Fight or Flight. There is a philosophy that an animal, when faced with a potentially dangerous situation, will either turn and fight, or turn and run. I actually tend to fall under a third category that some might call the "Deer in Headlights" syndrome... or possibly the "Pull the covers over my head" response.
There have literally been times when I have been woken up in the middle of the night by gunshots or fights, and have laid paralyzed in bed, not willing to move, believing that if I just stay right there under the covers, everything will be okay. It doesn't work in horror movies, so I don't know why I would try it out in real life, but it seems that that is my natural response.
While gunshots in the middle of the night are startling and scary, I have to admit that there are few things in the world that scare me more than Failure. I suppose we could spend some time psycho-analyzing me, sticking on labels like post-it notes saying "Fear of Abandonment" and other official sounding terms, but we can save that for another night.
When faced with a Fear-- especially a potential failure, or when a past failure has been exposed to harsh sunlight-- I tend to freeze up. I want to crawl in bed, pull the covers over my head, and pretend it doesn't exist. I notice that tendency especially when it comes to finances, and as I mentioned in my last post (about a hundred years ago-- my apologies) avoidance always seems like the best policy... which is exactly how I ended up in the mess I'm in.
As I mentioned before, the issue of my credit score came up in buying a house. Now, a Fighter would attack that credit score with everything he had, and change his situation. A... Flighter(?) would run away from the whole situation and claim that he didn't want the house in the first place. But me, I just stare at that number, and it feels like a failure the size of a house is staring back at me. I squirm under the discomfort of that gaze, but am stuck with my feet cemented to the ground.
An image came to mind as I looked at that credit score, with eyes the size of saucers. I thought of Don Quixote charging full-force into a windmill, believing all the while that it was a giant. And I wondered if maybe, just maybe, all the mountains of failure that I had always been afraid to face might actually turn out to be mole hills. I thought of other times that I had the courage-- or confidence, or rashness-- to take a swing at those giants, and how usually they really were nothing but windmills.
In this particular story, I sat down with the lender, talked through each of the failures, written out in black & white, and found a way to contest them. The final score is still yet to be seen, but there was something so very satisfying in taking a swing at that giant, only to find that it didn't fight back. In fact, the whole process was a lot easier than I thought it would be-- it was just that initial step, and bringing my fears & failures into the light that was the scariest.
It feels good. And in the end, whether my fears were founded or not, Don Quixote makes a much better story than some little girl hiding under the covers.