On Fear…

(Heads up! Another introspective post comin’ your way…)

A couple years back, I wrote somewhat exhaustively about our house being vandalized while we were out of town and it’s odd effect that it had on me. If you don’t want to wade through several archive posts of my bizarre neurosis (and who could blame you 🙂 ), then I’ll try to sum it up quickly.

Basically, after the event occurred, I became intensely paranoid/afraid of pretty much everyone who I heard outside of my house at night. Please note that this is an entirely new issue for me. I’d never had this problem before in the slightest.

So yeah. Kids zipping by on skateboard, a couple talking while walking the dog, folks having a party across the street, a car door slamming. You name it, if it occurred after the sun went down, my breath became shallow and my heart rate quickened. I didn’t want it to, in fact I always hoped it wouldn’t. But for some reason, it always just… did.

This fear lingered off and on for years (I know… crazy right?) but it lessened as more and more time passed.

As you can imagine, the whole situation was infuriating to me. I like to think I have the bulk of my mind and all of it’s idiosyncrasies in check. So to have very common, everyday situations send my emotional state into a tailspin (in my own home no less) was frustrating to say the least. When I couldn’t just “get over it”, it became alarming. Which didn’t help my emotions, which only made everything worse.

In short, I was kind of a mess for a while. To me, the whole situation was ridiculous.

Anyways, fast-forward to the present….

I did eventually “get over it” and while it took WAY longer than I ever anticipated, I learned a lot about an aspect of myself that I always new was an issue (since childhood really) but I never fully addressed: trust.

I’ve never had many close friends or confidants. This stems mostly from being burned one too many times as I kid and teenager in relationships, causing me to internalize that betrayal WAY too much (Please note, this was definitely my problem and not theirs).

That’s another topic for maybe another post but, suffice it to say, what I learned is that the fear that overtook me during the night, all stemmed from my inherent trust issues. The realization of this was incredibly liberating! I finally had something I could work on! So I did, and while it was a long, exhausting slog, in the end I learned the following:

1. That people truly are at their core, predominantly kind, giving and inherently don’t want to do anyone any harm. Are there exceptions to this point? Absolutely! But those folks don’t exist nearly as much as I once feared that they did. In hindsight, I actually knew this all along, but I didn’t TRUST this notion. I should have and now I do.

2. I own a lot of stuff and for a long time I attached a lot of pathos to these when I shouldn’t have. I did this so much that when I saw the vandalization of my home, I took it as a personal affront to me and my family. I should’ve thought “wow, the kids in my neighborhood sure were bored this weekend, let me get this cleaned up”. But I didn’t, I internalized it and let it fester.

Point blank, this notion is an incredibly stupid waste of time and energy.

Anything can be repainted, repurposed, or simply replaced. Or even better! Abandoned. Take it as a sign that you didn’t need it in the first place. Clearly that last sentence doesn’t apply to everything (we all need shelter for instance).

3. Fear, is a wonderful emotion that I love to experience and explore. It can give you strength in the moment and knowledge, born from fear, often has an infinite shelf-life.

But fear can also be poison and when it reaches that point, it’s vital that you face it head on. Address, respect and work with it. All with the soul purpose of working through it.

When you embrace fear (or any emotion for that matter) you accept it’s rightful place in your life (and trust me, it does have a place). When you do, it becomes more of a tool to live life more fully and less of an obstacle to avoid at all costs.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

So, like I said, it was a long, long road I had to travel on before I got to where I am today. But I’m here and I’m happier than I was before. I see everyone and everything worthy of eye contact and a smile now (simple acknowledgement). I actually am a lot less nervous about things in general and I find that I’m wanting to experience way more now. There’s a lot less negativity screaming through my veins.

In short, I’m grateful and more focused on the good things around me. And when you stop, breath and look around, there’s quite a lot to take in.

I’m really glad I’m not missing out on it anymore.

It’s strange (yet wonderful) to think that all of this! All of it, came from what I can imagine was a bunch of silly kids, bored out of their minds and a dozen eggs sitting in the fridge.

Waiting to be thrown at anything.

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