I’m going fishing

I got me a line

Nothin’ I do’s gonna’ make the difference

So I’m taking the time

Ian? Going fishing? Not likely! Not for one who has stated: “when I have nothing to do I don’t need a fishing rod in my hands to do it!” Of course, this declaration has not made me popular with my angling brother and friends – probably resulting in me missing a few invitations to destinations I would have loved to visit. So much for the benefits of having clear opinions! Nope, this is the figurative picture I was given in my journey a bit more than three years ago when I moved from Gauteng to Plettenberg Bay. Gone Fishing is a Chris Rea song – suggested to me by friend Caro after I had departed to confront my monster, deal with decades of pain, and attempt discover who I really am. Yesterday I was reminded of it all as I played Rea’s 1991 album Auberge on my drive home from St. Francis Bay.

Three plus years. So much has changed. The monster has transformed into an embracing of my direct and assertive attributes that are no longer suppressed into exploding as condescending, brutish responses. This has been a tough journey. The pain is not completely gone. There is more sadness than pain now. I have recently been more aware of that gloom. Probably a lot more work there. Maybe that’s one of the next steps. Maybe there is more “Gone Fishing” time required. However, the real crunch part of the track lies deeper into the lyrics:

You can waste whole lifetime

Trying to be

What you think is expected of you

But you’ll never be free

This issue is the true source of the pain, the monster, and why I needed to discover and accept who I really am. So many years of building what is expected, but never being free. Parents, siblings, teachers, friends, bosses, church – all probably well meaning. Espousing solid reasons and benefits. Some even adding religious and social pressures to perform. All in some way communicating that it’s not ok to be me. That some streaks are not acceptable. Some behaviours best suppressed. That there is something fundamentally wrong with me.

Ah, but no victim thinking is given room in the lyrics – it does turn out to be what I think is expected. The job is not to blame them. To try to change what they say and do. Or to wait for that one to transform. Nope, they don’t set the expectations – I do! Mine to own. The job is to reject that thinking. My thinking. To switch from a mind-set of “I am a mistake” to “I make mistakes”. To move from expectations to being. To embrace the imperfections. To celebrate them. To acknowledge that they are what make me human. To embrace who I am. Acceptance. This is what the journey has been about. And as it continues I can see the progress. It really has been worth it. Freedom. I do have much more liberty. I have not arrived. However, I am reaping the benefits of “Going Fishing”…