On Fear

never be afraid to fall apart

Honey child, this post is about to be served two-ways. We are going to go from the angle of taking a risk that has the potential to blow up in your face, and also the direction of having the guts to walk away from something that you know will cause some serious heartache. If you haven’t figured it out by now, both outcomes could leave us in a broken mess on the floor, but when talking about life and personal growth, that can be really hard to avoid.

Hope you’re hungry.

Let’s start off by discussing why this quote spoke to me in the first place. Lately (this year…), I’ve noticed that a lot of my decisions have been dictated by fear. But different than most “fears,” I’m not afraid of failure in the sense that one would fail at a new job or hobby. I have pushed through monthly chemotherapy infusions for my chronic illness, applied myself to challenges at work, and held on strong with my weekly personal training workouts, even when I just wanted to sleep until tomorrow. Where I haven’t been able to really gain stability has been in regards to challenges of the heart.

Failure to “fall apart” can manifest in many different ways. First of all, let’s say you’re in a situation where you find someone who you connect with in a way that you haven’t found in a really long time. The back and forth is easy, you make each other laugh, you understand each other intellectually and you motivate and support one another to achieve greatness. But both of you aren’t whole. One person is carrying the other along, hoping it’s enough to bring you both up to speed. Because one of you cares so deeply about the other,. you start to overlook basic needs, a respect level, and before you know it, you’re so far gone you have no idea how to get out. The red flags are everywhere, but there’s progress, and when you’re happy, you’re a “this doesn’t get any better” kind of happy. You want to jump in, dive in, head first, even though there are sharks in the water. Wait, sharks? Did somebody say sharks? Yes, sharks. But you can handle sharks, right? Just don’t think about it. You’re a strong swimmer. And if you can just swim to the other side of the pool without getting eaten alive, you could be the happiest person you’ve ever been in your entire life. But what if you don’t make it? What if you decide to go for it and you make it seconds to the finish line before getting swallowed by the first shark you snuck past when you got into the water? Are you brave for trying, or are you just insanely stupid for thinking you could just ignore the warning signs that were there right from the start?

When it comes to this scenario, the issue I’m finding for myself is that I’m standing on the ladder, getting used to the water, going one step deeper at a time, and as soon as I see a shark, I jump right the hell out of the pool, screaming, “see! I told you this was dangerous!” But then the waters calm down, and my confidence comes back a little bit more, and maybe the next attempt brings me 1/4 of the way before spotting trouble, but I still revert back to what I know – ditching the progress I’ve made in the process. As it relates to the quote, I need to figure out if getting ripped to shreds is worth what’s waiting for me on the other side and commit to that, punching some sharks in the face.

And if not, the courage to….

For me, walking away would be equally scary and anxiety ridden. If you decide that you deserve more than putting yourself through hell in order to be “happy,” it’s also a decision you have to make and really own once you’ve made it. You can’t just say, “OK fuck this, I’m not going to deal with that BS” and keep looking back wondering if you could have made it across with all your limbs. Fear on this side of the coin is actually much louder for me, because there’s nothing more that I try to avoid than emotional pain. For whatever reason, I can handle getting the shit kicked out of me at the doctor’s office, but don’t try to watch me get over someone I care about. I’m not exactly sure what scares me the most about this, but I do know that it is this fear that prevents me from taking care of my heart the way that I should.

But think about all of the possibilities that could come from biting the bullet and really just walking away with your big girl pants on. Sure, it’ll hurt. Probably a lot. OK, maybe more than a lot. But what will you really be losing? Insecurity? Doubt? Disappointment? I think the key to this avenue is probably really focusing on that “big picture” people like to reference so often. Scenario one is likely to be a little more tuned-in to instant gratification. “I’m not ready to put myself through THAT level of pain, so I’m just going to continue to hurt myself in doses at THIS level.” But maybe we can just rip off the band-aid and replace it with a clean one. Really let the wound get exposed and cleaned up and start to heal in a healthy way – one that will certainly take time, but one that has a chance nonetheless. 

So which will it be? Just go for it? Really commit to just going into war, battlewounds and all, maybe not even arriving on the other side with a heart left to beat with? Or will you be strong enough to realize that when it’s right, you won’t be the only one fighting off the sharks (if there are any). You should never have to prove anything but love, and love should not hurt like this. One day I’ll be able to take my own advice, and you will be nothing but my muse. I’m ready to fall apart.

Will you catch me?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s