‘Why me?’ That was the first question that came to my mind when Gisela (Hausmann) emailed requesting I review her book ‘Naked Determination‘. Not to say I wasn’t happy and overwhelmed. But nonetheless it nagged me till I told myself, if she was willing to trust me with this opportunity, then in turn I had to have faith in her trust in me.
The second question was why call it ‘naked?’ The title of the book was interesting. What did it signify? My first impression was ‘vulnerability’. Perhaps it meant ‘drawing on strength from within when one’s back is against the wall and you’re most vulnerable,’ or ‘the raw power to make a change, break down barriers – to fight for survival’.
As I read the book, to an extent, I realised I was right. I really liked the fact that it didn’t dictate. It wasn’t a self-help book but a simple testimony of a life well lived within one’s reality. These were personal experiences and what ‘she’ had learned from them. Within the confines of oneself, every chapter seemed to open a window for me to look out. As I read, I wondered.
On so many occasions I’ve had a great idea – I’ve let my mind run wild with it, building on it, thinking of different possibilities and challenges, looking at options to overcome those challenges and seeing it blossom into a successful initiative. But immediately after, I would automatically allow the ‘secondary thoughts‘ to creep in and shake my confidence. An avalanche of free flowing negativity would trash the great idea! Sometimes I gave in while there were times when I got partial success – perhaps because I hadn’t applied myself totally.
When leading on the creative economy / entrepreneurship portfolio in my previous organisation I was planning on an award ceremony. I was hosting the evening and wanted my immediate boss to give the keynote address and vote of thanks. When dressing up for the evening, I met my super boss in the loo. I gave her a quick update about the event flow. She looked at me and questioned why? Why was I asking my boss to make the keynote address when I was managing the portfolio? I was taken aback. I had thought that was protocol. But for the first time, she made me realise that I didn’t have to – that was old school thinking. The evening was mine, the award ceremony was my idea, it was my initiatives over the years that had culminated in this platform. And so, I accepted that I was just too ‘afraid to ask for my dream.’
For the past ten years, my husband and I have been nomads, moving to a new city every 2 – 3 years. We’d recently relocated again – our firm belief was that we had done it twice before so this would be no different. But it was! Things didn’t work out the way we had hoped – we had no friends, I lost my job, we were struggling but neither one of us wanted to acknowledge that perhaps we hadn’t thought of ‘logistics before making this move!” Now we’re trying to move on from feeling miserable and changing our outlook to make this a better place.
On numerous occasions, either at personal or professional gatherings I’ve refrained from ‘putting myself out here.’ I’ve been afraid that people will judge me. I kept to the background letting others take centre stage. Unfortunately that led to people assuming that I was either snobbish or didn’t have anything to contribute. They looked through me. I had once confided to an ex-colleague that speaking in front of people scared me. She looked right back at me and said, ‘what makes you say the other person isn’t as scared?’ Hmmm, I hadn’t thought of that. Then why did I always ‘underestimate myself so much?’
When interacting with a bitchy ex-colleague or a painful relative, I’ve always tried to refrain from being ‘equally bitchy’. I would tell myself, be mature and don’t stoop so low. My response to them would inevitably be a balancing act between my head and heart. Fear of losing face would mean that many a times I didn’t say what I really wanted to. They did though – they made me feel terrible. But I, couldn’t ‘overcome that fear‘ and take the plunge. Sometimes I smiled and let go – telling myself, ‘what goes around come around,’ while at other times I’ve beaten myself silly just thinking of what I should have done. And on those rare occasions when I’ve spoken up, I’ve felt on top of the world.
I’ve been trying to lose weight for the longest time – I’ve followed a strict diet, abstained from too much fat or sugar, exercised diligently – yet I haven’t achieved my goal and carry the burden of excess weight. I have lost weight in between though – no, not when I’ve set my mind to it but when I’ve had the motivation from within – there was purpose and the need to fulfil a deep seated want. I’ve often wondered why – was it because I was afraid? Afraid that I would succeed! I would loose weight to rediscover the real me – the one who wants more from life and is not willing to play second fiddle. Did I fear the ‘real me’? Was I using the excess weight to camouflage my need to feel attractive, sexy? Perhaps I should find out, I know I ‘can definitely do it!’
Naked Determination was insightful – it made me relook and reinterpret my life. When I look back now, I too have in my own ways achieved, been successful, failed miserably, loved wholeheartedly, made a fool of myself, gotten what I wanted, lost my sanity, forgave myself, had the willingness to start afresh. Gisela was right – the book was a reminder that I openly acknowledge I too have had a good life and there was so much to learn from my own experiences. Connecting the dots felt so much easier.
As the universe conspired and knocked on my door, I’m glad I had said yes! 🙂
Naked Determination, Kindle Edition is available on Amazon – click here.
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