Some years ago, many, many years ago while on holiday in Cornwall having breakfast with the family, we heard a rubber fish, Billy Bass, singing “Don’t worry, be happy”. It was so silly, so tacky, you couldn’t help smiling…be happy. In fact it was so infectious, one Billy Bass was tracked down and returned home with the family at the end of the holiday.
Why is that relevant now? Well I have been more and more aware that I am a worrier. I worry about everything. Subconsciously, most of the time, which is why I have been quite surprised now that I am aware of this behaviour pattern. I believe it is something that stems from my early life. Basically for two reasons, one I was aware that I was different and that caused in the early days anxiety because I did not understand why I was different; latterly, the anxiety was whether anyone would discover why I was different. Secondly I was not able to live up to my father’s expectations not being accomplished at boys sports and very definitely unable to live up to my elder brother’s sporting prowess. He was a proper boy.
This continued as a behaviour pattern so that anything I did I worried about. Was it going to be good enough? There was always a feeling of the imposter syndrome. I didn’t realise it then, however that attitude was why more often than not I did not reach my full potential. I did not have belief in myself. I achieved quite a lot, yet that well known phrase “could have done better” without doubt was appropriate.
When I transitioned I worried. Was I good enough? Was I trans enough? Would I ever pass?
You name it and I worried.
Recently, I was speaking to my close friend and mentor about one issue in particular. She said something that enabled me to stop worrying about the issue. I realised how my worrying had impacted on that situation. So I started thinking, rather the same thought process sort of filtered through and I came to see that worrying was such a negative process that in the words of the song simply “doubles the trouble”. Worrying takes up so much energy that there is so much less available to deal with the issues needing to be dealt with.
Crazily, having come to this realisation I have stopped worrying. Of course it is far too soon to say, it is only days and no doubt a relapse is a real possibility after so many years, yet the freedom of accepting I am what I am and I can only do my best has been a revelation. So fingers crossed somewhere in my psyche Billy Bass has finally got through “ Don’t worry, be happy”.