To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. ~Katherine Paterson
October is a great month to look at fear. Of what are we afraid? Why Are we afraid? What does being afraid look like? I know what it looks like on me; blushing, shaking, eyes to the floor, chest flutters. Fear is messy and painful to watch.
My youngest will watch scary movies all month on purpose because he loves being afraid. He’s crazy and 18 and male so.. go figure. Me? Even though I face a lot of my fears by going onstage or submitting a piece of writing, I’d rather not deal with fear most of the time. I would rather run away and sleep, paint, write or even drink (sometimes more than I should) than honestly face my fears. I’m learning though that if I do not face my fears, they will as Katherine Paterson says, “grab me by the tail.”
Some seasons just suck. My summer this year is no exception. Between putting my beloved collie of 16 years down in June and two months of other people in my life behaving badly all I wanted to do by September is run away to my cabin at the lake to paint and write. I did not get to do that and yet I survived.
I am much better now thank you.
Fear can really grab me by the tail when I’m hurting. That might sound strange to you, but it’s the truth. When that happens I remind myself to be gentle with my expectations and take things as they come.
One good sign that fear has grabbed me by the tail is I start taking people’s emotional temperatures before I speak. It’s manipulative really and I justify that behavior by telling myself I do not have the emotional energy to deal with someone else’s emotions so I better play it safe and watch what I say. I wind up exhausted and my feet hurt from all those egg shells I make myself walk on and yet I continue.
Do you know what I discovered this month? I’m afraid of letting people see me hurting.
To fear is one thing, don’t be it’s bitch.
Ain’t that a kick in my egotistical behind?
I like answers more than I like revelation. Knowing this about myself is one thing and it’s a big thing, now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with this new knowledge.
Writing prompt: Would you share with us the last time fear grabbed you by the tail? What did it look like and how did you deal with it?