I was born in a remote little town called Mont-Rolland, tucked away in the hills of the Laurentians. The place where I lived was called “Le Plateau” which is an extensive area of flat upland enclosed by mountains, ironically today I want to discuss a different kind of plateau which ties in to the place I grew up.
I was very popular on Le Plateau, many of our neighbours and acquaintances had candy waiting for me at each visit. I was a curious, happy child and I paraded around on a daily basis meeting everyone along the way. I think this pissed off my family or at least some of their actions bordered on cruel and dysfunctional in response to the blue wide-eyed and blond-haired curious child.
We all know about the second plateau, referred to in dieting and exercise as that point when nothing you do allows you to reach you’re goal. The third plateau is psychological and below you will find out about the 3 most dangerous psychological plateaus and how they have affected me. 1) Belief in the system, 2) Fear of failure, 3) Fear of change
I had a belief in the system: (family) and on a particular occasion, a few days before Halloween – maybe even a week, my mother and brother decided to play a practical joke and send me out early to trick-or-treat. Donning make-up, the braids and a Pippi Longstocking outfit. I was so happy that Halloween was finally here. You can imagine the disappointment I felt when I did not see friends doing the same and realized they had deceived me.
As I reached each house the bewildered home-owners felt sorry for me, they scrambled to find something to give me out of pity. “Who would do this to a cute little girl?” they said. Why would I doubt the people in charge of my growth? Even with this deception and many others I continued to believe they had my best interest at heart.
The second plateau is a Fear of Failure: I was set up to fail – I know you are reading this and thinking that I am diverting all the blame to my family. You are correct. Our role in life as parents is not to block success but rather urge it. It is not about belittling your child it is about praise and guidance. I did not receive these as a child instead I was told I would be like my mother’s over-sexed sister and I couldn’t go to university because the other kids did and dropped out or didn’t go. So what was the point of trying to excel, the dream of writing was not enough. I needed to be a nurse. If I chose any other profession it was not the right one.
The third plateau is a Fear of Change: That is my current plateau, I can’t change the past. I cannot go back and yell at my mother that she is jealous and needs to stop or cuss out my brother for being an arrogant prick. I can’t take back the events that got me here today. I can however finally feel angry about it and use that anger to propel me to where I need to go.
Last Friday as I dolled myself up and sat waiting at the bar for a date that never showed up, I snapped. This is not who I want to be, where I want to be or what I want to do. Why do I find solace in people who are trapped just like I am? Ah! You see the tendency is to go with the herd.
The original interpretation of limbo/plateau is the temporary state of souls awaiting entrance into Heaven. This is indeed the psychological equivalent to a state of little or no growth or decline in your career, personal life and relationships.
As the wrinkles begin to surround the big blue eyes of innocence and the store bought dye imitates the blond locks of my youth. I refuse to continue living on Le Plateau.
Year after year, encounter after encounter I feel trapped, unable to go against the grain. A people-pleaser eager to be liked, loved, appreciated, noticed and safe. Forced by an imaginary web of questions to accept life as it is.
No More….The answer can’t come from a logical place when illogical things take place, the only way out is to break free. I don’t feel compelled to run instead I feel the need to contemplate and to reflect: one way to defeat the herd mentality is to probe the assumptions that underlie conventional wisdom. I am on a quest to find my truth.
The success I attain will be mine, the choices I make will be mine and the only costume I wear from this day forward is the one that will bring me true happiness.