I have been hacking away at a blog post about my grandmother who has been much on my mind lately. The post feels too long and long-winded, but I don’t feel like I’ve actually told her story at all. Grandma was a complicated lady (think Shrek and onions), but her nature toward me was nothing other than sweet and loving. It is hard to write about how I’ve learned to reconcile her sweetness to me with the downright meanness she showed toward others. It’s hard to capture a soul so tortured who lived through so much adversity, but still someone who had an incredible capacity for love and generosity. I’d like to think I got her best qualities since I consider her to be a huge influence on who I am now. Please don’t feel the need to disabuse me of that idea.
So, it’s not done. It’s sitting in my drafts folder waiting for me to pull my head out from up my ass and get it right.
Maybe I’ve been distracted by too many other things. There has been a lot going on and things are tense here at home. It’s hard for me to be creative when I’m under this much stress, even through this outlet of writing which I love so much. I want to be meaningful and profound with everything I write, but it all just starts looking like bullshit on the page. There are far too many folks out there putting bullshit on the internet. I don’t feel the need to join them.
What is holding me back? What holds anyone back from creating, from living, from moving forward in life.
Fear is a four letter word beginning with “F”. I’m sure that’s not a coincidence.
Yes, I am afraid. I am afraid that I am not enough: good enough, smart enough, experienced or educated enough. I am fundamentally afraid of being inadequate to whatever task is in front of me. I am afraid to fail. I’m afraid of not making enough money and losing everything we’ve worked so hard for.
On the lighter side, I am also afraid of spiders, snakes, and heights. Not really important here, but it is a bit of levity after my admission of some rather significantly personal stuff.
I have fallen before and gotten up. I have been disappointed and lived through it. I’ve been told no and gotten over it. I have life experience that tells me I’ll survive my most recent setbacks and challenges just fine. So why am I afraid?
Because, I suppose, fear is something I’ve lived with for a long time. Fear is an old friend. I’ve been afraid of something as long as I can remember. Mostly, I fear loss: loss of respect, loss of face, loss of position, loss of income. I fear losing the fruits of 25 years of labors. It’s as though I think life will come along like a bully, knock down the huge tower of blocks I’ve built, and laugh at me as I cry. Sad, but true.
I’m afraid life will win and I will lose.
With all this fear, you may wonder how the hell I even get up in the morning. I have to get up, you see. It’s what I was taught to do. It’s become an autonomic response. I get scared and I do it anyway. You wanna knock down my block tower, life? Screw you, I’ll build another one — bigger and better than the last one. I simply have to push through the fear. I cry and get upset about it. I ask for prayers to get through it. But, ultimately, I give fear the finger and move forward.
Even though I am, fundamentally, afraid of the thing that most people fear. The unknown.
I encounter the unknown everyday with my son. What new issue will arise? When will the other shoe drop? Will it fall on my head? The unknown scares the shit out of me. It springs from my need to control everything. I freak out because I can’t control the unknown — because I don’t know what the hell it will be.
Fear has paralyzed me from time to time. I’d like to think I’m better about that now. Fear has crippled me to the point of panic before, but I’m still here. Some would say fear is an illusion. I am learning to see the truth of that and trying not to live in fear or to let fear inhabit my head for free.
What replaces fear? For me, the answer is simple. Faith replaces fear.
My life has been such a crazy roller coaster. It’s a miracle in many ways that I’m still alive. That alone confirms the existence of God as far as I’m concerned. I could not have lived this loony life of mine without Him. If God protects babies and fools, I have no question which one I am, and He’s protected me more times than I can count. Faith is the only stuff potent enough to counteract fear. I pray everyday for my faith to be stronger.
I fear death. I fear losing my husband and kids someday. Life is full of opportunities to be afraid. I really am trying to get past the things that drive up my blood pressure. My faith tells me that I have everything I need. I just need to open my eyes and see. I just need to believe.