We had just arrived after a six hour road trip from Central California to Redondo Beach in Los Angeles. Set timer on phone go home, Greyson requested. I have to work to separate his fear from my own, sometimes I feel it so big. I try to do the math backwards- ummmm- I think that will be a 16 hour timer?
Elenor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” Fear is required- a characteristic that keeps us safe and alive, warning us to potential harm. However my anxiety is able to paint even the most innocuous in a bright color of fear.
THAT'S A BAD IDEA!
THAT ISN'T SAFE
YOU CAN'T DO THAT.
YOU WILL LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT
Sometimes inner me is the wettest blanket.
My first instinct regarding the unknown, the never done before, the new to me things- is fear. I like to honor the fear and then shove it into a box out of my view. Yes, it’s there, but let’s not focus on it- k? I realized recently how quickly you can accumulate boxes.
When it comes to humaning, I like to take inventory, and examine limitations that hold me back from the life I know the real me can and should be living. I often hold anxiety with shame- like I SHOULDNT be so weak, or chicken shit, or negative, or let it affect my life so so dearly. I can make a trip to the grocery store stressful (should I go now or Tuesday? Before or after I drop off the boys? Can I wait until Thursday? What if we run out of turkey?) My monkey mind spins constantly, its hard to shut it off to relax.
For the first time, probably since Grey was 2 years old, the boys are free from therapy on Fridays. I knew I wanted to take advantage of that time off, and I thought about visiting my friend Wendy. She moved into her house three years ago, and I still hadn't seen it. Cue the insessant thinking... (Take the boys away for a night, don't let your fear limit them! What if she's busy? I don't want to ask her if I can stay at her house if it's going to inconvenience her. What if we get into a car accident? We can't drive 10+ hours in a little over a day. Can I keep track of both boys?! Grey will hate not being at home.)
My new thing is, instead of letting that inner voice decide things for me- I instead ask- What would I tell my friend in the same situation to do? I give much better advice to friends than I do to myself. So, from that headspace I texted Wendy. And the next thing you know, we were on our way.
We listened to John Mayer on the way... The song Clarity felt like our road trip anthem...
I worry, I weigh three times my body
I worry, I throw my fear around
But this morning
There's a calm I can't explain
The rock candy's melted
Only diamonds now remain
The older we get, the less willing we are to be uncomfortable. I watched my boys in the freezing ocean until 9pm at night. How can they stand it? Wendy and I discussed while we curled into ourselves, teeth chattering.
Parker’s blue lips reminded me - they FEEL the cold, but the joy of the adventure is greater than the fear or pain it might also bring. At what age does that scale flip? No- I’m too cold. It’s too late. It’s too expensive. It’s too dangerous. I’m too tired. No one will come. I'll look like a fool. What if I fail?
By the time I recognize this moment
This moment will be gone
But I will bend the light pretending
That it somehow lingered on
I bring a load of stuff to my car as we get ready to make the return trip home. As I walk back inside, I hear my phone buzzing like an alarm was going off. I realized it was our Go Home Timer, set in what felt like a million hours before. Something about us all was different now. We had the special confidence that only facing your fears can bring. And if we can do it- so can you.
So Much Love,