Fear, what have you done for me lately?

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October’s theme was to write about what scares us.

To write about fear, I must return to a time when I was afraid of almost everything.

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As a child I was afraid of the dark, literally jumping into bed at night for fear of whatever was living under my bed only at the time I had to get in bed... I was easily pranked and have never experienced the shrieking bliss that some feel when entering a haunted house... I never liked rollercoasters no matter how fun the ride and would happily stand on the side lines holding bags and jackets, capturing the giddily terrified faces of my peers before stepping foot on the madness...I’ve been afraid of dying, but currently feel peace regarding my mortality. Experiencing new things has always been daunting but feel I was balanced in the risk-taking and side-skirting I managed throughout childhood into adolescence. Being a young teen/teenager is scary; teenagers are still scary. But this is not the time of which I am referring. I was generally pretty confident as a kid, but I was afraid a lot. I just always had someone supporting me through it. It wasn’t until I was 20, attending the wake of my fallen identity, that reality really felt scary.

Following the exodus of a toxic relationship, I was for the first time realizing what it felt like to be ripped away from the codependency I’d participated in for the four years previously.  I was claustrophobic and frantic - suffocated by crowded public spaces, always aware of where the exit was, and generally feeling nervous amidst daily interactions. I tried anxiolytics and alcohol -  both coated the fear but never rid it. It was on several airplane trips when I decided I’d finally had enough of it- told myself I was gonna have to get over it. At some point I was gonna have to be okay on my own. Without the assistance of a biochemical security blanket, if I was to be there for myself, I was gonna have to step it up.

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During that time, I was riddled with anxiety. Couldn’t take a step outside without fearing the ground I walked upon. Tipping toes in depths too dark to see; cascades of shivers sparkled through my body. Solidifying my feet to stone, I was crippled by its hold. Resenting the person I’d become, however, forward-looking I was still. Knowing I was going in the right path as long as I straightened my back. Never turning around to question if I’d made it right; the decision had to happen, couldn’t stay locked in that fight. Circling, cycling, spinning myself dizzy; I was intoxicated by its viciousness; swore it was I who indeed deserved this.

However, it was this that deserved me. Opening the gate I set myself free, closing it behind me, I never waited or wondered what might have been had I stayed/not worth the time that I wasted

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What’s with this shit, this feeling in the pit

My stomach aches with the nagging of your opinions, your discounted justifications

Felt pathetic putting up with it

Tag lines listing reasons I should be on my own

I no longer roam alone

I made a best friend out of my disorderly twin

The person in the mirror serving swirls of sins

Slurring speeches of immeasurable wins

Thinking I had it figured out

Just then

Overcome by doubt

Self-loathing taking over

How could I lose my sighting

Miserably misfitting my timing

Undoubtedly missing my firing

Squad goals wont happen without some self-accounted action 

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Stepping out now, I don’t fear like I used to. No longer petrified, I’ve loosened my footing on the feeling of permanence in a situation of the same temporary importance as any other moment. Occasional bouts of panic or anxiety may occur, but nothing near the crippling sensation of those first feeble steps on my own. Learning how to walk again, I had to roll my shoulders up, back and down again, loosening the tension, that pent up aggression, that toxic masculinity among many other traits of putridity; masks of massive virility.

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 The simultaneous pull, division of mourning and revitalized independence no longer stretches me. With each leap I am strengthened, catalyzed in thanks and perplexion. Where I used to second-guess and make a mess of my thought process, I practice saying “yes” and taking chances.

 

Guarded, I am cautious

Borderline obnoxious

Never letting fear prevent me from experiencing joy

Calculated risks taken more easily

The real me is not lost at sea or stapled feet

Finally, I am free to wander.

Aimlessly at first, curiosity cradled me

Coaxed the edges of the uncomfortable feat

Of being true to me and ignoring that which is not serving.

Keeping a piece of my peace-seeking grief

To remind myself how far not to let myself sink.

In water I wade, strong body elevates

Feet propel me forward, I’ve learned to rely on their boyancy

Trusting their ability to carry me

Toward progress I am leaning  

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Nat Davis1 Comment