Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Truth About F.E.A.R.

by Cheryl L. Hardy 

I was having "coffee talk" with my group buddy, Wes. We both work virtually, so it works for us. Literally one will call the other and say "meet me at Bucks in twenty." Isn't it funny how the Universe tosses you a lifeline every time you ask for one?

Last night, in the wee hours between night and daybreak I was in jeopardy of losing it. Pacing. Wringing my hands. Anxiety had me in its vice-like grip and I was struggling for air.

I started off praying when I felt fear slip beneath my covers and rest its head beside mine. I turned away from it and let my eyes stare out the window. I wondered why people want to make it sound so simple. I wondered why it felt like the world was laughing at my inability to get it. I marveled at how simple people can make it all seem.

I prayed for help. I prayed for exactly what I wanted. Then I quickly recanted and thought perhaps I had asked for too much, so I replaced it with something far more noble, but considerably less authentic. Then I got angry.

Hadn't I asked for all this before? Fear raised its head and said softly, "It's time boys." And it attacked. Within moments I was writhing in angst.

What if I had made a mistake?
Had I let people push me into a decision I was not ready to make?
Was I the only one feeling completely alone? Lost? Confused?
Was it all my fault?
Did I do this all to myself?
Had I been as stupid as I have been informed I was—for so long?
Did I imagine—everything?
Was I loved?
Had I ever been?
Would I ever be?
Was anyone seeing me?

I got up from the bed, paced my bedroom. Fear was beating on my back. Turning lights on, I tried to distract myself by taking actions. Meaningless activities on an invisible timeline. I stopped myself. I've been here way too many times before.

Sit with it.

And so I went into the living room, and crumpled on the floor in my favorite blanket. And I just let it be. I let it ache. I scribbled angry words on a tear-stained journal page. I underlined. I emphasized. I said every hateful thing I could think of. And then I let it sink in.

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

I sighed. Drowsy, I climbed on the couch, and reflected again. I separated fact from fiction. I reminded myself that no matter the final destination, the steps I had taken HAD to happen—for either end result to manifest.

Until the moment I spoke those words of truth aloud I had been frozen. Immobilized by my imagination's perception of what was to come. But now the action had been taken, with reverse just not an option. I reminded myself, the hardest step had already been taken.

Fear told me I would not survive. Fear told me I would never crack a smile again. Fear told me I had made the biggest mistake of my life.

Reality told me something different. Reality told me I was brave. Reality told me I had just taken a huge step towards loving myself in a completely new and beneficial way. Reality told me it didn't really matter what anyone thought of my decisions or the choices I make because they don't have to walk in my shoes. Reality said, you have endured worse pain than this, even if it doesn't feel like that in this moment.

I had asked God for clarity, for peace. Hours later, recounting the story, Wes demonstrated the additional part of the gift. Wes reminded me that I had taken back the control of my life. And he went about ticking off the list of things I had set in motion by facing my fear. He reminded me of each and every event that proved the opposite of what fear insisted was truth. And I remembered just how strong I have been.

And how much stronger I get, every day.

You truly do get what you ask for.