At the beginning of our school year, my little six year old sat weeping in the car on the way to school.
“I don’t want to do my spelling test today.”
“What if I get my words wrong?”
Fast forward two months later, and there I sat cross-legged on a mat at ZOE facing a ZOE mum who was encouraging me to answer the question she’d just asked me in Thai. “Just have a go,” she gently prompted but the only words that came out of my mouth were the English-kind, “I can’t. What if I get it wrong?”
There was a certain amount of hopelessness that I felt in the pit of my stomach that day. Not just for me, but also for the mother-in-me who doesn’t quite know how to get it together enough to help her child to let go of the “perfect-or-nothing” mantra either.
That day as we drove home, I had to make a decision.
Going forward… Change must come.
And so I asked myself:
Was I prepared to fail in order to succeed?
Was I ready to break off the chains that held me back so many times?
Would I make a change, if not for myself, but for my children whose little eyes watch my every move?
On the inside I wept. I was so sorry for all the time I’d wasted holding back due to my own crippling insecurities.
I was sorry about the neighbours who I never really got to know because… what if I said something wrong?
I was sorry about the people cooking food on the side of the street that I feared would laugh at me for saying the wrong classifier when I ordered.
I was sorry about the hairdresser who wanted to engage in conversation but instead I hoped they’d just think I was a tourist…
The list goes on.
In the end, there was no point feeling sorry any longer. I needed action.
The last few weeks have been hard. Not in the sense of going through hardship.
But I have been chipping away at my Thai language studies just about every day. With my formal classes at a language school mixed with a casual teacher who comes with me to do ‘day-to-day’ tasks a few times per week, I am … very slowly (and I mean VERY slowly) learning and building confidence.
Mentally, I feel exhausted. Most times I have words swimming around in my head that I don’t even know what they mean, only that at some point that day I had learnt to say them…
and I have been known to ask my teacher, “What did I just say to you?”
What’s been the biggest shift though is that I am beginning to laugh at myself more and loosen up just-a-bit. This week with my teacher at home, we have been laughing so hard my cheeks hurt as she has been teaching me some new vocabulary.
But actually, it’s felt okay - even when I’ve got it wrong.
It’s small, baby steps forward and I will fall down. But I am determined, to get up and try again.
I’m hoping that if there’s something holding you back this week that you too will be able to find just enough courage and strength to take that baby step toward your goal.