Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fear

I am afraid of lots of little things.  Old, creaky houses.  Bugs that fly.  Birds (terror, really).  Getting my period wearing white pants.  Failing the people closest to me.  Bad hair in pictures.  It could go on and on, really.

But those are just minor things.  Embarrassing moments.  Blips on the radar of life.

Real fear?  Big, true fear?

First, to borrow a quote from my favorite book of all time, Tuesdays with Morrie.  If you haven't read it, click right out of this post right now and buy it. It's a spectacular read.

For those of you who haven't read it - the book is about a man in his 30s who go back to visit with his college professor, who is slowly dying of ALS.  In his weekly "lessons" with Morrie, he learns some of the greatest lessons on how to live and love. 


"Fear. There were horrifying times, and his first emotions were horror, fear, and anxiety. But once he recognized the feel of those emotions, he was able to say, “Okay. This is fear. Step away from it. Step away." I thought about how often this was needed in everyday life. How we feel lonely, sometimes to the point of tears, but we don’t let those tears come because we are not supposed to cry. Or how we feel a surge of love for a partner but we don’t say anything because we’re frozen with the fear of what those words might do to the relationship. Morrie’s approach was exactly the opposite. Turn on the faucet. Wash yourself with the emotion. It won’t hurt you. It will only help. If you let the fear inside, if you pull it on like a familiar shirt, then you can say to yourself – All right, it’s just fear. I don’t have to let it control me."
 Easier said than done, right?

My fear is easy.  I don't have to think about it, or wonder if I'm really more afraid of birds than of tornadoes flattening my home.

My fear is of losing someone I love.  Or maybe even just a friend or acquaintance.  Sometimes, the death of a near-stranger hurts almost more than someone you've grown to love - because the possibility is gone.  You'll never know how she laughed when her guard was down or if she liked her ice cream straight from the carton.  You'll just never know.

And although some ways I feel like I've lived it a thousand times, luckily it's only been once for me.


I had a full life with my mom.  She saw me grow up, go to prom, drive my first car, grounded me for talking sassy, taught me how to shop and wear makeup, and on and on.

But when you lose someone, you start to count the negatives.  The what-never-happened.  Wedding dress shopping, meeting my future-husband, watching me become a mom, meeting her grandkids, being proud of me as an adult, becoming more of a friend than a parent, telling me about when she found out she was pregnant with me, little details of family history, gone forever.  I could go on for pages.

For me, the important thing about fear is not that it's there - because in my life, it's ever-present.

The important part about fear is what it does to you.  Does it make you live life differently?

For me, it means taking one more photo, even when I'm grumpy and tired and my makeup wore off hours ago.  Always saying yes to ice cream - or margaritas, pizza, booze - whatever it is that calls your people together.  That time together is worth it's weight in gold, not calories.

Fear.

It's hard to understand someone else's, and impossible to separate from your own.



11 Classy Comments:

Meg @ write meg! said...

Hugs. When my dad had a heart attack my senior year in high school, I was given a dose of reality -- our parents are human; no one is immortal -- that caught me totally unaware. He recovered, thankfully, but almost losing him at 42 was terrifying. In some ways, I don't think I've ever emotionally processed it.

I can't think about loss and my fears surrounding it too often because it feels like a black hole: one I'll fall straight inside, never to rebound. It's scary. It affects all of us. You're definitely not alone.

Mrs. Jones said...

You sum up that fear so perfectly. I hate fear. It's such a terrible thing, but once you have it, it seems like you truly can't get rid of it. Thanks for sharing so much with us today. XOXO!

Shannon said...

Well said.

Perfectly Jenn said...

You are so on point it's scary. This is one of my biggest fears as well.
Thank you for writing what you did about what you've been through. It helps to know others are in the same boat

Sarah and Stewart said...

Birds are absolutely terrifying! And I can't even think about Tuesdays With Morrie without getting upset, that might be the saddest book I've ever read.

Shanique Roca said...

I really love your post.

Deals, Steals and Heels said...

you put this so so well! for me, it hasn't been one big loss, but lots of smaller ones. when i was in elementary school, i was going to a grandparent/great grandparent funeral every year.

and i didn't go to funerals again until recently, because i had just been to SO many i felt like i was desensitized to them or something.

Claudz said...

I enjoyed Tuesday's with Morrie.
Love the rawness of your post.

Catherine said...

Thank you for this. My boyfriend lost his father just after his 17th birthday. It's a part of him that I know I can never fully understand but want so badly to grasp. I know that certain places and situations bring him back to that sad time and I'm never sure the best way to handle it or approach it. Do you have any suggestions other than what I normally do. which is usually nothing because I don't know what to say?

Andie said...

This is well said. Thank you so much for sharing, Sarah.

Courtney Buble said...

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