Warning – this post will be very raw and may contain items that people find offensive but they will be true from my point of view and memory.
When I was small, fear helped keep me safe. I didn’t touch the space heater because I didn’t want to get burned (again). I stayed quiet and played contently because I saw what happened to my older brother when he broke the rules and I did not want to get spanked. Fear stopped climbing trees after falling through a weak bough and landed on my back. I thought I was going to die. I hurt everywhere. I only sprained my elbow….thankfully….but it was my right arm and I am right handed and I was starting Kindergarten the following week. (yes, the run on sentence is on purpose)
Fear also stopped me in some bad ways.
I didn’t want to get in trouble so I didn’t tell that an older child was touching me and making me touch them in ways that were dirty. I didn’t want to get spanked for doing those dirty things. This fear allowed it to go on for several years.
Fear of being alone developed early too. I woke up in the middle of the night and went to get comfort from mom or dad. Mom and Dad couldn’t be found. I ran through the house crying , searching. I went outside…no cars in the driveway. Turns out Mom was still at work and Dad went to get gas in his car while we were all asleep. Nothing nefarious but scared me and scarred me for a really long time.
Fear that at the age of 8 I was bad and caused my parents divorce. I know that sounds cliche but remember I had been doing those dirty things and I just knew this was all my fault. That older child had warned me. I didn’t listen. I tried to tell Mom and Dad about it and then BAM! they were getting divorced.
Fear had me consumed that my younger sister’s well being was all on me. She was 4 years younger. I had to protect her from that older child. After the divorce I had to make sure we got on the school bus and into our apartment after school. I had to make sure we were out of our uniforms and doing school work. Fear made sure I complied because I did not want to lose my Mom’s love and trust. This consumption of protecting my sister would last well into our 20’s.
Fear of being alone was reinforced when I lost my Dad when I was 13 years old. It had to be my fault. I wasn’t good enough. God took him to show me I was going to be alone and no one would love me like my Dad did. The fear of not being loved led to me make some not so great choices. A boy I had been crushing on since the school year prior finally noticed me and asked me to “go out” with him. Back then that was what dating was called. 13 years old, super cute guy interested in me, I was looking to fill the void of the loss of Dad. This guy knew it. He was also 13. It started out fine within a few weeks he began to hurt me by holding me down and threatening me. I didn’t fight back. Fear kept me paralyzed. We had sex. This just reinforced that I was bad and no one would love me. I don’t remember how we “broke up” but thankfully we did.
However, this began a trend of what I know call monkey barring through boyfriends. Between the age of 13 and 15, I had a total of 8 boyfriends. Some only a couple of weeks….some several months. All but 1 was a bad choice. Fear kept me with each and to move right onto the next. Fear also drove the final boyfriend choice of my teen years. At age 15, I met the guy that I would marry at age 19.
In the four years before we got married, there were plenty of signs that this was going to be a train wreck. Fear kept me with him. He always told me he loved me. He stuck up for me. He also belittled me. He was always with me. He monopolized my time. I couldn’t leave….he loved me. He said he would take care of me. Bam! I was married at age 19.
Fear kept me married from 1994-2003. I knew his drinking was out of control. Fear had me thinking I could help him stop and prove everyone wrong. I knew his mental health was getting worse. Fear had me bending over backwards to “fix” him. If I left, where would I go? Who would love me? In 1999, I became pregnant. I knew I should leave and raise the baby alone. Fear played with my head and said, “you will be alone. No one will help you. How can you do this alone?”
Fear helped me leave him though in 2003. When my daughter was 2 years old, the doctors believed she may be autistic. Fear that something was wrong with my little girl began to fuel me to make some positive changes. We were in such a quagmire that it took almost two years to untangle it all and get us away from him. Fear for her well being fueled me.
I have worked very hard over the last 15+ years to heal the fear. I wanted to be in charge of it instead of the other way around. It was hard. It was scary. It was a very long process. I still grapple with it.
Fear of living my senior (golden) years as I see my Mom living hers fueled me to start straightening out my financial life. I am working too hard now to live a life where I have to choose between medicine and food. I am working too hard to not feel secure that I will have a roof over my head that I can feel safe in.
Fear is trying really hard right now to take back over with the uncertainty in the world right now due to COVID-19. Fear of what will come next. Fear of what will the world look like. Fear has me thinking, “have all my efforts been in vain?”
Fear also has me trying really hard to NOT go into depression. Fear used to lead me down that path. Now, I am using Fear as a guide to avoid it. Fear has me grounding myself in raw data. Fear has me looking at the big picture of life.
Fear has a new meaning for me: Face Everything And Rise