A Hangover of Another Kind


In my last blog I said I will become an Accountant who is also a writer and a few days later self doubt set in. Sigh!


Lady in a movie: Who said Accountants can’t be creative?

Man in a movie: The revenue authorities and the taxman!

Lady in a movie: (Does not say a word but makes a sad face in agreement.)

Oii! I exclaimed with my hands over my head in alarm. The man is right, I thought.

These two sentences of a romantic comedy movie stayed with me. They hang in my mind for a while then they made their way into my will power. There they started pecking away at me incessantly. I tried to distract myself with baking and cooking — enough for a rugby team; everything tasted delicious. I put on my favourite music and bobbed my head to it as I went about my business. However, a few days on I realized I could not keep up with it. I risked gaining extra kilos that I did not need and I couldn’t concentrate with loud music playing. I had to get to the bottom of what was happening to me.

Let’s face it, when you make a bold move, a pricey purchase, a grand gesture; for the first few days you are on a high. Everyone pats you on the back saying wonderful things, you get lots of likes on social media, you are more self assured and you feel like you are walking in the clouds. You soak it all in with gratitude and pride. Then it all comes crushing down. Oh my! Why did I share that? How did I not see all those typos? What was I thinking? Can I really do it? Do I reserve it? Can I afford it? Am I good enough? You feel like you want to hide from the whole world and wear a paper bag over your head. You’re once cheerful bright face is distorted with frown lines, you second guess yourself.  Even a line from a movie re-enforces your insecurities.

I was experiencing a terrible hangover, but not of the usual kind, a Vulnerability Hangover. A term coined by my favourite author and TED talk speaker Dr. Brené Brown. It is the feeling that sweeps over after we connect and share something deeply meaningful. Minutes, hours, or days later, we begin to feel regret sweep over us like a dark shadow.

Brené insists that vulnerability is good for you, or as she puts it,

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage. In fact, if you don’t feel any vulnerability hangover, then maybe you didn’t go far enough.”

We live in a world where by exposing our fears and uncertainties, taking emotional risks is considered a form of weakness, and something most of us want to run away from. But research reveals huge positive outcomes that emerge from stepping up. It is precisely when we expose ourselves in a relationship or at work that we have experiences that bring purpose and significance to our lives.

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena, whatever it may be—a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation—with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen. This is vulnerability. This is daring greatly.” ~ Dr. Brené Brown


Back to me, I decided to show up today and it felt right.  I am a work in progress. I cannot promise that I won’t panic again and everything will be perfect. All I can promise is to keep showing up here again and again. John Irving once said:

“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.”





6 thoughts on “A Hangover of Another Kind

  1. Hehehe!! Pauline!!…. I like, like, like!! Very well written. I suggest that you throw off the paper bag and take a long drive with your windows down and let the breeze blow through…. This is a brilliant piece of work girl! It will resonate with anyone who wants to follow their passion, but is suffering from self doubt…Get behind us Satan!!


    1. Heheheee Pam. Yes indeed. I like your take on it. Very true. Its normal to do a double take, but thereafter one has to move forward. Thanks my dear, much appreciated.


  2. Thank you Pauline for your intellectual argument. It really makes sense. The Bible says, ” Do not be a mule” when God tells you move, make a step of faith. God cannot bless you when you are still. You must be on the move for God to open doors where they are no doors. Take courage and be strong.

    Pastor Eunice


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