiding themselves very well and I think that I hear their voices in my head. If there were any naysayers in the past or even in my most recent past, that is where they belong.

One step forward, two steps back. Or two steps forward, one step back. So what? Find out now.




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