Sunday, April 20, 2014

Nine and a Half Hours

Nine and a half hours.  That's how much freedom I got.  Freedom from the voice inside my head telling me I couldn't, I shouldn't, I won't.

Nine and a half amazing hours in which I thought it was actually possible.  I believed it could be done.  I knew the only thing stopping me from doing it was me and my lack of discipline and my self doubt.  Which I could conquer, obviously.

You have no idea.  Or maybe you do, what do I know.  What it's like to be in a room full of people and tell them your secret and have them not laugh, and have them nod and kind of go "Yes.  That makes sense.  You can do that.  Of course!"

It's an amazing thing to have a room full of strangers just accept that that is what you want and that you can, you will go off into the bright, bold future and achieve it.

It's an incredible thing to have someone whose work you admire look you in the eye and conspire with you, believe in you, trust you when you tell them your wild and crazy plans.

It's a bold feeling.

And one that I wish I could have held onto for longer.

But like every time I have felt inspired, like every time I have conjured some self belief, like every time I have dared to think I could actually do the very one thing I want to do, eventually that voice returns.

I wish it wasn't so damn persistent.  I wish it wasn't so damn mean.  I wish it wasn't so damn reliable.  I wish it would just leave me alone.

At least this time I knew to expect it.  I didn't exactly welcome it in.  It was more like a resignation.  A tired rolling over in the bed and allowing it the space to climb in next to me.

Because this time, while I can't ignore the fucker I'm just not going to let it stop me.

Why should I?

Twenty years I've held on tight to this desire, this dream.  Fearing it was too grand, too lofty, beyond me.

But you know what?  There was not one idea in that room that I didn't listen to and nod and think, of course! why not? that sounds great!

So why the hell can't my desires and dreams be just as worthy of approval.

This time, right now I am approving of myself.  I am giving myself permission.  Because I have spent a lifetime - a lifetime - waiting for the approval, the permission of others.

And it's taken me a this long to realise that no-one gives a shit.  Not really.  Everyone is too caught up in their own doubts and insecurities and hard work and dreams to care, to really care about mine.

Who cares?  Really who cares if I go after my desires?  I've been frozen by the fear of failure for so long, but now, what the hell.  Who really cares?  

It's time to "fail while daring greatly"* rather than to not succeed by omission.

So Wednesday I went to The Gunnas Writing Masterclass with Catherine Deveny.

And I confessed to a room full of women I had never met before my most secret writing desires.  Well actually I confessed it to one and she totally blew my cover.  Carol, you beautiful conspirator you - thank-you.  What a gift she gave me.  Forcing me to get real when the fear was threatening to keep me guarded, to stop me being honest.

And my ideas were taken seriously.  And my goal was not scoffed at.  And Catherine told me I was closer than I think to getting where I want.

And that meant something.

I have no idea if she meant it.  Or even how she could possibly know.  I don't think I said anything in that class that was coherent enough for anyone to even know what the hell I was talking about.

But in a way none of that matters because it made me realise it's not important.  It's up to me.  It always was and it always will be.  Up to me.

So.  I remember a story I heard at a meditation workshop I went to once.  It brought me to tears this story.  It's the story of a woman who had always loved singing, but hadn't sung in sixty years because a primary school teacher once told her to mime in Choir, because her voice wasn't good enough.  This woman was robbed of a lifetime of pleasure, a lifetime of doing what she loved, because of one errant comment sixty years ago.  


And you can curse the teacher for being so insensitive, but who robbed her really?  Who stopped her singing for sixty years?  Not that teacher, now in her grave who would probably feel sick to think of what she had inflicted, or maybe not.  So what.  The point is, the teacher didn't, couldn't stop that woman from singing - she did that to herself.

And I do that to myself.  Every.  Single.  Day.  For a lifetime I've robbed myself of what I want to do, what I Iove.  Because someone once told me what I did wasn't writing, it was journalling.  Because I showed a friend my writing and she never told me she liked it.  Because someone I care about doesn't understand why I would want to do it.  Because I didn't win the essay writing competition in high-school (I was just a finalist).  Because I've been waiting my whole life for someone to cherry-pick me, to approve, to give me permission.

Not anymore.  No longer.

This is the gift Catherine Deveny gave me.  It is the gift I give to myself.  If you think you need such a gift, just go.

*Theodore Roosevelt Quoted by Catherine Deveny at The Gunnas

You can find out more about Catherine Deveny and The Gunnas Writing Masterclass at

Do you find it hard to give yourself permission to do what you love?

Listen to Natasha Bedingfield These Words

Image Licensed Under Creative Commons


  1. Someone once told me (whilst I was in a deep depression and thinking way to much about what other people thought) that nobody thinks of you as much as you do !! At the time I actually felt my heart cave in a little, but now that it is a couple of years on this has become my go to thought. It has saved me in so many ways, it has transformed feelings and very negative self talk about worthiness or should I say un-worthiness. It has stopped me questioning my motivations and actions in friendships. What a great relief it is not to think that if you say or do something (you perceive as) silly you will not lose something so dear to you. We live our lives in fear of being judged and you are right, these fears are in-forced by US !!! We are the bad cop and the good cop !! There was a study done on human nature and conflict, it turns out that we would rather put ourselves in danger than offend anyone. If offending people is the worst we can do. I say OFFEND OFFEND OFFEND until you get want you need, or are doing what you want in life. Face the mortifying fear, thank it for holding you back from getting in that creepy cab, thank it for giving that guy the wrong phone number, but fuck (i want to use a different word but sometimes there really is no substitute) it for controlling how we live our lives, fuck it for the opportunities lost through self doubt and judgement and fuck it for listening to the nay sayers that we have all faced. True and total self belief comes from challenge, slaying those doubt demons, be the one whom you once envied the one who just did it. I often used to look at people and think 'I can do it if they can' now I say 'I can do it because I can'. Your writing is a great pleasure to read and I feel that through it you have opened up to me more than any other time in our friendship with each other. You have offered yourself for all to judge and for me it is a gift. We are not our mask or our shell we are the goo that it is incased by, the goo of sensitivity, the goo of love, the goo of fear and of hope. Life is hard and a huge challenge, the one thing that we NEED is honesty and truth. Thank-you for giving us these things in your BLOG Kate. You are a wise and funny woman with a voice that should be heard, may that voice rise above the doubt and scream to us I am here, hear me. XXX

    1. I am so touched by your comment Sarah - so very touched. Thank-you for your thoughtful, thought provoking and wonderfully supportive words. They mean a lot.

      Now, my new favourite phrase? "The goo of love." Love it. xx

  2. I like your writing :)

  3. Great post, OSL. So pleased to hear you gained some serious inspiration and validation from the workshop. Very good for the soul. Keep doing what you're doing - you're great at it even if your inner voice wants to argue. xx

    1. Thanks Gorgeous. You know I'm one of your biggest supporters too! x

  4. I relate to many of your words Kate. Well done you for being brave and going and grabbing what you deserve ! Good luck with the writing course, am sure you'll do well x

    1. Thank-you Ing. Isn't it mad how hard it can be to believe we really deserve these things!

  5. I hear you! And I want to read more of your words. So if you don't do it for yourself, do it for your readers. I'd love to read your book. Consider that an order. ;-)
    PS. and thank you for the song... I am humming 'theeeeese words are MY words, from my heart strings....' love it!

    1. Oh! I love being bossed around by awesome ladies! Catherine Deveny essentially ordered me to do it too. And I am pretty good at following orders. Thanks for saying you want to read more of my words, that means a lot. x