Updated: Sep 30, 2021
It's hard when you look in the mirror and recognize the truth. You see the person you are versus the person you think you are. I'm sure everyone has experienced this from time to time. It requires us to be conscious and honest with ourselves. It's not easy, and it doesn't feel good, but it's necessary.
It's not that I hadn't felt fear before; it's that the iceberg in me had thawed. I was no longer disconnected from my body as I had been most of my life. I could feel fear now, recognize it, and let it in instead of incessantly pushing it down with a clenched jaw as I blindly pushed forward.
A longtime friend accused me of being fearful after we had an unfortunate experience on vacation together. Initially, everything in me rejected her accusation. My brain fired through how I believed she was wrong and caused our problems while on our trip.
As I continued to sit with this accusation, I got honest with myself. I realized I had quite a few fears and apprehensions about the trip. For one, I was afraid of getting sick from the food, and given that this was a trekking trip, that wouldn't be good. I also was scared I'd break down emotionally or physically and be a burden to the rest of the group.
I worried we'd run out of bottled water. I also didn't trust the rest of the group to make good decisions, decisions that wouldn't compromise or endanger me. I was very much in "take care of Di mode." Her quote was, "we don't like to be with fearful people. It's not fun". I thought, "I don't like to be with someone who's not in touch with reality!"
But her fear comment stuck with me, banging around in my head, and resurfaced months later in the emotional aftermath of falling off my horse. I couldn't deny the palpable fear I felt, and I found myself reflecting on all my worries.
Like many people, I was good at masking, repressing, and disassociating from the fear I felt. Here's a shortlist of my fears: fear of being alone, fear of trusting, fear of growing old, fear of having no one to care for me, fear of being me, in all my glory, unapologetically me, fear of being judged, fear of not being good enough, fear of not being loved, fear of being vulnerable, and fear of anger.
These thoughts quelled my creative talents preventing me from sharing my writing, painting, and speaking in public even though I believed I had something to say. I humbly, and with a healthy dose of shame, realized I had many fears, and they designed my life, limited my potential, clouded my talents, and resulted in me being less than I can be.
After crying for ten straight days, I finally got in touch with the source of my angst. My sadness was related to admitting that I was the source of many of my problems with Rudy. My lack of confidence and inconsistent messages were the cause of our difficulties.
I kept thinking to myself, "all I want is for him to trust me," yet I didn't trust him. I kept wishing for him to be brave, yet I wasn't sure of myself. The first wave of tears came as I owned this reality; the second came as I started pondering how to correct this problem.
How do I override my natural fear of being hurt or killed by my horse? My feelings consumed me, yet I knew I had to show up at the barn. I had to keep working with him. I initially could feel the fear in my body if I thought about going to the stable.
The first couple of times didn't go very well. I was nervous and jumpy, ready to react if he so much as twitched. Of course, he "twitched," translation partially ran over me. The direct correlation between my emotional state and his response was clear.
I had to figure out how to unwind the dynamic between us. I needed to be confident, to believe in myself, and my ability to work with him effectively. A big ask, but the alternative was unthinkable.
To be continued, in Fear 3
Written September 2015
*this picture is the opposite of fear