This is a post I made on my FB page, and it got such good response I figured I’d copy it here, elaborate it a bit and then actually tell you how it actually ended. These honest stories from the heart are important, I really do feel like sharing and expressing, in hope to rekindle more people to challenge themselves in their daily lives.
So here it goes.
For the past few years I have been challenging myself, to develop as a person and to be as limitless as possible. I collected all my courage, and every time I was faced with an uncomfortable situation, thing, event or animal, I would go for it. Because fears and discomfort are what limits and pushes us down, to face those no matter how big or small really forces one to grow and learn!
And as soon we start doing that, we realise how many tiny stupid fears and "moments of overthinking" we have.
I have faced my fear of deep water, of jumping into deep water from high up, my fear of driving anything with an engine (in India, I might add, some of the craziest roads in the world!), fear of speaking to strangers about weird stuff, fear of speaking into a microphone in front of hundreds of people without any preparation, etc...
And on the other side, you see it's not so bad, because the fear is only coming up to the task itself, and people and you don't really judge you as much as you build it up to be in your head, haha!
Then it becomes easy. Beautiful, even.
It has made me learn and grow tremendously, everyone should do it!!
To add to this I have started to be much more open about private things that might be perceived as awkward, instead of walking around worrying I would say stuff like why I’m insecure at times, how uncomfortable a situation is, that I ate too much garlic, or “can we PLEASE talk about something with substance? I really don’t like small talk!”
It may seem harsh to some, but saying things as honestly and as “unfiltered” as possible is perhaps easy to misunderstand, but is great to make one realize that everyone are okay with whatever it is you find so uncomfortable. And if they aren’t, well, then they’re just not your kind of people.
(but please, don’t go saying all sorts of mean things to people, try and see the bright side of things!)
You do you!!!
Yet I have a few discomforts left (and perhaps discover new ones as I go deeper), and one of these is….
the fear of speaking French.
Sounds stupid, I know, thank you.
I took French in 4rd grade, private lessons, and learned quite quickly. Then I went to France with my dad a couple years later, and had forgotten nearly everything. He, and I'm not kidding, pushed me and pressured me FOR YEARS after of how disappointed he was that I, a 12-13 year old girl, could not be his guide in France in their native language. What!? Who does that??
Both my parents throughout 8-9th grade were asking me how French class was going, and in the end I felt so pressured I was petrified every time I attempted to talk.
So I understand most of French (they speak French and I speak English to them and it works), I can basically read in French, but I cannot respond because my grammar is awful and my fear of myself and everyone judging me is so great that I cannot connect the different words together...
My throat closes up, voice gets quiet, shy, and mind runs wild and crazy.
Every time I try I blame myself for failing, and that blame is overwhelming…
So here I am, for only ONE day in Paris, and It's time to face my ridiculous fear xD
Wish me luck.
So, how did this story continue?
After visiting the Louvre (photos at the bottom) I went off to explore more of the city. Challenged my French buying some vegetables and fruits, making it through the street stand without a single word of English. Trust me it was not easy…
Then I went to Moulin Rouge, just out of curiosity, and through answering in half English half broken French the guard explained to me about the shows, how to get the email address to apply for a job as a dancer, etc. He did it in French, I proudly understood it all and he complimented my pronunciation despite the grammatical errors. Hurray!
Further on I attempt to buy bread and more stuff in French, going up to Montmartre and exploring the neighborhood, the touristy areas and in search for more things to see.
The rest of my day is not really relevant to the story, so fast forward to next morning;
I’m standing at a crossroad, bag at my side, holding a sign to hitchhike further on my journey.
I had hitchhiked from Antwerpen in Belgium to Paris, so of course I was gonna continue the same adventurous way!
After a drunk man gave me a penny thinking my sign meant… I don’t even know, and standing dancing for a few more minutes trying not to pee myself, a car stopped with a handsome French man.
He could give me a ride to the Airport because he lived nearby, great! I could hitchhike on further to the big road further north-west from there!
Getting in the car, putting down my stuff, and I realize this man, despite claiming he spoke a little English, didn’t know anything. At all. Except perhaps yes and no.
Anxiety grabbing me by the ribs, I sat there trying to calm down, explaining that I did understand French but didn’t speak because of my bad grammar. He said something about the road, asked if I want a shower, and I sat there almost petrified just mumbling some weird answers and shaking my head.
He continued conversing after a (what seemed a looooong) awkward silence, saying he sometimes picked up hitchhikers, and that he just came from work. I had just settled in the increasingly warm seat, and asked him with the best pronunciation, where he worked. He did say a few words I could not comprehend, so I just made a weird question mark face and he had to try explain with simpler words. I felt better now, that he also perhaps felt handicapped communicating to me, even though he said he lives in France, works here and doesn’t really need English!
And so, the conversation sparked!
The more difficult words I could just tap into google translate and try tell him, puzzling together a cohesive sentence, without a doubt with quite bad grammar but I didn’t care anymore! I felt so alive, so full of enthusiasm, as the conversation got more personal, deeper and “in my realm” I could feel even more comfortable.
He was telling me about how he is 37, doesn’t really like his job but is divorced with 2 kids he only sees one day a week because he works so much. And yet, he has to provide for them despite having so little time. He has been working since he was 18, at construction sites and such, and in a few years he hopes to be in management. I was asking him why he wouldn’t change his life, that it’s not too late, that he really should try and at least find time for his kids or something else he loves doing! Otherwise he will just be mad at himself for wasting so many years.
He kept saying I could say so because I’m young and alone, and he is stuck, and I insisted nothing is yet hopeless. Perhaps he could change his life when the kids were 18?? No, he answered, by then I will be manager and with very good pay, why leave now?
So, when will you rest?
When I die, he responds.
The conversation got very deep, and I found myself understanding words I never even learned, intrigued by his view of life and feeling deeply sorry for him. He was unhappy, but comfortable in his unhappiness. The discomfort of leaving the job even part time seemed greater than the suffering it caused him now.
He asked me if I wanted to come for a coffee, that he had to sleep in an hour after working night but he would put me on the road afterwards, but I was in a hurry to get to London and asked him to drop me off.
I have him my card and a hug, waving goodbye. Went to the bathroom in the Charles Gaulle airport, and walked onwards towards the big road to find a place to stand and hitchhike.
After that I felt free to speak my French, free of the pressure me and my parents had put on me, free of the fear and discomfort, and I got to London later that night.
We so often get stuck in our old ways and patterns, we get comfortable doing the same route, we don’t even notice the potential that lies behind all the bullshit and trauma we carry around!!
Out of fear, out of discomfort, out of pain, one is born anew. Different.
And a more joyful you!
And speaking of fears and discomforts - how scary isn't hitchiking or picking up a hitchiker, for many nowadays?! Haha, even there it might be a challenge.
I have faced so many challenges on my travels this summer, but more on that later when I can gather my thoughts.
Right now I’m back in Stockholm teaching circus to kids and doing some gigs and modeling, trying to enjoy a bit of “calm life” before the next big thing.
Have a beautiful day,
Love and dance <3
P.S. If you’re reading this, man who gave me a ride (since I did give you my card), make sure you make the most of your life while you can.
.... and, you know,
all the other things that would interest you if you're a fan, if you like my writing, or if you are a pontential employer/client for whom it is important to know if I am a republican or if I eat bacon every day.Fortunately for you, I am/do neither. Bacon is not healthy.