Karin has been seeking solace in Paulo Coelho's Aleph. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Week 4, day 1

Fear factor

It started with a disastrous interview for a job I really, really, REALLY wanted. Years of preparation and studying – getting to know the subject inside out – and what happens? Twenty minutes into the interview, I fail the one question I have rehearsed a million times in my head. It doesn’t even matter what the question was. The thing is this: what I fear most is failure. Today I failed at something I should have been excellent in. And it shocked the daylights outta me. 

So off I go to Christina’s. She takes one look at my food diary for last week and the (blisteringly bad) BCA results and told me something I was to become familiar with today. I was failing at losing weight and eating healthily (she might not have used those exact words, but in my state of mind, THAT’s what I heard). After facing the admonishments of a very disappointed Christina and promising to do better with the eating plan, I shuffle off to my next session with Carolyn.

In the car on the way there, my bad vibes were obviously affecting all of Dubai’s drivers because we couldn’t seem to get off Sheikh Zayed Road. I worked my head up into a steam and arrived at the session an hour late. Carolyn poured a cuppa, sat me down and let me unload for the better part of 10 minutes (her pooches helped too). After a “hippo time” a.k.a. wallowing in self-pity, Carolyn fixed her steely eye on me, and told me what I already knew. I held the key to unlocking my misery. My fear of failure held me back from doing the one thing that would turn it all around for me. I could determine if that one moment would ruin my dream, or if my fear of failure would stop me from trying to undo some of the damage that I felt had happened during the interview. I couldn’t tell what those interviewers thought, nor could I foretell which way the decision would go. My fear of what I thought they thought (you following?) was keeping me from doing something about it. 

After that was out of the way, we settled in for some real work. We were going to work through all of me, from the ground floor up. Problem was this – I was already figuring out how to fix the interview situation in my head, so I might not have been paying as much attention as I should have been. Which Ms. Carolyn knew, of course, because before I knew it, I had HOMEWORK! Yes. The kind you do at home. The kind your teacher made you do ‘cos you were flirting with What’s-His-Face when you should have been listening to the Pythagorean Theorem. THAT kind. 

Week 4, day 2

Crisis mode

I know I’m in trouble when even Paulo Coelho isn’t helping. For the first time reading the master (I’m trying to get through “Aleph”), is giving me nothing. My geek friends at college would have called it “an existential crisis”. 

Paulo Coelho’s work has always intrigued me because it so often mirrors what I’ve been trying to achieve all my adult life: finding a sense of purpose. I lay awake at night wondering if the fundamental reason for all my issues was something as simple as having a passion in life. I used to love writing, the creative kind. Aquarius magazine this month suggests writing as a cure to a chaotic life. I believe that. I was the best essayist at school. Other kids paid me big bucks to get their 1000 word essay on Proebst done. 

Yet somehow I’ve been reduced to writing mind-numbing reports and analysis. I love the pace and detailing involved, but the sameness of it all is soul destroying. So now I’m wondering if what I’m doing as a career is what I was meant to do. The problem is this: I’m not unhappy unhappy, you know? My work is okay. I work with nice people mostly. What I do keeps me challenged. It pays well.. but... That’s just it. But. I don’t know what should come after. Hmmm…what would Carolyn do? 

Week 4, day 3

Fading fast

All my resolve is leaving like the rats from the Titanic. I find myself letting go of all the new me and clutching onto the old me with all her hang-ups and issues. Doubt and negativity, plus a dose of self-loathing and body dissing and the old me is raising her ugly lil’ head. 

Reading the other Challengers’ blogs sent me into a fit of depression so deep I got physically ill. I lay in bed with a sore head, the sniffles and aching muscles. I cancelled my appointments with Kay and Mike. I threw the covers over my head and hid from the world. Not even my daughter with her “big hugs, mommy” could get me out of bed today. 

As I lay there, a bag of Lay’s lightly salted and a Bounty chocolate on the covers next to me, I felt every single fear about entering the Challenge return full force. Not Carolyn’s calming voice, nor Christina’s screams of horror at the junk I was shovelling into my body (all in my head), could get me out of it. 

A long while later, I shuffled off to the shower, put on my (tummy controlling) swimming cossie, grabbed my hubby and daughter and leapt into the swimming pool. An hour of giggles, splashes and half-laps later, and I felt better. I realised that I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I realied that I was going to feel challenged to change and that it was the point of it all. But I still can’t help feeling an itsy, bitsy bit disappointed that I still hadn’t learned much about how to conquer my fears. And the Challenge is halfway through. Will a month be enough to make me a better me? Time will tell. 

Week 4, day 4

A light at the end of the tunnel?

Louisa and Kate to the rescue! An email promising a girls’ night out with a limousine ride, dinner and dancing might just be what the doctor didn’t order but what this tired soul of mine needs right now. I can’t tell you when last I’ve been on a proper night out. Hubby and I started the new year with the resolutions to have date nights once a month, and to spend more time with our friends, but as the year progresses we haven’t made good on any of it. Work, family and other issues have a way of sneaking away all my good intentions. So I have every intention of having a blast. I’m going to eat, drink and be merry. I’m going to laugh often, “dance like nobody’s watching” (thanks Mr. Twain!) and generally have a rip-roaring good time. After the week I’ve had I would be mad to pass this up! I felt so good after receiving that email that I shot off a couple to my fellow challengers and wished them all the best. I even rescheduled my appointments with Kay, Mike and Carolyn. Let’s go! A quote that sums it up for me this week would also be compliments of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”