Monday, 28 July 2014

if i could turn back time

So the prompt was 'if you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?'. Do you know how difficult that question is? I mean where do you start...the world? Would I change events that have had a negative impact on the world: slavery, the Jim Crow laws, apartheid, the angry gene in men that makes them want to fight everyone and cause wars? Or do I concentrate on family history: change the decision that was made to uproot my ancestors from their Caribbean islands to move to the UK to face a life of isolation and bigotry? Maybe a national issue: change the house price situation between London and the rest of the country? How about personal moments? Changing my decisions when choosing universities, friends, boyfriends, learning to drive, jobs, when I had children?...oh my, this list could be endless - I think you get the picture; there's a lot I could change.

But okay, okay, I need to get a grip here, think more outside of more boxes.  The thing I would really like to go back in time and change is my fear...more specifically my fear of taking risks. Yeah I'm going to be a bit selfish and change something about me; because I honestly believe my life has been constantly affected by my lack of confidence and sometimes crippling fear that has stopped (and still stops) me from taking certain paths in my life.  

I don't know which point this fear stepped in and I don't believe it was always there. But there seems to be a moment when I just lost all of my confidence. Now people who know me really well will roll their eyes in disbelief, because, you know I'm a teacher 'n all and I don't stop for breath at social gatherings. But it's not about that, it's about those risks that people take in life. Since forever I have loved to set myself challenges and goals: I dreamt of being a writer, I hoped I would become a British Olympic athlete, I planned to live and work abroad once I qualified as a teacher, I wanted to stand up to colleagues who were treating me unfairly, I wanted to challenge a mother who has abandoned me for no good reason, I want to be brave and take the steps to make a new career change, I want to be able to take my laptop back to the shop and get the Windows smart card replaced because it didn't work, I want to apply for a job without deciding that they will not like me before I have even answered the ad,  I want to believe that I am a good mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend. However my lack of confidence has put paid to all of that.

You'll notice the earlier goals are bigger than the latter; I was a kid - writing poetry, articles, plays, stories everyday and a young athlete who represented their school, county club and country before I was 17, then a teacher who had been promoted by the end of my second teaching year. But these doubts in myself as a youngster grew and grew into adulthood and now, at 42, I struggle to understand why I insist on beating myself up like this! Was it being the only black kid in a white school so I concentrated on fitting in rather than being an individual, but was never fully accepted? Was it that I didn't receive the guidance from those around me, because they didn't have the experience to provide the right answers? Was it that I was just too lazy to push myself so it was easier not to try? Is it that I am afraid of failing so why risk it? my doom-monger voice pipes I just not good enough?

Who knows? The question was 'if I could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?'. Well that's my answer. What would you change?