“You can’t. You think you can, but you can’t. You need to step back. Stop thinking you can. Things might not just work out. You’re asking for trouble. You can’t do this.”
If the knot of fear I can feel in my chest and the weight of self-doubt in my gut could speak, this is what they would say to me in unison.
With less than a week to go before I start to pay a mortgage on my first ever home, all kinds of self-sabotaging thoughts are waltzing right out of my subconscious and to the forefront of my mind.
Buying my first home is a lifetime dream come true. It is something I have fantasised about for many years. It is a milestone that is incredibly important to me, because autonomy and independence are two things I value greatly.
In my late twenties, my boyfriend and I agreed to save up and buy a house together. Our goals and values were aligned. Less than two years later, we both realised that our values and goals were not aligned. As my desire for a home had grown stronger, his had weakened and dimmed. Suddenly my gut instinct that something had not been right for a while made perfect sense and I didn’t feel crazy anymore. Unfortunately, feeling sane isn’t quite the release when you also feel heartbroken.
Following the feelings of shock, disappointment, betrayal, anger and despair at everything I had envisioned for our future suddenly evaporating into thin air, I somewhat impulsively made an offer on a two bedroom flat in South Manchester. The offer was accepted, and suddenly I was navigating the whirlwind of property buying on my own.
Now that has all passed and I’m a few days away from completion. There are no more admin hurdles, there is nothing left to do, there are no more chances of anything going wrong. It’s happening.
All my life, I have let fear get the better of me. I have let myself come so close to truly realising my dreams and then retreated back into my shadow at incredible speed.
When I was 14 years old I wrote a plot synopsis and three full chapters of an action & adventure vampire novel. Both of my brothers read it and excitedly told me they couldn’t wait for more.
Somehow that positive feedback scared me more than anything and I never touched those drafts ever again. I put them all into a plastic wallet, put that wallet into a box, and shoved the box under my bed, where it stayed for many years. Occasionally I would take it out and look over everything feeling a deep yearning to tell the rest of the story, but I never did.
At 24 years of age, I moved to the other side of the world and made a fantastic life for myself from scratch in Melbourne, Australia. I found a place to live, a job and a huge network of friends all by myself. I built a very happy life there, and nothing went wrong. Everything worked out fine.
Now here I am, in my early thirties and in Manchester, UK, feeling like moving ten minutes up the road is ridiculous, too big a dream and destined to fail.
Why don’t I think I can get what I want? Why do I think me living out my dreams and things being okay cannot co-exist? Why do I find so many things to worry about? How did I become so utterly dominated by fear?
My worries about the flat have ranged from planning in great detail what I would do if armed robbers stormed in through my front door to how I would handle it if the flat turned out to be haunted.
Why not just let myself be at peace? Why am I so afraid of my own power?
That is what lies at the root of all this really. Power. I am powerful, beyond measure. We all are.
I have used my power to overcome so many challenges in my life, to forge a way forward for myself, to grow and change and learn. I’ve used it to create too. My power has created the beginnings of a vampire novel, it has created a life from scratch in a faraway country and it has enabled me to walk away from a relationship that is no longer meant for me. It is not possible to do anything of those things if you are powerless.
Now, I’m using my power to establish myself in my own home.
And yet, I’m feeling the pull to shy away and creep back into my own shadow. Why?
I think I know why. I think it’s because the shadow is familiar. It feels safe and comfortable. I know the shadow better than I know the wide open space of fully standing on my own two feet. That wide open space makes me feel exposed and vulnerable.
I am afraid of stepping into the spotlight of my own life; I am afraid of stepping into my own power.