What am I afraid of?
I ask this to myself, and I can come up with likely infinite answers.
There’s the superficial layer: heights, spiders, snakes, the sun (yeah, good thing I’m out here going hiking in Australia eh? Ha.).
I could take it one level deeper: I’m afraid of rejection, the unknown, losing control.
And then I could go one step further than that, and acknowledge that what I am absolutely terrified of is happiness. Of actually achieving what I want, and I mean that in the truest sense, in all facets of my life.
Sounds kind of fucked up right? But it – operative word – feels like there’s an inherent risk that if I have it, it can be taken away. This is because I have come to know that things can be taken from people in brutal, painful and unfair ways. I’m absolutely terrified of that.
Is it easier to be alone so you don’t have to face the inevitable pain of losing the one you love? Is it preferred to stay in sickness for fear of not knowing who you are (or who you may be) in health?
The obvious thing I’ve come to recognize about fear is it’s roots in trauma. It comes fully loaded and equipped with ‘tangible’ evidence to prove to you why it should exist, and why you should hang onto it. It comes with the classic, “see, I told you so,” should you ever try to defy it and wind up with a similar result.
But what if it’s wrong? What if the data, that evidence, is flawed or outdated or we misunderstood it to begin with? What if you can handle the outcome, even if it doesn’t turn out how you’d hoped? What if the fear is just a reaction to circumstance, and not actually an indication that you need to do anything at all – at least not with the immediacy in which it presents itself?
I think many (all?) of us go through life harbouring fear in ways that we may not even realize we are manifesting. I’m obviously a flight risk in response to much of it. Get me. THE FUCK. Out of here. Wherever “here” (aka discomfort) may be.
And in light of yet another story resulting in a blue bruise on my hopeful heart, I’m trying to recognize that my fears of being who I am – saying too much or too little or being this way or that – is so incredibly exhausting that in the midst of trying to navigate it all, I compromise what’s actually in front of me. I distract myself from moments of honest vulnerability in order to “protect” myself (because that is what my fears are telling me to do), but you know what I want to get better at saying to that? I want to not only say, but mean, “I hear you, I see you, and I know you’re trying to help. But I don’t need your help. I don’t need your protection, I’ve got this.”
I am clearly a work in progress. I have nowhere near perfected how to actualize the things I’m able to identify when I put pen to paper (finger to keyboard), but I’m trying. And I think that’s all I want anyone to know who may need to hear it. That trying is, for right now, enough.
So, my response is Flight but I’ll frame it more in the sense of spreading my butterfly wings to fly, vs. running away. I’m going to jump on the road again sooner than planned. Pivot, re-direct and move on in my ‘expedition happiness.’
For now I’ll simply do what I think I need to in order to keep discovering, keep exploring, playing, seeing, creating and learning.
Counting down a few more weeks now until I once again live the vagabond life where freedom is the miles I’ll be rolling on.