I’m going to level with you today. Fear is something I struggle with constantly, particularly when in comes to my career. Sometimes, I’m so terrified of making the “wrong move” that I find myself not moving at all, staying still, stuck in a perpetuate state of utter terror, simply because I don’t want to fuck it up!
So who is Gertrude the big green german booger I hear you asking?
Simple. You know that annoying, demoralising and down right hypercritical voice we all have in our heads. You know the one I’m talking about. The one that after eating a whole bag of party sized Doritos speaks up and says:
“Ooooh! You really shouldn’t have done that. You know what’s going to happen now, don’t you? You’re going to gain sixty-seven pounds and grow a moustache. But not a cool and sexy moustache like the one Tom Selleck sported in the nineties. Nooooooo! You’ll grow a patchy, un-tameable frizzy stash that looks like the feathers on that 20-year-old London pigeon you saw that one time. Because of this, people will disown you and small children will cry when they see you. Therefore, your only option is to relocate to dark and remote Transylvania. You’ll spend the rest of your miserable existence alone, unloved and surrounded by bloody bats (which could very well be spawns of Dracula). And you know why this is going to happen? BECAUSE YOU ATE THAT ENTIRE BAG OF DORITOS, YOU STUPID IDIOT!”.
That right there, is Gertrude.
I was struggling a couple years back when I moved back to London, after living in Los Angeles for five years. I knew it was the right decision, but still I was struggling. I found myself filled with this perpetual fear that pretty much paralysed me. I was going through a complete and utter quarter life crisis. I knew what I wanted to do, but I was too freaken scared to actually do it.
This life consuming fear built up over a few months until finally, anxiety attack after anxiety attack, I decided I had had enough. I was done with fear! I was going to end my relationship with fear! I was not going to let fear control my life anymore.
After reading god knows how many self-help books, and listening to countless Podcasts, bossy Alexa finally spoke up and decided that what I needed, was a good old talking to.
I decided I was going to have a nice long chat with this “fearful” side of me and figure this out once and for all. I’ll break it down for you.
Step 1 – Draw It!
Being the actress (and overly dramatic person) that I am, I decided that I would create a “character” around my fear. Firstly, I would draw her. This is what came out.
As you can see, I’m a natural artiste.
Step 2 – Give It a Voice
Don’t ask me why, but this green booger turned out to be German (occasionally Russian – depending on my accent skills that day).
Step 3 – Name It!
For some unknown reason, Gertrude came out. When I visualise someone with the name Gertrude, I picture a firehouse of a woman who’s double the size of Miss Trunchbull, can throw sack of hay better than any man, and eats Wienerschnitzel for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was a perfect match! (It must be noted that I don’t actually know any Gertrude’s).
Step 4 – Let It Speak!
Finally, and this might seem a little weird for some of you, but I actually let her speak. I asked her “Why are you stopping me from going after these things and what do you want?”.
And you know what, the strangest thing happened. I had a thousand and one realisations in a single five minute “conversation”. I realised that Gertrude, and fear itself, wasn’t actually the enemy. I know this sounds weird (in fact I’m sure this whole blog post sounds a bit wacky), but I began to understand why Gertrude took charge so suddenly and pretty much dominated my life.
What Gertrude was doing, was protecting me.
She knew how much I was struggling internally and so decided “No more! We are going to shut this down right now. I am not going to entertain the possibility of any future pain”. And you know what, I was suddenly grateful for her. She gave me time to heal and deal. She was, and still remains, my ultimate bodyguard.
However, the problem with Gertrude (much like me) is she’s a bossy pants. Once she takes over, it’s hard to steal the reigns back. Therefore, sometimes Gertrude needs a talking to. But after having our little chat, I found her more willing to let me take control.
Now I’m not saying this was a magic button that I pressed and now everything is rainbows and sunshine and unicorn farts. Nooooo! This is a process. Every now and then I have to check in with Gertrude (by sometimes, I mean daily) to make sure she is being heard. She no longer calls the shots, but golly me is she one hell of a trusted advisor.
So now you’re probably think to yourself “Umm, this is kind of weird”. And you know what, it is. It totally is. It was weird for me to do. It’s weird for me to write about. And hell, it’s weird for me to recommend as a tool for others, which is what I’m about to do.
So here’s my piece of advice for you. If you’re feeling stuck, scared, unsure or afraid of taking the next step in any area of your life, then I really recommend you getting in touch with your own Gertrude.
I know it might seem odd, and totally foreign to do, but what harm could it bring? You can do it by yourself in your bedroom, in the bathroom with the shower running or hell in the middle of a field with only the possibility of sheep to hear you.
So join us! Get in touch with your own inner Gertrude. Get a little weird. And get going with the life that you want!
We believe in you. Now go kick Gertrude’s ass!
Got any “Gertrude” drawings you want to share? We totally want to see! Email them in with a little Bio and you may well find them on our platforms. #KickThatBooger