A few weeks ago I shared a journal prompt, if I were a flower I would be a…, that I was given at group and what I wrote down for it. Today I wanted to share another journal prompt and what my thoughts were on this particular day. I’ve made some great strides lately in my recovery, and I am very happy to share my thoughts and revelations I had. The topic of our prompt given was Fear.
F.E.A.R. has two meanings. Forget Everything and Run. Or, Face Everything and Rise.
Fear doesn’t mean you’ve failed. I used to think that. When I would be afraid because of a problem that faced me, I would cower and admit defeat. But being afraid means you’re actually about to do something really brave. That’s a quote I read once, and I haven’t forgotten it since. Being afraid means you are about to do something really brave.
That’s how I keep trying to think when I find myself getting nervous or scared. Fear isn’t a bad thing. It’s a warning, it’s a notice to yourself from yourself alerting you that it is time to brace for impact. To pay attention to what is actually happening, and take mindful action. Act, don’t react.
Life is a constant series of problems presenting themselves as life experiences. At the end of the day, or after completing some arduous task, you won’t hear someone say congratulations, good job, or receive a standing ovation. Life doesn’t celebrate your overcoming the hurdles it sets up for you to jump over. It’s not a video game announcing that you’ve leveled up, it’s also not your mother who will be there to sing your praises to everyone and their mother. Instead, it presents you with the next hurdle; the next problem.
I find that I barely have time to catch my breath after I make it through a problem and I’m faced with a new one. Sometimes these problems are simple. Sometimes they are horrendous and make me want to crawl into the dark place and give up. I find that I am the type of person who can see a problem of someone else’s and come up with a million reasons why it’s completely manageable and has a great silver-lining. When it comes to myself, I’m surprisingly much more resistant to doing this.
Personal challenges seem bigger and more complex than someone else’s. You can see their bigger picture, you can see their strengths, you know their history and abilities from previous challenges they’ve faced and overcome. All the while, you were there, by their side, holding their hand while they cried, reminding them who they are, picking them up and cheering them on to continue. After all, that’s what friends are for.
You’re not in the middle of it, it’s not personal, it’s not your life, and you won’t technically have to deal with the outcomes, so the choices seem so much easier to come by. Not to mention we often fail to remember our own past triumphs, strengths and skills to overcome our own problems. When we are in the middle of it, when it is personal, when it is your life, it is easy to get tunnel vision and forget to see the bigger picture.
This mindset of “I can fix your problems but not mine because mine are more challenging problems” is false. Well, to a degree. I mean, my life problems range from not finding an outfit to wear one day to wondering if my abusive ex-partner will be at our next court date. Very different problems, one not as challenging as yours, one that is perhaps much more challenging than yours. Not all problems maintain the same degree difficulty. Problems of others come in all different shapes and sizes with all sorts of setbacks and struggles, just like my own.
Forget Everything and Run. That’s what I’ve done for years. Longer than I can remember. Where was I running to? I don’t know, I know that in the end I always had to face the problem anyways, I was just drawing out the experience and causing the problem to get bigger.
When I was married I ran, lots. I ran away for fear of my safety, but I also continued to come back, to try and fix, to change. To make it last, I feared being another statistic of a young girl who gets married, has a kid in her early twenties and then gets divorced in her mid-twenties. I stopped running from that, I decided to Forget Everything And Run for my safety. The one time it was most applicable and acceptable in my life was when I was married to an abusive man. I Forgot everything and ran. And it’ll be the last time I do.
Face Everything and Rise. That’s where I am now. I’m not only tired of running, but I am straight up done with running. I choose to face my problems and rise to the occasion now. Plus, you know, there is no other choice. Life will continue, life does not stop because I decide I want to run. The world does not stop turning. My life won’t continue on to the next problem, the next stage, the next phase of my life if I keep running from my current situation. And I am tired of seeing everyone around me leveling up while I am seemingly going in the opposite direction.
I choose to face everything and rise to the occasion. To realize that it is okay, and in fact, NORMAL, to struggle and have problems. Everyone has problems. Some are big, some are small, some are financial, some are about relationships, some are about my daily fashion struggles. I don’t want to fall behind, I don’t want to stop living. I’ve done that. I’m over it. It’s time for me to put on my big girl panties and get shit done.
The trick of the game is not to react when the problem arises. I choose to take a step back, think about some solutions and take action. I have experienced a lot in my life. My phycologist has told me that I’ve been through more trauma and setbacks in life than most people in their 60’s. I’ve managed to survive all of them so far. I have a lot of skills and experiences to draw upon to overcome whatever problem lies ahead of me.
The bigger problems may take more steps, more thought, and more action to overcome. But it isn’t impossible, it’s inevitable. I’ll have to face it sometime. I’m making the choice to look at it, head on, and conquer it. I’m not a child. I’m not a little girl. I’m not a young 90’s kid who won’t grow up. I’m not a stupid Indian. I’m not another statistic. I’m a grown ass woman, a daughter, a sister, a mother, a fighter, a survivor… I’m a warrior. And when I experience fear, I will choose to Face Everything and Rise.