Things are hard and scary for me again. More change. More uncertainty. My old worst friends- fear and doubt- come busting through the door bringing along helpless/hopeless with them.
I am so annoyed by their presence. “You are stealing a perfectly beautiful day,” I think. It’s date night and I want to be happy and carefree and able to sink in to my husband’s company. I groan inside thinking about being shoved into what is the emotional equivalent of a wet pair of jeans. “Not today,” I beg. Please.
I cross my arms and furrow my brow. I don’t know if I’m more irritated with the setback or sinking feeling I can’t seem to shake. As I stare stubbornly out the window at my office, a different thought comes to mind. A rebellious thought. A bossiness:
I’m not willing to define myself by what I’m afraid is going to happen to me.
It seems simple, but I can almost feel the shift inside. I’m not willing to focus in with laser precision on all the ways I could go wrong. I’m not willing to build a cage out of fear and doubt and then crawl inside and snuggle up to helplessness and despair. I’m not going to feed that fear.
If I’m totally honest with myself, the worst case scenario isn’t that bad. I won’t say that loss would be easy, but I know it would be survivable. The sun will most certainly rise tomorrow. My family will still be here. I will still have the mountains and the trails and the rivers. I will still be me.
There are certain things life can take away from me. There are more important things that I can never lose- unless I am foolish enough to give them up. Hiding from fear slowly shrinks the boundaries of my life. If I am too afraid to fail, or too afraid to lose, I start to box myself in. I feed my hard won energy into escaping a beast that may not even be coming for me. Building him up and powering him forward.
It may be true that parts of my life are still teetering on the edge, but really, I won’t outrun the danger by getting cozy with it. I will outrun and outlast it by being creative, by opening my mind and giving myself the energy and the permission to do something about it. I’ve noticed how draining it is to be scanning the horizon for danger. It doesn’t leave a lot of energy for getting off the ground.
Right now, I feel my life will go where I direct my thoughts and my energy. This is hard, no doubt. It is actively rewiring the way I think about things and taking steps toward confidence and bravery that I don’t necessarily feel ready for. But no one is going to do this for me. If I want to recover from the tailspin, I can’t zoom in on the ground. I’ve got to pull back, look up, and work hard at changing course.
Shoulders back, kid, it’s time to fly.
Give ‘Em Hell