What are we so afraid of?

What is with all the fear?

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There is a lot of be afraid of.

As we all know, there this virus going around.  And that virus has the potential to kill you.

And it seems like every day the news changing it’s story about the virus.  And as each day passes, the headlines become scarier.  And the messages are mixed.  Can anyone keep any of it straight anymore?

We fear for our health and we fear for our livelihoods.

And now it looks like 2020 is going to be the worst hurricane season ever.

And just when things couldn’t get any worse, we now have “Murder Hornets”.

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No wonder why we are scared.  Hurricanes are scary.  Any kind of flying insect with a stinger is scary, even those without the word “murder” in their name.

But have we stopped and asked us why we are so scared.

My daughter is scared of bugs.  It doesn’t matter what kind of bug.  She’s even afraid of ants.

I am not going to lie.  I don’t love bugs.  They make me uncomfortable.  But I deal with them.

My daughter is also afraid of various Disney villains and she is afraid of the dark.

I fear oompa loompas.  They make me extremely uncomfortable and totally give me the heebie jeebies.   Bryon enjoyed scaring me with that one.  One time when I was in the bathroom, he took my phone and changed my wallpaper to a picture of an oompa loompa.  So poor, unsuspecting me picked up my phone and saw that. I screamed.  I then put a lock on my screen.

There is a lot of things in this world to be afraid of.  And quarantine and the news and all the certainty is exacerbating our fears.

To be clear- I am not telling you to not to be concerned about the virus.  Your level of concern is up to you to assess and decide what your level of fear is.  Especially since I can’t write a post that is perfectly tailored to be perfectly applicable to everyone.  If you live in a place that is a COVID-19 hotspot, then you are going to be more fearful of catching it than someone who is not in a COVID-19 hotspot.

As the writer of this blog post, I have to trust you, the reader, to make your own decision about your feelings.  And that is how it should be.  As the reader, you need to take from this blog post what resonates with you and leave what doesn’t resonate.  Partially resonating is cool too.

One thing I do not talk about on this blog much is the fact that I am more into New Age thinking.  I don’t talk about it because I fear what people may think of me.  It’s not what Catholics do.  But I have issues with Catholicism and all organized religion at the moment.  But I will be clear, while I may roll my eyes at some of the hypocrisy I see, I am not an Atheist.  But this is all for another post at another time.

So try to follow me.  I am more New Agey now.  I do believe we are all energy.  The cool thing is that since we are all energy, we never truly die, which I know because I feel Bryon’s energy at time.  I keep my beliefs to myself because I am fearful of what people will think of them. Which is stupid.

Most of us have probably felt or been recipients to positive energy and negative energy.

The emotions we feel have energy.

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The energy we have affects ourselves and those around us.  Our energy can also be affected by those around us.  Raising your energy is your responsibility but it will help out those around you as well.

At the very least, people won’t be saying you are a bitch when you leave the room.

I kid.  I am sure if you are great and those people were blaming you and resorting to name calling.  I got your back.

If you notice on the bottom, there are contracted energy.  Emotions like Shame, Guilt, Apathy, Grief and Fear are all contracted energy.  We are not living to our fullest potential when we are in those emotions.

Let’s quickly go up the scale.

Shame.  The lowest energy.

I did a lot of soul searching after Bryon died.  I stumbled on this Ted Talk with Brene Brown and it changed my life.

 

Watch it.  It may change your life.

I then wanted to read every book Brene Brown wrote.  I started with The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are.  The link is an Amazon Affiliate link.  I read alot and I have always been afraid to make money with book recommendations.  It’s silly.  Why should I be afraid of that?

I have since read everything that Brene Brown has written.  I have watched her special on Netflix.  I hope I can see her talk in person.

But after I watched that initial Ted Talk, I felt free to feel vulnerable. The biggest piece I got was that you can’t be vulnerable without courage.

I have felt shame in life.  I have never felt good enough.  I was never smart enough, pretty enough, or thin enough.  Shame caused me to build walls and Brene has helped me tear some down.  I am still working on others though.

Guilt and apathy are definitely emotions I have dealt with.  Survivors guilt is real.

Grief…more than half this blog is about grief.  I don’t think I need to prove it’s real.

Then we get to fear.

While one can cause a person to feel shame or guilt, I feel like fear is easily manipulated by other people.  People can incite fear in you.

Heck, some of your fears may not actually be your fears.  You may have learned those fears.

Another question to ask is if someone wants you to be fearful, especially if they gain from you being fearful.  Maybe you have a friend who tears you down to lower your self confidence and that makes you fearful to take chances in your life.  Your friend may want to keep you down because they are afraid you will make other friends or that you may outshine them.  I don’t know.  Really, if your friend does that, you probably need a new friend.

It’s okay to feel fear from time to time but is fear taking over your life?

So if you feel like you are playing into the feeling of fear, it might be a good idea (just a suggestion) to try to understand why you are afraid and see if it’s something that can be addressed and rectified.   Especially, because fear is keeping you from being the best version of you.  We all deserve to at our best.

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Farewell 2018: Leaving behind fear

 

One of the biggest obstacles about moving forward is the fear.

Fear?  What fear?

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Fear of letting go.

Fear of things not going the way I expect.

fear of life feeling empty.

Fear that I will never be understood.

Fear of re-acclimating.

Fear that I will forget.

I have discussed in this blog about how I am currently in what I think of as “Phase III” of my grief journey.

To give a refresher-

Phase I: The first 3-6 months of widowhood.  My whole world was shattered and I am trying to figure out what the f*ck just happened to my life.  Getting out of bed and showering are a struggle.

Phase II: The period between 3-6 months and about two years.  It was the phase where I had to accept that Bryon was gone and I needed to get used to him being gone.

And now I am in Phase III.

Phase III is the phase where I need to move forward with my life.

It’s not just enough to visualize it or talk about it.

I need to do it.

I know I need to do this but there is always something holding me back.

I am excited.

But there are these fears that hold me back.

The fear that if I move forward, then I will have to let go of Bryon.  Of course, I will never completely let go but taking those first few steps are the hardest.

The fear to be hopeful because you don’t want to be disappointed.

The fear that my new life will be unfulfilling?

I need to leave these fears in 2018.

If I bring them with me, they will prevent me from achieving my dreams.

So fear much be put on the imaginary Viking Funeral Ship, set on fire and set off.

What fears are you leaving behind in 2018?

Margaritas, guacamole, money and a thunderstorm

Why am I writing about margaritas, guacamole, money and a thunderstorm? Because that is my present.  At least, it was 5 hours ago.  One of my best friends and I went to a favorite Mexican restaurant Ama Cocina tonight.  My daughter came too.  She was, as another friend would say, living her best life possible.  She was double-dipping those chips, grabbing items out of my taco (she prefers the deconstructed taco) and she was running around the table.  I did not approve of her acting like that in a restaurant and I had exhausted all the toys in my bag of tricks so I half jokingly told her I would give her a dollar if she sat still in her seat.  It worked.  I gave her the dollar which she happily took and said “It’s MY money.”  This must be how capitalists are born.

I have never been a person that has been good at being present.  I usually like to stress about the future or dwell on the past and constantly wonder what if.  I missed out on enjoying a lot of life’s precious moments because of this.  But no matter how bad things were, when I looked into the future, it was brighter.  Maybe that represented some sort of escapist hope.

When Bryon got sick, I had no choice but to live in the present.  I didn’t want to think about the future because when I did, I knew that there was a chance he wouldn’t be there or he would have lasting health problems if he was.  I remember stressing out one day because I was concerned that if he recovered, he might never regain his strength and what if he couldn’t storm into a court room?  He would be miserable.  He was such a strong person, mentally and physically.

During Bryon’s five months in the ICU, I didn’t spend much time looking ahead.  There were too many times that he went into shock and too many times where he came close to dying.  Obviously my end goal was for him to get out of the ICU, whether it was a step down unit (we were close a couple of times) or directly to rehab and then home.  But so much could go wrong and he was so sick that for the first time in my life, I had to live day by day.

I remember feeling so overwhelmed at this new reality.  Overnight I had gone from being part of a two person team who took care of a small child to be one person solely responsible for myself, a critically ill husband and a small child.  Bryon took care of so much.  He made sure the bills got paid and had spreadsheets that organized everything.  I knew he scheduled many payments in advance through our bank account but a few weeks into his illness, I finally had to face reality that I needed to figure out which bills had been paid.  Everything was now my responsibility.  I had to call the bank because I didn’t remember my password.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I logged into our bank account.  Then I had to figure out all the passwords.  I know I reset a bunch of them in the process.  I remember telling Bryon that I probably made a mess of the bills but they were paid and if I forgot one, then I am sure that they would find us.

I was overwhelmed.  I had no idea how long Bryon was going to be in the hospital.  Then there was talk that they would send him to Springfield, MA for rehab which is an hour and a half away and I panicked because I needed to be present to view all of his medical care and there would be no way I could do that and keep my daughter’s life as normal as possible here in Albany.  There would be no way I could afford all that gas.  But all that panicking was for nothing because Bryon never made it to rehab.

There were so many times during those months where I didn’t know how I was going to do it.  I couldn’t work so I wasn’t getting paid.   I had no idea how long my present was going to last.  And I had no idea what our future was going to look like.  I started thinking about what modifications that were going to be needed in our house and our lifestyle.  I started looking into specialists in Boston and New York for his conditions.  Not just specialists to get him well, but specialists who could manage any long term effects.  I started wondering if we should move closer to New York to be closer to better healthcare.  Boston would not be an option because Bryon was not admitted in the Massachusetts Bar.  The fact that this lifelong Red Sox fan was willing to move so close to the heart of the Evil Empire shows how dedicated I was to Bryon’s care.  But I spent a long time planning for a future that would never happen.

I somehow survived those months.  My family, friends and even some complete strangers made sure I survived.

Now I am in the future that I couldn’t think about.  My best friend in high school had a favorite quote that said “today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.”  She had no idea who said it,  she saw it on a calendar somewhere.  A quick google search 20 years later tells me that Dale Carnegie once said that.  Frankly I don’t like thinking about the future because no matter what I envision, Bryon is not there.  Yes, I have my daughter but all I see are moments where Bryon should be there.  I have no long term plan and no long term goals.  I have an idea what I want to do with my life but no clear goals as to how to achieve it.   So when I am sad about the present, I can’t escape into the future.  I try to escape to the past but lately, the days in the hospital have been on the forefront my mind.

So now I live in the present even if it can be painful at times.  I drink a lot of iced coffee and read a lot of books to my daughter.  I spend times with my girls and my Albany family and I see my biological family as often as I can.  I write.  I cook.  I run.  I read.  I travel.  And I will continue to do so until the future I dread so much becomes my present.