It’s not every day that we admit to or decide to face what we fear the most. I’ve often wondered why that is. Is it out of pride? Reluctance? Anxiety? Fear of the aftermath having faced the fear? It’s a complex business which is daunting but important to do. Writing this post put me in two minds: firstly I’m about bare all with whoever is reading this post. Secondly, it’s the first time that I’m going to put what is in my head and heart into words. In addition, I’m aware that some individuals may choose to use this against me; oh well.
The story of Achilles and his downfall gave rise to the popular saying: “Achilles’ heel.” It’s a phrase that I’ve always loved thinking about because I love the story behind it. Whilst an Achilles’ heel is mainly referred to our feet, it’s a concept which can be applied to the way we view ourselves. I don’t have a six-pack or ripped abs. I’m not model thin with striking features and a neverending sum of money in the bank. I’m an ordinary every day person who, like many others, is on their journey through life. Sometimes it’s full of sunflowers and happiness. Other times it’s dark and full of thorns.
I firmly believe that struggle and having to get back up after a setback, makes us into the person we are supposed to be. If that makes sense. Everyone has their own version of an “Achilles’ heel” and it can be almost anything. For me, it’s these poisonous six words: “You are exactly like your mother.” Even seeing that written down makes me feel deeply unsettled. When it’s said to me, it’s even worse. It’s like someone peeling off a scab and poking at it for fun. After all this time, it still touches a nerve.
I have my reasons as to why those six words manage to shake my core and unsettle me – if I’m strong enough, I’ll write that chapter of my life in a future blog post. When I was younger, I’d do anything to not look, act like or sound like my mum. My younger mind’s reasoning was: “Of course, this sounds stupid and futile – I have 50% of my mother’s genes in my DNA, so on a genetic level I can’t ever fully rid myself of her. But if I can do absolutely anything to not behave like her, I’ll do it.”
That way of thinking ruled me for a very long time and it wasn’t until someone very close to me uttered those six poisonous words at the weekend. It upset me and I cried myself to sleep because I couldn’t handle being compared to the person whom I had tried so hard to not be like. It felt like I had somehow failed myself. That I had let myself down and become the very thing I never want to be. I guess that’s why I called it my Achilles’ heel. But then I started thinking about how I needed to change this way of thinking so that it wouldn’t fully derail me in the future.
Whether I like it or not, there will always be an existing element of my mother in me. It’s something that, with time, I will learn to accept and channel in a different way that’s not so toxic to my well being. I might always be referred to as my mother’s daughter. There may be certain attributes of mine, which may cause others to make a link between us. I can’t ever fully escape her. But instead of letting it dictate my emotions and rule my mind, I can begin to look at it from a different angle. One which benefits me.