A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about my fear of change. It is definitely a fear that I'm working towards not being afraid of. Eventually. In time. But today, there is another fear that I'd like to discuss. And it's something that I've been dealing with from a very young age .. my fear of making decisions.
The earliest memory I have of being hugely indecisive happened when I was a pre-teen, I believe. My dad and I decided to go to a double-feature at a local drive-in theatre. On the way there, my dad this great idea of instead of buying popcorn and chocolates at the theatre to eat while watching the films that perhaps he and I could share a pie instead. My thoughts on the matter were along the lines of 'Pie=good' ... until he asked which type of pie we should get, blueberry or cherry? I am 30 years old and to this day, I can still feel the panic that I felt that day sitting in my dad's truck.
Blueberry or cherry?
It really shouldn't have been that difficult of a decision. Everyone has some opinion over which they'd prefer, but at the time that this happened I don't think I could have even worked out which I really would have preferred. All I could think about is which flavour I thought my dad would prefer. Because what other people think is at the heart of my fear of making decisions. When I was 11, I felt like my opinions and preferences were less important to those of the people around me. And that one stupid question over pie, of all things, absolutely paralysed me and I went with my stock answer. 'I don't know. What do you want?'
And that thought I didn't matter didn't go away in a hurry. It was decades before I felt comfortable going to Subway because there were too many decisions to be made in the space of a minute - 6 inch or footlong, which type of bread, which type of meat, if I had cheese or not, if I had the sub toasted, the type of vegetables, the type of sauce. Honestly, it was enough to give me panic attacks.
And while it has been a problem for much of my life, I think I'm ready to take back this fear. It's taken me many, many years, but I've finally reached the conclusion that I matter. And what I think and feel and prefer to do is as important as anyone else around me, whether it is friends, family or complete strangers.
So (hopefully) no longer will that question 'should we go to Nandos or Pizza Hut' cause me to be speechless. Neither will the 'what shall we watch tonight?' or the thousands of other completely useless and unimportant decisions that I've been ducking out on over the years.
What have you been afraid of for so long that you're now ready to give up on?