Saturday, October 6, 2012

promise yourself.

October. It's my birth month, and I could use a rebirth, even as the world around me falls into rest and silence, cold and gloom. September was chilly, which seems to have hastened the onset of my winter apathy. I don't move, or breathe deeply, or play, or create. Just work, eat, sleep, repeat - all infused with a heavy dose of fear.

It hit me today, how much I've been falling again. Same old thought patterns, same old lack of faith, same old anxiety and fear. I fear everything lately. Fashion choices, food choices, work choices. What if so-and-so thinks this about me; what if such-and-such happens because of me? Nested in the couch in this afternoon, I was paralyzed by fear. Couldn't get up, couldn't start the projects I, in theory, wanted to tackle. Could barely even read a book or fix myself dinner. What if the upper pantry door hits the new light fixture when someone opens it? What if they mis-measured for the new countertops? What if the cheddar on that black bean burger from yesterday grew bacteria? What's the smell coming from the sink drain? Are those light bulbs too high-wattage?

And those are the little things, the petty things; the bigger fears lurk below. How can I go back to work next week without answers to last week's problems? Am I even in the right position? The right organization? The right field? How can I possibly manage a stressful job and a newborn? Do we have enough money? What if all I want is to stay home with my baby and never go back to work? Jumping the gun, though, because what if I can't ever get pregnant? What if I have to watch everyone around me - co-workers, parents from work, friends, family members - celebrate their pregnancies...while I can't seem to produce anything except negative pregnancy tests? (Okay, twice, but STILL.) What if that thyroid test comes back positive? Or what if it doesn't, leaving me with even more questions?

But those, too, are petty fears, in the grand scheme of things. So I balance them with bigger fears. The upcoming election. Racism. Syria and Turkey. Drugs in our schools. Poverty. Fracking. The disappearing middle class. A woman's right to choose. Serial killers. Nuclear weapons testing. Honey Boo Boo's impact on society.

Okay, so maybe I ought to turn off NPR during my morning shower. But today's revelation? The one that got me off the couch and moving again, breathing again? Here it is: Let go of the fear.

Simple. Elegant. Let go of the fear.

It's a choice, it turns out, barring any traumatic events. First of all, I could stand to release some of the self-importance I seem to have accidentally acquired. No one really gives a shit about me - and I mean that in the best possible way. My loved ones and not-so-loved ones, they care if I'm around, if I'm generally healthy and happy, sure. But truly, no one cares about my backsplash quandary. Or that I pretty much wear the same two pairs of jeans all fall, winter, and spring. Or how I'm going to improve summer camp for next year. Or my pregnancy projections, or my career path, or my vegetarianism. The freedom in understanding that no one cares is knowing now that these things affect me, and only me. No need for martyrdom and for searching out the ripple effects, real or imagined, of my daily decisions.

As for the actions I take that do affect others - primarily work-related actions - well, again, fear is a choice. So far, making decisions (or avoiding decisions) because of fear isn't working very well for me. Anxiety freakin' overload. Being an October baby, I'm blessed with the Libran gift/curse of constantly weighing all the options and trying to balancing everyone's needs. It's impossible, it contributes to the inflated sense of self, and it's too much. Too much fear.

So here's my birthday gift to myself: Fear-Free October. I promise to spend the month being conscious of when fear is stopping me, motivating my choices, or taking over my brain - and then telling it to fuck off. It makes poetic sense, too, given that fear is part of October culture (Halloween and all its trappings). I like poetic crap like that. 

I think I finally understand the quote, "There's nothing to fear but fear itself." Rather than cultivating fear and allowing it to be my guide, I'm going to spend the month shutting it down as it exists in my daily life. Because what I fear most of all is living a life from which fear has sucked all the energy and fullness. That's not what life is about. You take it as it comes, day by day, and then you focus on hope when being in the moment is too scary.

Also? Find a swing on a beach. Magic.

There's a freeze warning for my town tonight. Here, the trees are at their autumn peak: still full, but just raging with color. I'll breathe them in, breathe it all in. Winter is only winter; spring and rebirth will follow again, every time. The daily allotment of sunlight is waning for now, but the light will return. 

My light, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...