Tag Archives: #fear

What are you afraid of?

fear2When I was little, I was afraid of the dark. No, not the creatures that lived in the dark closet or the monsters who hid in the darkness under the bed – I was afraid of the lack of light itself. It hung in the corners at bedtime, waiting for my parents to kiss me goodnight and leave my room. As they crossed the threshold, it slid down the walls and crept across the floor until slowly, oh so slowly,  it reached the foot of my bed. I would huddle in a ball by the head of the bed, eyes opened so widely I feared they would fall out, lips pinched tight against screams and tears, until finally the darkness reached out to touch a toe, and I’d let loose with a shriek that “it’s coming to get me!”

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image credit to waxycamera.wordpress.com

I’m not quite sure why it scared me so. Maybe it was because I thought the darkness was a monster – a dark, oily blanket that swallowed everything it touched. Maybe it was because my overactive imagine could hear it whispering (it was just my imagination, wasn’t it?). Whatever the reason, I slept with the hall light on until I left for college (Just kidding. Maybe).

As an adult* I’m proud to say that I’ve outgrown my fear of the dark. What? No, that’s not a nightlight in my room. I mean, it IS a nightlight, but it’s not because I’m afraid – it’s because I’m clumsy. I need a light to help me avoid corners and legos and other little bits of clutter that reach to trip me on my way to the bathroom.

As a mother, I’m no longer afraid of the dark – there are scarier things than monsters that live in the closet or under the bed. Things like dangerous playgrounds filled with too tall ladders, slippery slides and swings without seatbelts and germ-laden ball pits and suburban soccer moms and snack duty and PTA meetings and awards ceremonies and school plays (as the mother to a child who was in a continuous growth spurt, school plays were always accompanied by a muttered prayer please don’t let her fall off the stage, please don’t let her fall of the stage…).

But there’s nothing, in all my years of phobias and fears (rational and irrational), that has scared me more than two little words. Two words that can bring me to my knees, eyes shut and heart pounding. You laugh, but trust me, these two words can send a grown man screaming from the room. I don’t like to speak for other people (I can hear you laughing – stop it!), but I’m pretty sure I can speak for parents everywhere, when I say there’s nothing scarier than these two little words:

“I’m bored”.

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image courtesy of pictures88.com

Every parent responds differently to “I’m bored”. I’ve heard everything from “You have a whole room of toys, how can you be bored?” to “When I was your age, I didn’t have time to be bored”. Evidently some adults have forgotten their childhood – how the days stretched on for hours, and summer seemed endless. On the first day of vacation, my friends and I would race outside after breakfast,  to play tag or ball or hopscotch or ride bikes until the streetlights turned on– and eventually, the newness of summer would morph into endless repetition and we’d be…bored. Please note, I’m referring  to the definition of bored as “To make weary by being dull, repetitive, or tedious“– I don’t want to suggest that, in an attempt to relieve our boredom, we’d bore holes into each other (if only because our dads locked their tools in the garage).

I know what you’re thinking. We’re a month past winter break and summer is a lifetime away – so why was I reminded of the chill of these two little words?

Because

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As a kid, I was too busy to be bored. As a college student, there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so boredom was out of the question. As “someone’s wife” I was a hyphenated woman (wife/masseuse/biller/coder/actor/comedian/cook/housekeeper) and much too busy following Cosmo magazine’s challenge to “do it all and do it all well” to be bored. As a pregnant woman (and then new mother), I was too sleep deprived to be anything but tired (which rapidly evolved into being too busy to be bored). Now that I’m the parent of a not-quite 17 year old, my life is becoming my own once again, and I’m bored, bored. B-o-r-e-d.

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Boredom is dangerous, because she usually brings along her friends apathy and despair.  The three friends like to grab you by the hair and drag you down the grey-bricked road to depression.

Because I’m a Virgo, I immediately researched the symptoms to and remedies for boredom. The internet provided a whole slew of images and ideas.

 

This one made me laugh:

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but only because I would follow Boredom all the way down the grey-bricked road to  limbo before doing chores to break her.

And then I got an email from DailyOm.com** telling me that The sense of feeling bored in life can be an indicator that we need to be proactive in creating change” (I love it when the universe/God/the Goddess/the force dumps an answer in my lap). So it looks as though I am looking to change, which is not as easy as looking FOR change. I hate change. It’s hard, but I suppose it’s not as hard as being dragged down a brick road by your hair.

The bad news is that I’m not sure I know who I am, now that I’m not just “someone’s wife” or “someone’s mother”. The good news is that I’m returning to the things I did BM (Before Motherhood) and I still love them. The best news is that I may be bored, but at least nobody’s drilling holes into my abdomen – or my brain.

So tell me – what do you do to combat boredom? And how do you being to change, when your inner child is kicking, screaming and going limp at the very idea?

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*I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again – what is a dult and why would anyone want to be one?

**The DailyOM is amazing. Really and truly. If you’re not following them, you should be.

The Other “Other F-word”

 

imagespnibp0jmI had a point when I warned you posted about my return to blogging.  My brain, however, is filled with the dust  of disuse (and cobwebs of confusion), and I missed it. I meant to tell you that it’s important that choose your F-words carefully.

When I was diagnosed with PVCs, I panicked. Part of it was due to my overactive imagination, part of it was due to the fact that my brain was overloaded with the pain and adrenaline that came with being in the emergency room with excruciating jaw pain, but most of it was because my mother had a massive heart attack at the age of 57. The closer I’ve gotten to the “magic number”, the more certain I’ve become that I would do the same.

My cardiologist ran a whole slew of tests, which showed that my heart is, in fact, pretty darn close to perfect (which makes the Mary Poppins in me very happy). He also assured me that PVCs are fairly common (around one in 20 normal people will have at least one PVC on a two-minute ECG strip, and a much higher percentage will have PVCs on 24-hour Holter monitoring) and that, as long as I wasn’t having any symptoms, it wasn’t something that needed to be treated with medication.

The incident made me realize that I have spent far too much time letting fear stop me from doing things. I should know better – after all, I read Dune when I was in college.* Even 20+ years later I can hear Frank Herbert’s Bene Gesserit reminding me that “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration….” I know that I’m supposed to “Feel the Fear and do it Anyway” and I’ve been told (more than once) that FEAR is nothing more than False Expectations Appearing Real.

I should know better, but I’ve found that knowing something intellectually doesn’t necessarily mean that you KNOW it (if you know what I mean). I spent time pondering the problem, wondering what it would take for me to let go of fear, and then I realized that all it takes is another F-word. To let go of fear, we must have faith Don’t worry, I’m not going to show up at your door asking if you’ve been “saved” –  I’m talking about the secular definition.

From Miriam-Webster dictionary:

Faith

[fāTH]

NOUN

complete trust or confidence in someone or something:

“this restores one’s faith in politicians”

synonyms: trust · belief · confidence · conviction · optimism ·

Middle English: from Old French feid, from Latin fides.

Fear screams at us to stop before we start, to hide under the covers from the monsters in the dark. Faith whispers that the monsters exist only in our imagination, and that, with trust and a little bit of pixie dust, we can fly.

Today’s F-word is Faith.

F-k

Anxiety

Initiate

Trust and

Hope

 

*I saw the movie, too. Please don’t.

P.S. In an amazing bit of synchronicity, today’s email from DailyOM was “Overcoming Fear & more courses.” In the course description Debbie Ford says that we can learn from fear. I’m not sure what lesson I’m supposed to learn, but I’m open to the possibilities.

So tell me – what has fear taught you?

The Game of Life

unnamed[1]My 15 year old played The Game of Life the other day*

“It’s really fun – we should get it.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that Life is nothing like life. Life is a lot of things, but (mostly) life is a four letter word.

 

Those who know me know that I swear like a sailor, like a shipload of sailors, like a fleet of sailors. For those of you who don’t know me, welcome to my world! I’m Tracey, and I’ll be your guide. I grew up in Camarillo, home to the old and insane.** Being neither, I moved away to seek my fame and fortune in the wilds of Los Angeles (I didn’t find fame or fortune, but I did find a big bear who followed home).  Being both, I returned to Camarillo. I live with two kids (the one I birthed and the one I married) and no cats, because they make me sneeze and wheeze. Plus, they’re cats.

Where was I? Ah yes, swearing. I’ve been a fan of four letter words since I was young and thought I knew it all. Now that I’m not and I don’t, I have learned some brand news ones, which I would love to share with you.

Today’s word is life

From Miriam-Webster

Life noun \ˈlīf\

  • : the ability to grow, change, etc., that separates plants and animals from things like water or rocks
  • : the period of time when a person is alive
  • : the experience of being alive

That’s the dictionary’s definition.

Life is so much more. Like most four letter words, it’s messy and foul, and I often find myself using other four letter words when it doesn’t go the way I want it to. It’s also amazingly beautiful, if you know where to look.

I think I’ve discovered the secret to life – she’s a BITCH (Beautiful, Interesting, Terrifying, Childlike and Hard) who wants us to grow and change. She’s a fierce teacher, who will knock you down if you’re not paying attention. She’s also an amazing companion who can take you for a wild ride, if you let her.

I made the mistake of letting Fear scare me away from living last year. This year, I’m getting in the car, taking the top down, and letting her drive.

I think Vivian Greene put it best:

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So, tell me. What life lessons have you learned? Did you choose to learn them the easy way or the hard way?

 

*Ok, it was last month. Time is a wibbly-wobbly, timey wimey thing

** Camarillo used to be home to Camarillo State Hospital (now CSUCI) and Leisure Village (Leisure Village is still there. I live down the street)

 

 

Fear, hope and other four letter words

fear2“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

Frank Herbert, Dune

2015 was a sucky year (then again, 2014 wasn’t much fun). In looking back over the past year(s), I realized that it wasn’t the events themselves that were horrible (although almost losing my daughter and my husband wasn’t anything to celebrate), but what they did to me.

I went from being a fairly confident, mostly optimistic suburban soccer mom who was able to juggle marriage, motherhood, career and outside interests with some degree of success, to a weepy woman who could barely handle getting up and getting dressed (which reminds me-why don’t they have pajama days at work?).  Oh, I managed to come up with multiple excuses for “stepping back” from activities I had previously enjoyed – soccer, reading, writing, stand-up comedy,  lighting design and playing chauffer to the teen. I blamed age, fatigue, increased stress at work, my bad knee – but when I took a hard look at my life, I realized that there was only one thing stopping me. FEAR.

Fear is like the abusive boyfriend who compliments you on your outfit, then asks if you have a skirt that’s “not as short/tight” or tells you that your makeup is “a little overdone”. Eventually you second guess everything you do/say/wear and run it by the boyfriend for his approval. Fear convinced me that the things that had happened were somehow my fault – that if I had spent more time at home, or less time doing things that I enjoyed, everyone would be better off. Fear whispered in my ear, telling me that there weren’t enough hours in the day for a “woman of your age” to do EVERYTHING, that even Wonder Woman deserves a break, that it would be better if I just came home and zoned out in front of the television.

After the second time that my husband almost died, I realized that Fear had lied to me. Stepping back from the things I loved hadn’t kept my husband safe. If Fear lied about that, what other lies was he telling?

The best part of having my husband almost die was that I was lifted up by people who loved us. I was lifted high enough to see a glimmer of hope, and Hope sends Fear running.

Once he started running, I saw Fear for what he is – a liar and a cheat. It was then that I remembered my favorite acronym.

False

Expectations

Appearing

Real

Run you bastard, run

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Who do I think I am, Anyway?

Good Morning!

I have enrolled in WordPress’ Blogging 101 in the hopes that my mostly melted brain will re-format, if not completely, then at least enough that I can return to writing. I’m not sure who Anyway is, but I’m hoping that she’s someone who can help me.

I love writing. I love reading. I love almost everything about reading and writing and the English language – other than the fact that many of the rules which apply to the English language make little to no since cents sense ;-D

I started writing in an attempt to find fuel for my stand-up routine, and discovered that writing helped to clear my mind. It seemed to act as a de-frag tool, helping to make more room for new thoughts and ideas. Yes, it helped with my stand up, but I found that I enjoyed blogging by and for itself. As a suburban soccer mom (happened despite my best efforts) I have a small circle of friends. I enjoy the sense of community and the fact that I have “met” people from all over the world.

Last year, overwhelemd by stressors and loss,  my internal hard drive crashed and burned, and my creative drive was destroyed. I am recovering, albeit slowly.

I have thought about returning to writing for a while, but FEAR (False Expectations Appearing Real) has held me hostage, and the EIC (Evil Inner Critic) kept telling me that my earlier writing success was a fluke.

So now I stand on the ledge, ready to jump back in.

Eyes closed, fingers crossed, breath held, afraid that I will crash and burn, but hoping against hope that this time I will fly. Welcome to my world. Welcome to my voices.

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