Every year I start January by making a list of my creative projects that I’m working on. And I realise that every year some of the same incomplete projects appear again & again. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know something is holding me back. Especially with my writing. It’s subtle but it’s there. So I started reading Tara Mohr’s book Playing Big this week to try to finally get past this. And within one chapter I’ve had a bit of a moment of clarity. I know I have a fear of *being seen*. But why? Well, here goes, I’ve realised my inner critic is a combination of the voices of the people who bullied me at school. I was studious, I loved learning and I was bullied for that. Meanwhile our lives were a little different & that seemed to cause a stir. A couple of times my mum took us out of school for 3 months at a time & we disappeared off to Spain. From April to October she ran a water sports business & we would spend most of our summers by the lake. We had a speedboat outside our house. We were a little bit unique and this drew attention & comments. But wasn’t everyone unique? I didn’t understand why other children were mean to me just because of who I was. It made me shy & made me want to hide. I tried to ignore it, I tried to ignore them. I carried on working hard at my study and writing but felt like I was keeping my head down. So is that what I am still doing now? Keeping my head down? Because of those kids when I was at school? There’s more to this. But surely it’s time to break this habit? Surely it’s time to say, thank you inner critic, thank you bullies, it’s time to find the courage to put my head up and to step out of the shade & into the light.