More on fear…
So much fear in this world. It drives us to do the strangest things.
Right now, a friend of mine is sitting in a hospital waiting room while his father undergoes heart surgery. It’s no little thing he’s having done and although the procedure is common and routine, there is nothing more frightening than that wait…hoping the surgeons don’t accidentally take your family member from you forever. I wish I could go sit with him and wait…watch the clock go around…walk the halls and drink shitty hospital coffee from too-small paper cups. I know this world well, the hospital world. There are many, many times I’ve stopped to help a stranger who is sobbing in the lobby or hunkered down in the hallway, tears forming a puddle by their feet. I watch people die too, and it’s so sad to see. The lucky ones are the ones who have family in the hallway, shedding tears…the ones who die quietly with only a nurse at their side…they break my heart too. There is a loneliness here, in the medical community, that seems to be nowhere else. This place runs on fear.
Patients are afraid of what is wrong with their physical body.
Families are afraid of losing their sick loved ones.
Doctors are afraid of making a stupid mistake that causes more suffering instead of less.
Other doctors are afraid of judgment from their peers.
Nurses are afraid of making mistakes.
They also fear the doctors who are often unrelenting and uncooperative.
Support staff fear the clinical staff who have hardened their hearts so much, they seem to have no compassion left in their souls.
Everyone is afraid. Afraid to fail, afraid to be rejected, afraid to not measure up, to not cope.
I’m afraid of everything some days. I worry about not being good enough at this job, not good enough at live, as a mom, as a partner. I am afraid of getting old and fat and unattractive. I’m afraid that no one will ever want me anyway. I’m afraid that Dayne will pack up and leave one day and there will be nothing left in my life worth sticking around for except to remotely help him raise Colt. I’m afraid Colt will end up unable to cope with life on his own, ever. I’m afraid that will be my fault.
Isn’t this all so stupid? There’s no reason to fear so much but there it is, around every damn corner. If I let my mind drift you know where it goes? Loss. I vividly imagine Colt and Dayne dying in terrible ways, leaving me with nothing but a couple of internet friendships. I’ve already had my world turned around, have already lost everything I had. To do it all again…the thought freezes my heart. Happiness doesn’t even really factor into it.
I just want to sit with my friend and be present…be able to run interference between him and the things that frighten him. I know what to do in that situation and it feels so much safer than facing all this fear myself. Of course, it doesn’t evaporate through ignorance, just lies in wait, ready to pounce when I let my guard down.
My instinct tells me to run. To get in my car and drive as far away from here as I can get but, I know better. Fear follows you; lives inside you. It’s weirdly contagious too, I’ve noticed, but still an entirely internal process. So destructive and debilitating.
If I found a weapon that could fight the fear I’d never put it down. I hear mindfullness works against fear…I’ve read a ton of books on it and actually practiced it deeply for several years, but, in the end, it only really served as a delay tactic. Experiencing it doesn’t make it go. Letting it be doesn’t make it go either…it’s just like the pain; I can do a lot of things to build my tolerance of it but it never goes away….just gets pushed back inside and the cheery thoughts of living in the moment that you scream in your mind over top of the fear do little to fix it. It always makes me think of when I was a smoker and I dated a non smoker. I was hyper conscious of the way I must have tasted to him when we kissed so I was forever chewing minty gum. After we broke up he snidely informed me that kissing me had always been like making out with an ashtray to him. The gum only served to add flavour….rather than cigarettes, I tasted like mint and cigarettes. lol… Yep. Cover up, hide away, disappear, curl into a ball and hope they all go away. It works for a while, but it always comes back for you.
I don’t want to live in fear anymore. That is what is stopping me, stopping so many of us, from moving forward. I don’t believe in the whole “Secret” deal where it is said you can create your own reality by the power of thought, but I know there’s something in it…
If my mind can hold all this fear and use it to hold me captive in my own world, it can hold peace too. It’s all I’ve ever wanted….a way out of this fear. I do hate feeling in danger so much of the time, as if I’m a field mouse who constantly has to watch not only the ground around them, but also the sky. When the world is that vast, danger can strike from any direction.
I’m turning 40 this fall. This is not where I wanted to be at 40. You know?