In the village live the animals.
Little Horse is now old enough to cross the river for the first time in her life!
What an exciting day!
But wait, just how deep is the river?
Little Horse isn’t so sure…
Why don’t I ask some older folks? She thinks out loud.
She knocks on the door of the Squirrel family.
“Yes, Little Horse. How can I help you?”
“I want to go across the river.”
“Oh, the river…”
“I don’t know how deep it is.”
“It’s deep.” Mrs. Squirrel fishes out a tiny napkin under her flappy arm and dabs around her round eyes. “My husband was drowned in that wicked wretched darn river last year.”
Little Horse gasps. “I’m sorry…” She bows and leaves Mrs. Squirrel to rest.
For hours she wanders… She is now back to the river bank again.
A few feet away, Mr. Ox is drenched in water. He shakes his toned body. Water splashes over towards Little Horse.
“Hey, watch it.” She is annoyed.
“Hiya, Little Horse.”
“What’s eating you?”
“Nothing.” But her eyes betrays her. The river is calling. “How’s the water?”
“It’s great. Not too cold. Not too warm. Just right. Take a dip and feel it yourself, Little Horse.”
“Is it deep?”
“Not at all.”
“But Mr. Squirrel drowned in it.”
“But you’re not a squirrel.”
“And I’m not you. Good day to you, sir.”
Little Horse returns to the stall, dejected.
“So, how do you like the river?” Mrs. Horse appears from behind.
“Not now, mum.”
“Have you tried yet?”
“Mrs. Squirrel said it’s scary deep. Mr. Ox said it’s as shallow as a puddle. I don’t know who’s telling the truth.”
“What if they are both right?”
“Then whom should I believe?”
“Why don’t you try and see for yourself?”
I don’t need to tell you the rest of the story. You see the ending.
This story, “The Little Horse Crosses the River,” is originally from my primary school textbook in China. A story I always remember and try to remind myself whenever a new river calls upon me to dare cross it.
Three days ago, two great older wiser friends asked me to stop posting my podcast feeds onto my personal social media accounts.
“You’re blowing your cover!”
“What if someone wanted to offer you a job and see your relation to… ‘Rock Bottom.’ Eww.”
“They’ll find out that you’re broke and amongst other things.”
“Being anonymous is so much cooler, so much more mysterious.”
At the time, they made a lot of sense.
The next morning, I got really frustrated. Just how on earth would I be able to grow my audience base without reaching out to my family and friends first?
“They’re not wrong. But they’re not you. They’re projecting their fear, their past unpleasant experience onto you.”
“YZ, you need to ask yourself why you do this podcast in the first place? What’s your compass? What’s your Truth North?”
“You know what you should do? You should do an episode and talk about this. This shame we carry on our backs. As Brené Brown says, ‘If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgment.'”
Secrecy. Silence. Judgment.
“Barbara, could you guest host this episode?”
PS. Barbara Kiao is my guest for this week’s podcast.
You may find it interesting if you’re wondering these things:
a) Is it too late to pivot?
b) How does a psychologist deal with her life crises and rock bottoms?
c) I want to try counseling, does it mean I’m abnormal?
d) What does it take to be a psychologist?
e) all the above.