I’m a very fearful person. I try hard not to be. But I am. I’m not sure how I turned into such a nervous nelly, but I do think my aunt and her scary stories about La llorona (ask your Mexican friends) may have had a hand in it. Or growing up before movie ratings in the 70s-80s. Either way, I remember looking for makeshift weapons out of nearby objects, just in case my fears were realized. At least I wasn’t paralyzed by fear. I was going to take someone out with me.
When I got older my fears turned more into losing people I loved. I lost relatives, ones I really cared about when I was little. Then my sister, when I was 10. So it’s safe to say I spent from 10 to 20 preparing myself for the worst case scenario. Death. I’ll admit I sucked the fun out of a lot of Friday nights out with friends.
When I was old enough to realize my dad smoked an unhealthy amount, I seriously panicked. I was gonna lose my dad! It was just a matter of time! Well, duh, but I was a kid, you know. I nagged him constantly. But mostly I just worried and mentally prepared. I just was so terrified of even the thought, it was the only way to control it.
It’s so silly looking back on it. I wasted so much energy. (I was a weird kid.) And when he was finally truly ill, only two decades later, ha… I had had 25 years to know exactly how to deal with it, right?! No. Well, not initially. I’m actually surprisingly level headed in crisis. …But after. Total basket case. As if it were a shock, I was stunned by the intensity of grief.
I’ve been told I’m brave and strong a few times lately, and it always strikes me as funny. I’m really not, but I can be. I guess. I can do what’s needed anyway. I like being productive and I like a plan. All I know is I was so strong for my dad during the most painful situations. I never batted an eye. We giggled and made light of a situation that was beyond us. We did the work, then…I cried for my dad like I was being cut open, when I had to say goodbye. I lost every shread of self control…for about 5 minutes. All the preparing did nothing for the rawness of feeling helpless.
I know I will face more hardships ahead. I’m dealing with some bumps in the road now. And I can be sensible and optimistic and as long as I can make a plan I can feel strong. That feeling, albeit probably false, makes me feel in control, and the fear has to wait. So if that’s brave, then ok.
So I guess I’m still that same kid who fears. But I try not to let them rule me. I really do try to stop the mental spiral that fires up all my engines. I want to relax and enjoy more. I’m getting better at it, believe it or not. It only took me 4 decades, but I’m getting a handle on being me finally. And when the inevitable happens, like it does: death and taxes, as they say. Well, worrying about it isn’t going to change anything. That’s what I keep telling myself. 🙂
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