I’m reading the book “Start” by Jon Acuff. It’s about “punching fear in the face”.
Fear paralyzes us.
Keeps us stuck, hiding, unable to defeat the horcrux.
I haven’t gotten to the part in the book which may tell how to defeat fear, which is probably why fear punched me in my stitched gut Tuesday.
I was called to reflect on my work year with my boss. It’s usually pretty inoquious, involving forms and what not. I couldn’t think of the work I accomplished without all the challenges I had to face as well.
2014 replayed in my mind and fear entered the room as if it had eaten an onion sandwich.
My Papi died in February.
My Dad Leo died in April.
The medical system had me jump through stupid hoops when I knew what was wrong and how to fix it-Pow!
Daily endo pain made me feel like I was in labor all day every day until the pain patch-Bam!
The pain meds dulled my wits-Zoink!
I collapsed at Cape Cod, then barely made a London flight-whack!
(There’s a special place in hell for the gate agent that made me go through customs in Toronto).
I had 2 surgeries only 2 months apart-TKO!
I looked down and shuffled my papers. I didn’t WANT to look back at the hard parts of 2014.
It hurt too much in many ways and I bit my lip and heard Mrs. Badcrumble say “you’re a grown woman, nearly 50, you should bite yer lip and stay present.”
(if you don’t know Mrs. Badcrumble… Eddie Izzard’s 140 year old Scottish woman who refuses to teach kids sexytunes..)
And I could hear Papi “C’mon, Bobo, you’ll be ok”.
Why didn’t the good parts come visit during the look back? Where WERE they?
After work, I flew back to my midtown nest and was greeted with a warm, tight hug, a listening partner and pink champagne. Safe home again. I was given the precious gift of time and space to start processing the fear.
Fear holds us back. Makes us hide.
My boss lamented that he wanted to get my work in front of the VP.
“No!” I thought. I DID want to hide in 2014. Like the Elephant Man or Phantom of the Opera: “Don’t look! I’m hideous! My heart and body are broken, can’t you see, man?!” And then slither away like Voldemort…
Later that evening, nearly asleep, I saw a flash of light in the kitchen. The Nest thermostat spying perhaps? Between it and the Xbox, my skivvies are probably all over the dark internet.
Stupid fear again.
So, how did I deal with the fear after the pink bubbles wore off?
Names the fear.
“My life made no sound…”
Clears the way for hope and happiness in a cool, subway electronica type way. “Just breathe. Just believe”
And when I’m really scared “Peter Pan” on youtube.
“Think of a happy thought”
Processing those fears clears the way to remember the wonderful and amazing times- the spring day at the garden, the Savoy afternoon in London, holding a panda with my stepson in China, sliding down the Great Wall on a metal sled with my husband and stepson.
Mending from illness, heartbreak, surgery and fear.
Happiness and hope for 2015 smell like Jolly Ranchers.
I’ll take that over an onion sandwich any day.