I am plagued with fear.
I know. When I start writing like that a lot of people get uncomfortable.
[As uncomfortable as I will be tonight when I writhe in agony over The Bachelor. My stomach will drop and I will hide my face, kick my feet, and pray for the embarrassment to end. That’s how uncomfortable it will make me. But I’ll still watch because — regardless of how nonsensical the venue — there is something hopeful about the struggle to find a compatible mate. ]
But back to me and my fear…the “death fear”.
[Which is actually not a fear of the Grim Reaper or the Bright Light, but instead is a fear of being totally absorbed by something (or someone) and losing my autonomy.]
Because nothing makes my pulse race like thinking my independence is at risk. And this tends to happen at insignificant, irrational times. Like when I’m filling out a job application or Joe asks me a question about my future that I can’t completely answer.
Repeatedly, I have to be refocused on the big picture. When I start to imagine 90 hour work weeks and no personal life, Joe reminds me that not all work weeks are 90 hours and that the world is full of people who work full-time and are still able to pursue their chosen ventures. And when I begin to interpret a situation…somewhere way off the distant future of worst case scenarios…that may require a commitment and dedication that today makes me nervous, I have to continue to tell myself that even though it’s a jungle out there, my autonomy is not going to be stolen.
I remind myself: I am brave. I am courageous. And I have time to grow there.
*The “death fear” (as well as the “life fear”) are discussed in a book about creativity called The Courage to Create by Rollo May. A friend recommended it to me in 2006. I am rereading excerpts that seem timely and have found it to be just as poignant the second time around.