A Voldemort, by Any Other Name, Would Still Smell Like Fear?

Overcoming fear of success Change or Die
I love being Kurt’s strong, hard-working “frontier wife.” Success comes in the form of what I am able to do with this body.

Today is the 3rd and final part of these posts about success, failure and the 21 Day Sugar Detox.

I PROMISE that tomorrow and Friday will be SHORT and SWEET!!

I’m also sharing some photos of a few little successes in my life to go with today’s post.

Some of you recognize my posts for the creative essays they are intended to be and just enjoy the ride of reading and waiting for the conflict resolution which you know will come at the end. Others like to weigh in as the piece unfolds, each comment meant to inspire, encourage and embrace me. I really do have some of the most wonderful readers on the internet!

So…Voldemort (the name synonymous with fear itself) is the answer.

All right, that’s a little overly simplistic, but follow my logic here.

Giving voice and definition to fear (like saying the name Voldemort in Harry Potter) is the beginning of deconstructing it, of breaking it down into its component parts and addressing them, demystifying them, making them into small, manageable pieces.

Overcoming fear of success Change or Die
I will always consider choosing Kurt my greatest success.

It starts by understanding whatever I fear, like the generalizations of “fear of success” or “fear of failure.” It moves to the specifics related to each, for example “I am afraid of being disliked if I am too ________ (pretty, wealthy, successful).”  So it makes the thing to address not some broad overarching “fear of success” generalization. That generalization might make us feel both good and hopeful, because we temporarily get some comfort in the knowledge that we’re in a group of “elite” failures who just haven’t yet learned to accept our full potential.

And while maybe helpful to understanding ourselves, it’s still not the thing that will change us. At least, to be fair and not generalize, it is not the thing that will change me.

In Change or Die, the book I’m reading that I told you about in an earlier post, the author examines statistics, such as “9 out of 10 people faced with necessary changes to save their lives will not change.” They will allow themselves to die before doing what’s necessary to save their own lives.

Sometimes it seems there are as many books about changing as there are people who want to change. I’ve read “self-help” books for years, and the one thing I know about change is that no one book is the answer for everyone. But this book struck all the right chords for me.

There was no way I was going to mi
Driving across the United States solo is something I’ve done four times and hope to do several more times.

It examines the behaviors of successful instances of change and what those have in common. It insists on three “R” words to change: Relate, Repeat and Reframe. Relate is about surrounding yourself with people who already exemplify the behaviors you want within yourself. Repeat is of course the “simplicity” of repeating positive behaviors, and Reframing is the way you think about things and the language you focus on. (I kind of equate this book to a “fake it til you make it mentality” but in a much more positive way than that phrase generally connotates.)

I think the first one, “Relate,” might be the most difficult (for me) because it digs at that fear of outgrowing the people you currently keep in your circle.

It may or may not come down to a choice between spending time with those old friends who influence you in ways that aren’t physically productive and those new friends who influence you in the ways you need to grow.

But if I think about it in terms of my life and whether I’m willing to keep slowly killing myself (with high blood pressure, cholesterol, and poor diet etc.) for the sake of being around people who enable me, then it might help.

Overcoming fear of success Change or Die
Success in education! There was no way I was going to not march for my Master’s degree in writing. I regret not marching for my undergraduate degree, because it was a 13-year labor of love.

Still, I’m determined to “add” not “subtract” which means finding a way to bring in a world of fitness and health friends and still keep the non-fitness people in my life—just not in places where we will eat or be sedentary together. An important issue for me to work on and think about on my own.

And it brings me to the last parts of this three-part post why I failed the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

I live by Addition, not Subtraction. I always have. Even when I quit smoking all those years ago, it was not as cut and dry as I now like to remember it. I tried many times to quit, with many methods. And although it ultimately ended “cold turkey,” I had already cut back considerably before pulling an all-stop. But my point is that what that kept me off nicotine was my ability to breathe more easily (addition), the quality of air and life I gained letting go of it (addition), the better-smelling breath (addition), cleaner teeth (addition) and level of health I felt increase in my body (ADDITION!).

Food for me can never be about the word “No.”

There was no way I was going to mi
Reading my work from Viet Nam at a beautiful little event in Los Angeles.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and I realize that jumping into this Sugar Detox right at a time when I was just beginning to have success with my exercise regimen was actually another way to sabotage myself. I have no doubt I will eventually try a sugar detox again, for the pride of being able to say “I can go three weeks without sugar” but what I need now more than anything is the word “Yes” framed in positive ways.

I need to “Yes” myself into whole grains and unprocessed foods, knowing that I’m going to slip up as well as have intentional days of eating less healthfully.

But friends, I simply tried to fly without learning how to walk. Facing fears is great. Analyzing myself to death is kind of fun (sick, but fun). Adapting my language is great.

Crawl to walk. Walk to run. Run to fly.

But the right path for me is taking tiny steps in the direction of growth and walking new routes until change is routine, until I’m thinking like the way I do now, when I say “I can’t even believe I was ever a smoker.” And I really can’t.

There was no way I was going to mi
Climbing to the top of St. Paul’s was success created one step at a time, for a total of nearly 800 steps upward (I had to climb to the Whispering Gallery twice).

My fitness coach, Colin of Uber Beast Mode, has been working with me to encourage cleaner eating, and he’s become annoyingly good at placing a little voice in my head that keeps asking me whether what I’m eating will make me feel good or bad.

I’ve been enjoying the unprocessed foods and all the vegetables that I’m having. And I’ve realized that the more positive things I add in daily, the less room there is for the negative. I can live with those little steps for now. Maybe all or nothing really isn’t as everything as I keep thinking it has to be. Maybe my OCD doesn’t control my life as much as I give it power to do.

Speaking of power, Voldemort is a limp noodle. I don’t even think Viagra could help him scare me now.

No name or word or diagnosis has power over me except what I give to it.

Love, Marla

P.S. After yesterday’s trainer-mandated rest day I was excited to get back into the gym this morning. We hit arms and chest and did battle ropes (I LURRRRRVE battle ropes!) after which I did 45 minutes of cardio.

My new weekly routine, approved by Trainer, is 3 days of ass-kicking cardio for an hour, and 3 days of 1-hour weight lifting plus 45 minute cardio, and 1 day where I force myself to rest. And don’t even THINK about getting me to meditate on rest day. That’s still beyond this chick’s range of higher thinking.

13 thoughts on “A Voldemort, by Any Other Name, Would Still Smell Like Fear?

  1. Hey – I follow your trainer’s blog! It’s so good you are working with someone. My trainer, Daniel, helped me to push through all my mental blocks and lose 50 lbs. I had (a lot) of self-sabotage days too. I thought if I lost the weight I would lose friends. The opposite was true. My friends loved me no matter what my size was, and I made some good new friends at the gym.

    I hope you like these related posts:



  2. Marla, I love your 3 R’s – relate, repeat, reframe. They actually go with my research, in which some of my theory is Mezirow’s transformative learning, extending into value expectancy theory. A learner has to make a connection; experiences with incremental repetition and reflection are key; and perspective transformation is the significant reframing for beliefs to become obvious in behaviors. You’ve expressed so well here how your beliefs are transitioning according to the values you are embracing. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED (3 L’s) this!-j

  3. Sometimes I’ve changed and outgrown people – especially when I got married and had a family and no longer fit in with my single friends. It was sad, but I’ve found that the people who love you will always stay and be supportive of whatever changes you’re making and will always want you to be the best and happiest you can – it’s a good measure of true love and respect to see who sticks with you when you change. It’s an interesting theory to think that the only way to be successful is to surround yourself with those who are what you want to be…there’s a real lack of ownership and responsibility over one’s own actions, choices and willpower in that theory that kinda rubs me the wrong way. Feels like a secret internal shaming and judgment of others – as if to say, “if I hang out with you, I can’t make my own choices and will stoop to your level.” It’s just the opposite of what I’ve been trying to tell my daughter – there’s value in knowing all kinds of people, even those that are really different from you – there’s value in learning from everyone. I guess if someone didn’t want to hang out with me because I wasn’t skinny or fitness oriented enough for them, I’d be better off knowing that. But, I’d still love them and wish them success with their desired change.

    1. Yeah, I like your way of looking at it better. I understand their point of wanting to be influenced by people you want to emulate, but I agree more on your argument about lacking personal strength if someone can’t do both.
      I just sent you a FB message by the way. We must be thinking about each other at the exact same time tonight.
      And you, my friend, and Patrick and Caroline are people I will never want to be without.

  4. I loved you as you were, love you as you are, and have no reason to think I’ll not love you as you become whoever you’re striving to be.
    Keep on keepin’ on, li’l sis!

    1. Oh sure. Say that now but you know you’re going to want to kill me after 5 days together in Florida, hahaha. Just kidding, sort of. We both know I’m unbearable to be around for long periods of time though. 🙂

      1. Actually untrue. I know for a FACT (God I hate that phrase), that I am the one who becomes annoying to be around after a few days! I am really looking forward to that trip!

  5. I learned a lot as a young man cutting, stacking a cord (or two ) of freshly fallen timber back in the day. Listening to my Dad and Uncle discuss the events of the day, little did I know at the time that most of what they spoke about was life and how hard work pays off … Sprinkled with failure along the way. I love the picture, you know which one! Thank you for humbling my thoughts this evening, taking me back to my roots. 🙂

    1. “Sprinkled with failure” is such a perfect way to phrase it! That sounds like a beautiful childhood. Thanks for sharing and thanks, always, for putting your own words out there on the CultFit blog to inspire and motivate.

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