Thursday, February 23, 2012

Musing: Fear, Love and Chess...?

There was once a time where I was fearless. I would get on a bike, knowing I would be almost magnetically drawn to the one pole/ditch/bench/object in the area, fall and scrap something, and yet I'd do it anyway. There was a time when I was fearless, and wrote a boy in my class a love poem, because he told me he thought it was cool that I read above our grade's reading level by at least 4 grades. I used to be fearless once.

When my Dad left my Mom, I thought I handled it well. My dad was my best friend in the world at the time, and all I knew for sure were the three of us (and my dog Lucky) and suddenly I didn't have that knowledge any more and couldn't be sure of the ground I stood on, much less the people in my life. And now that I think on it, that's when I started to become afraid, not only of doing things away from my two people but of life in general.

So between the ages of twelve and eighteen I was existing in this world; life was happening to me, and I didn't really have any feelings about it. Point of fact, all I was interested in during those years was falling in love, and being somebody's everything and having something, some love, that I felt was lacking. And I looked in all the wrong places for that validation. Once I hit nineteen, for the first time in life I lived exclusively with my Dad. I stayed with him no more than two years all together.

When I was nineteen I fell in love with this guy who could never and would never love me back. I spent the better part of my year or so knowing him trying to force myself to be what he liked, force myself thinner, prettier, funnier, anything so that he would see things the way I did, so that he would see me as a woman who could love him. And then I spent the next two years learning to trust myself again, and forgive my foolish heart for not taking the hints that were given; I spent those years undoing all the damage that he and I caused myself.

Over time I've become fearful. I fear not having things as much as I do having them. I fear making friends, as because of my nomadic past I have a tendency to pull away from people once I feel like I'm no longer needed or that I may be moving. I fear not being near either of my parents, because to me they (and W) are all I've got. I fear falling in love again because the first time was disastrous and took me so long to come back from, and I still feel like I'm missing pieces from it.

But I can't let fear govern my moves anymore. Life is scary. You fall in love and you don't know how or when or why but you do, and for someone not knowing how and not having answers that could be terrifying. You find a new job that you're not sure you're even qualified for, where it seems everyone, including you are expecting you to fail. You make a move that's so out of character for you, you question your own mind and intentions. Life is scary, but not living it would be the real nightmare.

Not taking those leaps when they present themselves is short changing yourself, psyching yourself out into believing that, for whatever reason, you don't deserve or wouldn't know what to do with those things that you crave and that you do, indeed, deserve.

I keep thinking that I confronted my fears on a snowy day in Fayetteville, that the day my heart was broken was the day I came face to face with my worse fears and overcame them. Only now do I realize that fear still hides behind my advice to others, my cautious way of living, my unusually tough walls to get behind. I give the veneer of being shy and reserved, but the fact is I'm amazingly outgoing...once I stop being afraid of you. And I'd never realized it until, once again, I got overwhelmed with feelings of missing home, and remembering that crazy dude who didn't realize that he'd broken me. I got caught up in the 'what if' game of these new things I'm attempting, this new life I'm trying to forge for myself. And I cry when I get overwhelmed which makes me feel really...girly; more than one emotion at a time and I'm pretty much putty that's another blog for another time.

Fear of rejection. Fear of pain. Fear of losing things you hold close to your heart. We've all got them, and we all process them differently. I forget that not dealing with them doesn't make them go away, rather for me they make them all the more tangible. As a woman who's going through this inner change into who I'm meant to be, I neglected working through my fears as I figured you grow out of those, right? You grow out of not being picked first for the teams, and the teasing, and whatever else made you fearful as a kid...right? No, fear is something that'll grow within you if you let it.

So my sage words for today are diminish the fear. Everything you do is going to have risks and consequences, and anything you think you deserve is going to take sweat and tears and work. Not taking those risks to avoid those consequences cheat you out of the rewards. Letting fear rule you makes you a pawn on the chess board of life when you should be the Queen (or King), the piece that makes all the moves, the most valuable piece on the board. That's not to say be hasty and just move your Queen around whilly-nilly, but recognize the good before it's too late. Don't let the fear of losing the Queen piece cost you the entire game.

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