Tag Archives: fear

My Super-Cool New Bike

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       Hi there. I just bought a new bike! Ok, it’s not just a bike. It’s a red adult tricycle! I’m so excited that I can’t stand myself. I have always wanted a three-wheeled bike with a little basket and maybe even a cute little bell. I think it’s pretty amazing that something as simple as a bike can make people uncomfortable though. A few of my friends who knew that I was considering buying this bike to be my main transportation tried to talk me out of it pretty strongly. They said things like, “It will be a lot of exercise. Are you sure you’re up to it?” or “What if it rains?” While I try to understand that they are just worried for me and my safety, I feel like this points to something deeper, and I wonder if it is something with which we all struggle. 

       So, because I love to play the Analyze-Yourself-and-Others game, I rolled the dice and made my first move. Why did this bother my friends even before I bought the bike? I think that they might be afraid of anything unconventional or different. Knowing these friends’ personalities, I know that they like to be in control, like safety, and enjoy knowing what to expect from their days. There is nothing wrong with that. I admire their organization and adult-ness. They buy flood, fire, and tornado insurance. I don’t even have medical insurance (yet…). So I know that my freedom (for lack of a better word) or whimsy (?) drives them a little crazy. They continually try to talk me out of things that I want, but respect me enough to know that I may or may not take their advice. 

         All of this got me wondering about myself – dice roll number 2. Do I feel uncomfortable with some of my friends and family’s decisions because it goes against my own wiring? Yes. I wouldn’t say that I worry about them, but many times I sigh and think, “If they’d only stop looking for jobs that have a certain salary, they’d be happy.” or “Why don’t they just eat the cheeseburger instead of talking about it for 20 minutes while eating bean sprouts?” Because I analyze myself so much, I know that I have weaknesses in dealing with reality, organization, and “the American Dream”. And because I know this and love my friends, I try really hard to be supportive and not critical when they tell me about the vitamins they are taking or the twelfth life insurance policy that they just took out…even though deep down I’m screaming, “Nooooooo!!!!!! buy some cute shoes! Feed the homeless! Start a business that recycles old tires into amazing art!” 

       It’s so crazy that we are all wired so differently. It’s so interesting to me what makes people uncomfortable about me. I used to try to change so that everyone would be comfortable. Then, I started wondering if I would want my friends to change so that I would be comfortable. No indeed. I would actually be more uncomfortable if they went against their dreams, desires, and hopes. We all just have to lay down our worries and fears in order to let our loved ones truly be themselves. I’m so thankful that I have friends who will let me be myself even though they worry about me. So, when you see me riding to work on my nifty red adult tricycle with a sweet little basket and a fancy bell, just wave to the girl who is ok with being herself and letting others be themselves. (And please don’t worry- I have a raincoat and I can handle the exercise!)

I’m Afraid of Blogging!

     

       Warning! Intimate Confession imminent:  think I’m afraid to blog. Gasp! Really crazy, huh? I go to all of the trouble to make a blog, and then I only blog every now and then. Absolutely no consistency. Well, I’m totally into analyzing things to death. If you don’t do it, you should try. (I’m being sarcastic- you really shouldn’t) The best part is when you analyze things so much that you get what one of my Pastors call the “paralysis of analysis”. That’s when you have analyzed yourself into a corner, and you can’t move. You’re just stuck there, in your corner-stuck. Stuck. Stuck. Stuck. So, I think that’s where I am as far as the blogging analysis conundrum. I am in the corner after having analyzed why in the world I am finding it so hard to blog consistently, and I’ve realized that the only way out of the corner is to write my way out. So ironic, yes?

        Ok. So here is what I’ve been struggling with. I want to lay my heart out for whatever reason, and boldly proclaim all of my opinions, weaknesses, joys, pain, struggles, and silly nonsense. However, when i begin to do that, I start to think about how people may respond to what I think. There are ones that will be shocked and judge me. There are also ones that may be offended. I don’t think those are the ones that would affect me negatively. It’s the third set of people that I’m just not into dealing with: the argumentative ones. I am all for an intellectual discussion about certain issues and opinions. It is when these discussions turn ugly and no one wants to hear the other’s voice. They only strive to make the other person feel wrong and ashamed. I am so not about those kind of arguments, and I’ve found that there are so many people out there that want to argue for argument’s sake or just to prove that they are right. So, I guess I’m afraid of getting drawn into anything like that. 

        Number 2 fear/struggle: maybe I have nothing worth saying. I wonder if I am just adding to the noise that currently floods our society. Have you ever noticed that some people feel terribly uncomfortable not talking? There are people that walk around with their phones blaring music in a supermarket that already has music on, people talking, and babies crying. All of this noise makes people talk louder and louder, while trying to get their point across. Am I saying anything of worth? Am I provoking any thought? Is what I am saying resonating with anyone and causing them to think about really interesting if not important issues in our life full of noise? My fear is that my voice may not be heard for what it is meant to be.

         Another fear I have is that my words will not portray what my feelings feel. I love searching for just the right words to say that will express what I mean. If you ever talk with me, you will find a few things out that may be endearing or frustrating depending on your tolerance level. First, sometimes it takes me awhile to finish a complete sentence because I think way too hard about just the right way to say it. Secondly, if something is really, really important to me, I can not even get words out of my mouth. I’m totally mute because I need my words to match up to the feeling, and the feeling is so huge. So, it is hard for me to talk about very deep intimate subjects. Writing has been my relief from this weird phenomenon. However, I’ve never done it so publicly as in a blog. So, the fear grips me when I want to write about really important things to me such as acceptance, love, God, freedom, “isms”, and the like. 

            So, my only course of action to overcome these fears? Action, I guess. Whether someone wants to argue with me or doesn’t hear what I am, in fact, trying to say; or whether I stumble and misrepresent my own feelings, I have to just say what I want to say. Sitting in this corner paralyzed by fear and analysis is no way to live my life. I will never not care what other people think, because I’m a caring empathetic person. However, I choose not to be ruled by that like I used to be. I’m a pretty confident person now that I have grown up (in age, anyway). So, even if this blogging thing doesn’t change the world or change anyone’s life, it will change how I express myself. So, brace yourself for some opinions that might not line up with what you thought I believe or didn’t believe. Brace yourself for words that might not be traditionally phrased or line up with what you believe about the world. This girl is coming out of the corner slinging some ink and looking to write her own story! No fear will put me in timeout for long. I’m coming out swinging. 

Practice ghosting for a change

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
— Frank Herbert, Dune – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

One of the themes that swirls around this head of mine is that of fear- something that absolutely dripped off of me as a child. Scratch that, I swam in it and nearly drowned a time or two. Nowadays, I recognize its power as well as its puniness. My daughter and I went to see the movie  After Earth today on the spur of the moment. She loves Will and Jaden Smith, and I just wanted to see a movie- so I agreed. I was hoping it would be better than its reviews. Enough said. However, it was useful in exploring this concept of fear once again. In the movie, there is a predator that can sense its prey (humans) only through the pheromone emitted during the state of fear. Will Smith’s character has learned the art of “ghosting” which is basically being free from fear allowing himself to remain invisible from the predator. Will Smith’s son, however, is a bundle of emotion and fear and must learn to control them in order to save himself and his father. Ok. So, the point is that the whole concept of “ghosting” hit a chord with me. I am the youngest of four girls, and I was a super duper scaredy cat! My sister was reading the book Carrie and I was so scared at night that I would turn into the main character because we shared the same name. I would go to bed saying, “It’s not spelled the same. It’s not spelled the same….” until I fell asleep. I also had many bedtime rules. I had to be lying on my back with everything but my head under the covers, otherwise the monsters in the closet or under my bed could get me. I could NOT, under any circumstances, fold my hands across my chest, because then I would die like all the dead relatives I had seen in caskets. Most of my fears had to do with bedtime and the dark, but I remember the very night that all this changed for me. I could not stand the rising fear that gripped my throat for one more night. I pulled back the covers and said in my head (so as not to disturb my sleeping sister), “Fine. I give up, come and get me!” I really meant it too. Being devoured or torn in half by some ghoul seemed much less painful than this constant fear that gripped me. I couldn’t stand it. Now that I am 45 (gulp!), I have realized that so many of my friends and acquaintances are driven by a debilitating fear of the unknown or the future or failure. I can’t say that I’m never afraid, but the monsters can have at me, because what I can do to myself through fear is far far worse than anything they could do to me. If we simply recognize the fear, let it pass through us, and out of us, then we can find true selves. We just have to surrender to it.  Don’t forget the German proverb that says, “Fear makes the Wolf bigger than he is.”  Practice “ghosting” at least once today. You’ll be glad you did!nofear