Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fear and Stretching


Fear. After my mother died, I had a phase of fear. At first, I started fearing fires starting in my home. Perhaps, I have always been afraid..but after she died, the fears presented themselves more vengefully. Especially fear of heights. Perhaps it is that I value life so much. I used to downhill ski. The last time I went, was during my honeymoon. I suddenly found myself hating it. I was so afraid something would happen to either my new husband or myself. There was too much to lose..The adventure of skiing wasn't worth losing something so precious that I had wanted so badly for so long.

It had been such a difficult journey..Finding the life that I wanted..Many heartaches along the way..

Having children certainly did not help lessen the anxiety.. Some people experience postpartum depression..I had postpartum anxiety after my first baby was born. I loved him soo much..I was desperately afraid he could be taken from me. Losing my own mother made me realize that death does not always follow the rules..Your parents aren't supposed to die before they meet their grand kids. I was fresh out of college when I lost my mother. It is not supposed to happen that way.

So, I have this anxiety..which is normal to some extents.. It is normal to worry when your children are sick, or try new things.. But, some of it is a little more plaguing than normal.  My heart used to literally race when my kids were on play sstructures with drop offs..I would imagine they would not pay attention and simply fall off, or be shoved off by another rambunctious child. I would watch them like a hawk. The height thing really still gets to me.

There is something about drop offs..One side you are alive, and the other, could mean death.  Precipices..fill my whole being with a surge of adrenaline..my head feels like it becomes filled with freezing air, my limbs and heart, like a sugar rush..and I can no longer think..terror, sometimes.. while everyone around me, seems happy and calm and laughing, unaware..I might smile to hide the terror..but the fear is this horribly silent invisible discomfort..

It is worst when my children are on the precipice. I have less control. I have to control the urge to grab them and pull them far away from the edge..They long to look over the side and I long to protect them.

The problem is..if we do not take risks and always give into fear, we do not experience growth.  We do not experience a full life.

I used to take many more risks as a youth than I do now. When I was young, I did not think I would get hurt, and if I did get hurt, I didn't feel anyone was depending on me. Now, there is soo much to lose..and I am responsible for 3 children.

Yet, there is a part of me, still, that has a spark of adventure..the part of me that packed up my things into a Ryder truck and drove from Ohio to Oregon alone. A part of me that climbed onto abandoned rail cars and walked on the top of them..That part of me is not dead..but it has been certainly overcome by fears the past 12 years.

Having my baby on my bike, is one of those things. It scares me.. But, I am making an honest effort to gently overcome that one. If I ride carefully, she is hopefully not going to get hurt.. I am practicing getting used to it on short rides on non busy streets..

As a teen and college student, I biked as my main transportation. I would like to get into the habit of using my bike more..And I would like to rediscover a little more of the adventurous part of myself..face the fears.. We cannot hold on too tightly. We cannot control life and death, ultimately.. And while holding on too tightly, we might lose out on experiencing the adventure.. I realize I have to loosen my grip..Life is sooo precious, but holding on too tightly does not ultimately protect me from loss. My grip is not stronger than natures..or the will of my children, or God's Will..Whatever happens, I have to believe I am strong enough to survive it..Hopefully, all will be okay.. But even if it isn't, it hopefully will be okay in a different way..

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