When Scary Mary Shows Up

Stiletto Shoe

I refer to Scary Mary as the one that shows up when you are about to do something that is out of your comfort zone.

Sometimes she even brings her mates!

Scary Mary will often show herself when you are taking a step into the unknown or doing something that is a leap towards a goal that is for the greater good.

Often we play safe and keep on doing things the way we know.  We will continue on our journey in a way that is comfortable.  If we keep doing the things we are good at, then we don’t get found out by Scary Mary.

Conversely, this is generally the time when playing safe is a luxury we can ill afford.

Quite often we can find ourselves plunged into change that we hadn’t planned for.  And never one to miss an opportunity for a holiday, this will be when Scary Mary turns up with her suitcase.  She will bang on for hours and hours about ‘pitfalls’ and ‘shoulds’ until we want to jump into her suitcase and hide.

What can be really confusing though is when we really do want to make a leap. And then out of nowhere, we are suddenly overwhelmed with ‘what-ifs’.  I can only assume that ‘what if’ is a distant relative of Scary Mary that shows up when she is busy.

It is generally the case that the thing that terrifies us the most is the thing that ultimately pushes us on to something better.

I say this with confidence as I know that this is certainly the case for me.

The phone call we don’t want to make, the meeting we don’t want to go to or the event that we are about to attend – the one that scares the hell out of us.  I’m sure you can think of more examples.

A fear of failing, looking daft, supposing this happens, supposing no one is interested, I really shouldn’t be doing this, this is absurd and so it goes on.

Been there?

A fear of failure and success in equal measure.

At times like this and when we feel this way, it is very hard to imagine what might happen if we just allow ourselves to show up.

That we might actually get the gig or stumble upon a true gem.

I always work on the logic whenever I am about to do something ‘scary’ that whatever happens there will always be at least one benefit to having just ‘shown up’.

I used to be incredibly shy and a roomful of strangers would send me in to a tail spin.  And although I do still have a quiver in large groups (small groups are my preferred arrangement), I’ve got it covered now and will always truck up to events, often by myself.

I’m sure even the most confident of people have to give themselves a pep talk in the toilet sometimes.  I comfort myself with this fact.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m also a realist and there are times when the best advice would have been to stay home and wash my hair but these times are generally the exception rather than the rule.

One of the biggest examples for me of ‘showing up’ was being dragged along to a business networking event by a dear friend many years ago.

To say that I was terrified is an understatement.  It was one of those events where I was scared to shake hands with anyone for fear of sweaty palm syndrome whilst at the same time praying that no one would ask me about myself.   I  stayed terrified during the whole event despite having a great time.

And I went again and again.

That event was probably one of my defining moments.  I met people that day who I consider to be among my closest friends now and I have to say that the people and business owners I have met, and continue to meet through networking, have taught me more than I have ever learned anywhere else.

Equally, there is generally always humour around at times of a wobble.  This means you get to sit in the loo having a pep talk with yourself while giggling at the same time.  It is when we are trying to act normal that we find ourselves doing or saying the most random of things.

If you happen to find someone that also finds it funny, you’ve probably got yourself a friend for life.

I once went to an interview which involved climbing lots of narrow stairs. So narrow that I had to walk sideways.  A bit like a crab.   Naturally, I wore my ‘bestest’ high heels.  Just as naturally one came off and bonk, bonk, bonked down the stairs in slow motion past the interviewer.  This meant that I very unnaturally had to hop down the stairs in my suit to reclaim the shoe at the bottom of the stairs while trying to make a ‘normal’ conversation about it.  That was interesting.  I drew the line at making a Cinderella crack.

Stiletto Shoe

Sometimes you just know that you aren’t the person specified.

No amount of over-planning could have prevented that one.  There is always an element of fate in our day.

And I think sometimes it’s the over-planning that is part of the problem.

Because shoes will always be shoes and they are unpredictable.

Scary Mary is also unpredictable.

She comes and she goes.  She will rarely share any wisdom or advice.  She will be clean out of ideas and she will certainly never warn you against wearing stilettos.

And no matter how fearful I may be, I will always show up.

As the great saying goes, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you keep getting what you’re getting.

It is so easy to think of reasons why not but it is generally only the reasons why that are worth pursuing.

I know that I am not alone in this.

These are the types of conversations that people have with each other all the time.

In fact, my daughter expressed concern recently about attending an event.  I shared with her the fact that it is quite usual to be a little bit nervy when we are going somewhere new or with people we don’t know.  That grown ups feel like that sometimes too.

And I would be a bad mother if I didn’t warn her off the stilettos wouldn’t I!

So that’s me.  How about you?

Do you glide into new situations naturally and with ease or do you skid in with your shoes glued on and a comforter in your bag?

Nicky

PS No offence if your name is Mary by the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36 thoughts on “When Scary Mary Shows Up

  1. My mummy often hears Scary Mary in her head telling her she can’t do things… She often tells her to ‘jog on’. It’s that fight or flight scenario, we’d rather give it a go and end up Pete Tong than not try at all 😉 #KCACOLS Nice shoe btw 😉

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  2. Ha! The shoe incident made me chuckle. So did you get the job!? I agree – the scariest moments in life can often be the defining ones because we see strength in ourselves that we perhaps didnt know was there before. My husband always says to me ‘whats’s the worst that can happen!?” And you often think of the worst but actually it usually turns into the best! Glad I’m not the only one who gets scared! #KCACOLS

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    1. I didn’t. Neither did my shoe! It wasn’t for me anyway – not just because of the stairs! Yep totally agree – the worst that can happen is often the time misspent worrying. We have all been there! Thank you for commenting Alex.

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  3. I really related to this – my ‘default setting’ is crippling shyness, and if I don’t force myself to go to a lot of different things it just creeps back on me, I find. These days my biggest problem is time rather than being scared to get out and about, which I never thought I’d say! x

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday!

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    1. Wow, I would never have said that of you Jess. You have a very pubic role, I bet you are a natural when you need to be. And, less time as you say does speed up our procrastination over such things. Thank you for commenting and co-hosting.

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  4. All good advice. I like your quote: if you keep doing what you are doing…A favourite of mine and one that I tell my kids is: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. I like your analogy of Scary Mary. It’s a way of thinking that we only have to conquer her and we’ll have achieved something! I find new things quite daunting, despite being quite a confident person. I try not to over think new situations, as they are almost never as bad as you think. Alison x #KCACOLS

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    1. It is very true – and, of course, not my own I hasten to add Alison. That’s a lovely thing to tell you kids and it’s so very true for us too. I don’t think it matters how confident we are, we all have our little wobbles and it really is never as bad as we may think. Thank you for commenting.

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  5. I felt exactly like this when I started my blog, it was really scary. There were so many things I was worried about. But now that I have been doing it a little while I am much more confident in what I am doing x
    #KCACOLS

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    1. So did I! I actually think that starting a blog is hugely out of the comfort zone. It took me ages to get going but once you do, you are hooked. It really has thrown up some amazing learning and is definitely somewhere to do your thing and grow as you go. Hope you continue to enjoy it and thank you for commenting.

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  6. I used to be so incredibly shy. Someone would approach me at work, or I’d have to present something. I’d go red. I’d then go more red because I knew I was red! Luckily I’ve gained confidence through being forced to deal with tough situations!! #kcacols

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    1. Bless you, that’s tough and so annoying. I think the worst thing about going red is when someone tells you that you have – especially when you hadn’t realised. Do you find it happens less now? Thank you for commenting.

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      1. I normally feel my chest and face burning. Yes I do but think that’s just a case if gaining confidence and caring less! The worst thing to do is worry as it makes it worse. Apparently blushing I’d endearing…

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      2. Aah yes and I think you have hit the nail on the head. It’s caring less! And yes worrying about worrying is never a good route. I don’t have symptoms and am unaware of going red if I do unless it’s a real shocker and every alarm bell goes off and it feels like your head is going to explode. Then I know have!!!

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  7. I definitely have my own Scary Mary. In the past I have even paid for events and not shown up out of fear. I’m much better at pushing myself now though I do always prefer to have somebody familiar with me. I’m not sure that will ever change! #KCACOLS

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    1. Oh no Emilie that’s a tough one, I bet you really beat yourself up over that. I agree it is also nice to have a buddy to go along with but there have been occasions where I’ve had to go along by myself and, as they say, practice makes perfect. But we have all done the weaving our way out of things because we couldn’t find the courage that day! Thank you for commenting.

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  8. Hehe so true! The thought of your shoe falling off down the stairs made me laugh! For me it depends what it is, if the new situation is something I’m excited about then I will usually do well and thrive in the nervous excitement but if it’s something I’m slightly unsure of then I might say the wrong thing or even just end up leaving! I think nearly everyone can relate to this post in some way though. #KCACOLS

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    1. It was very amusing, I could have done with having a real belly laugh at the time but it wasn’t happening. I think you are right about the levels of nervousness and I guess we have our cut off point for when we know it’s just not for us or not working. One thing is for sure though and that it’s quite normal to feel like this. Thank you for commenting.

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  9. God how I hate scary Mary and her way of making me feel s ares and crap. At school, I had to pick the phone up and put it down a few ones before I’d actually talk because I was scared. Now I’m fine but I think that’s only because of age and experience. My eldest is scared of new things and I always try and tell her it’s fine to be scared but don’t be scared of failing as we all do Yahtzee. It’s how we pick ourselves up that matter. Great post #KCACOLS

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    1. Oh we’ve all done the phone thing I’m sure. I know I will have done in my younger days and perhaps not so young. Age and experience do tend to make things less scary. It’s probably why the elderly say precisely what they think with no filter. Bring it on !

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  10. Scary Mary and I have had a long relationship… love hate I guess because as scary as she can be I love her because she pushes me to new heights. Great post! #KCACOLS

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  11. I can relate to this. I am painfully shy, but you wouldn’t know it because I try so damned hard to hide it. I’ve never been “one of the cool kids” and I nearly always feel at least a little out of place. Or like I don’t really belong anywhere it with anyone. But, like you, I keep trying and I usually refuse to let my social anxiety hold me back. I’m really not great at going to events on my own though! #KCAOLS

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    1. I think everyone hides their shyness to an extent but don’t forget that it can be endearing too so don’t beat yourself up over it. We can all shine in our comfortable situation and that place is very different for all of us. At least you are still getting up and going. Thanks for commenting.

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  12. How did I miss this on KCACOLS? I absolutely love this post! Honestly, it is the story of my life (as you can tell from my latest post…This fear of showing up sometimes). You hit the nail on the head…That line ‘Because shoes will always be shoes and they are unpredictable.’ Is as memorable as ‘I carried a watermelon’ or ‘The bad stuff is easier to believe’ (spot the film references). I struggle in large groups and have to just make myself ‘show up.’ I had one of those ‘break the ice’ with humour moments in Jury service last week when all 12 jurers were sitting in the waiting room staring at anything except each other in stony silence until I said. ‘I feel like we should do a mexican wave or something to break the ice’. This is one of those posts that’ll stick in my head. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I don’t know Jane! Glad it resonated and we all get the fear but it’s how we choose to deal with it that matters. I hope you enjoyed the jury service. I loved it when I did it years ago. Very rare to hear anyone say they are doing it now. I’m wondering how the Mexican wave went down! Thanks for commenting.

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      1. They all laughed and started chatting, (.thankfully). It was like I had opened a release valve or something for all of the pent up tension. Jury service was ‘interesting’, eye opening, but heavy going…Makes me realise how blessed I am in life and circumstance.

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  13. Love this. I like to pretend I’m someone else when Scary Mary turns up. I tell her if she’s looking for me, I’m over there on the other side of the room hiding. I’m now Confident Clarissa. Rampant Rachel. Fearless Fay. Whoever I can be to get me through the next few minutes or hours 🙂 Great post. #kcacols

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