Dec 10, 2015

My Only Un-Get-Over-Able Fear

Getting "over" fears was a hobby of mine for a while.

Ever since a tiny, little non-incident horseback riding with our aunts, I'd had this tinge of discomfort and nervousness about the idea of riding again.  Horses are such big animals!  It could take off or buck me off or shove a hoof through my brain.

Not the most irrational fear ever, I think.  But I didn't like that I felt it.  So one time, when visiting, I specifically requested that we go horseback riding again.  And you know what?  A few years of getting older, white water rafting, parasailing, and sky diving later and being on the back of a horse really wasn't scary at all.

Quite the opposite.  When my horse sped up into a choppy trot and showed hesitation to obeying my command to slow, I felt no fear, just the adrenaline rush of, "What's going to happen now?!"

Becoming a (very minor) adrenaline junkie has helped me get over a lot of things.  You can't be afraid of heights after you've been pushed out of a plane and your brain was so high on strange chemicals it wasn't even afraid.  Instead you just remember that feeling.  That tingly rush of excitement.  You know the one.

I attempted to find more fears to conquer.  I ate meals alone.  I traveled alone.  I took myself on a solo art date.  We got scammed in Europe, but we couldn't just hide in our hostel - we had countries to explore!  When I let Luke out and feel that nervous, "Oh god, what if something is hiding in the dark?" I make a point of stepping outside and waiting until the feeling is gone (or until he's done peeing - I mean, that's all you can really ask, right?).

But there are some fears you can't get over.  For some people it's the fear of death.  I don't have that.  It seems too distant and remote and unlikely to happen to me.  Naivete is my shield for that one.  For some people it's the fear of living their entire lives without having lived it fully.  Fear of missing out.  I can understand that, but whenever I feel that feeling, I go do something new or exciting or that scares me.  Problem solved.

Here's my biggest, most uncomfortable, "un-get-over-able" fear.  I am afraid of losing the people I love.  Not to death, but to distance.  I am afraid of losing their love.  That they'll stop, inexplicably, without warning.  That they'll disapprove of me and my choices.  That I'll disappoint them.

Sometimes I push people away when it feels like they're disapproving.  I call it "rebelliousness" but it's not.  They can't reject me if I reject them first.

I'm doing my best to not respond that way.  It's just fear talking, after all, and I'm excellent at quelling fear.

But what do you do when there's nothing to face?  I can't just experience my fear and then not be afraid anymore.  It's not a single event, whether likely or unlikely.  It's a constant fact of life that I live with every day.

My sisters and I are growing up and, pretty soon, will just be growing old.  We've grown into separate lives and while we make an effort to talk and be close, it's inevitable that we'll lose touch with each other's lives.

The distance makes it more inevitable.  With Sister3 in California and Sister2 in Philly (and soon to be moving farther away), it's impossible for us to see each other as often as when we lived in the same house or even the same state.  We can't go shopping together, borrow each other's clothes, have girls nights with ice cream and Pride & Prejudice.

I hope that one day, we'll all live in the same place again.  And I love that we plan sister trips and have amazing experiences together.  I'm grateful for the technology and resources that allow us to see each other as frequently as we do and to stay in touch when we can't be there in person.

But none of that makes the fear go away.  The fear is a tight, little ball of pain that lives inside my brain and my throat.  Perhaps, with time, it fades in the sense that I go longer periods of time without feeling it.  But all I need to experience it as if for the first time, is to remember that it's there at all.

It's a pain that feeds on itself.  The fear says, "Hey, this event might make you feel this way" and the pain says, "You already do, because you always feel this way even if you forgot about it for a while."  It can be triggered by anything - an inside joke, a fond memory, dropping someone off at the airport, making positive life plans that don't in some way lead to us all being together again.

And... I don't really know what else to say about it.  I can't logic myself out of it - losing people is losing people.  I can't throw myself into it and "get over it" - it's not as tangible as a fear of sharks or heights.  I just have to live with it.  And that's far more difficult.

What's your biggest fear?  What's your approach to dealing with it?  Do you have any family members or friends you miss?


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5 comments:

  1. This is my Un-Get-Over-Able Fear too. It's the background sadness that I always come back to and never resolve. My magical dream solution is that one day we all live on the same block and still hang out all the time. I love you guys <3
    -Sister2

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    1. Love you too! I would like that. Do you remember when we were daydreaming about how cool it would be to all be roommates, and then we realized, "Oh, we already did that. For our entire childhood."?

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  2. I am not sure what my biggest fear is but I do understand how you feel about not wanting to lose touch with close friends and family. When I moved from Atlanta to Birmingham, I fell out of touch with nearly all of my friends and it made me sad. But I also made new ones and am trying to balance reaching back out to the old ones.

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  3. I posted a comment, and then my internet disappeared, so my comment did too. :P. But, I was saying, I think my biggest fear is actually of being afraid. I am naturally super cautious, so I always have to ask myself whether I'm doing something out of fear or actual logic. I'm also afraid of losing people, but I grew up moving around a lot and the family situation was never that settled, so while it still scares me, I kind of already live far away from everyone now.

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  4. i know my biggest fear but i'm not very good at talking about it.

    i have this fear as well, losing people and having people forget about me, or whatever. a lot of my family / friends at home have already forgotten about me, it's too hard for them to keep up with me when they don't see me, out of sight, out of mind or something. im also very scared about something happening to someone i love at home and not being able to get to them in time.

    i have a lot of fears, actually. haha. they may not be irrational, or they might be. no matter what my fear is, i can never logic my way out of it. sometimes i'm scared of really silly stuff.. anyway.

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