When I was a little girl I used to be afraid of many little girl things. I used to be afraid of the dark. I was afraid of frogs. I was afraid of upsetting my parents and being punished. I can even remember being afraid of the Santa Claus that they have in shopping malls and many more things that I can no longer remember anymore.
When I became a young adult I swapped those fears for brand new ones. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection from relationships. Fear of not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. Fear of choosing the wrong career. Fear of not settling down when I should. Fear of not being pretty enough. Fear of not being skinny enough. Fear of being alone.
A little later on and deeper in my Thirties I started losing some important people in my life and I began to fear age and dying. The realities of life started to seep in and aging and stability still worried me and haunted me. I began to see that life could change very quickly and is unpredictable and unfair, and that scared me too. Always replacing old fears with fresh new ones. Each one more deeply held and buried deeper down inside my thoughts and feelings. My fears and worries always outweighing and outnumbering my joys and achievements. However life was also giving me some experiences and opportunities to push myself and face some of my fears. A period of growth and learning was taking place and some fears were starting to slowly ease… then one day… without warning… Somethings started to happen, like a time bomb that had been slowly ticking away inside me without me knowing… I started getting very, very sick.
Suddenly all the fears that I have ever had up to that moment, every worry, every sleepless night all fell away and I became afraid of what was going to happen to me and if I was going to survive it. One day I woke up and I couldn’t move my legs or see out of my left eye. My head felt like someone had stuffed knives inside it and I was nauseous, dizzy, shaking, numb, in terrible bone breaking pain and very, very afraid. I was afraid I was dying and so was my fiance.
At that time I was the major income earner so I was also afraid of losing my job. As silly as that sounds to me now, I was just as afraid of losing the job I loved as I was of losing my life. To me they were one in the same. My career had become my life and my identity and I loved it. So I worked from my bed in this state, don’t ask me how, and I hoped that I would either improve or die with my job. As I write this it strikes me as odd now, but I want to keep these things as truthful as possible and that means admitting the things that aren’t always easy to say. My priorities then were very much the product of my fears and my experiences.
Over the past 8 years I have watched many fears that I had become a reality. I lost my job. I lost my ability to drive. I lost my ability to walk without pain or equipment, I lost friendships, I lost family, I lost a whole heap of things that could read like a shopping list… but what I didn’t expect is what I gained in its place. Today I have a deeper appreciation for life. I have a deeper relationship with myself and my husband. I no longer fear dying. I have met some amazingly brave, courageous, kind, supportive, caring people who I would never have met before. I learnt to really love myself. I don’t obsess about looks or weight. I accept change and growth with respect. I am not afraid of feelings and emotions and I allow myself to experience them all. The full range. I accept that some people don’t want to share my journey with me and that’s ok. I accept that I don’t want to share my journey with them, and that’s ok too. I have learnt to forgive and not engage in drama. I have learnt about the things in life that matter the most. I am gaining in confidence and peace. I learnt what I am truly worth. Sometimes its when you lose everything that you also gain everything.
Most importantly I have learnt that the things we do out of love are far more rewarding than the things we do out of fear.