Last night as I was journaling about my day, my struggles, and my accomplishments, I had an epiphany of sorts.
This past month I’ve been struggling emotionally and I couldn’t figure out why. Suddenly it hit me. Things are going well. I’m on my own for the first time in my entire life. I’m the one making decisions, paying all the bills, etc. I have a good job. I’m getting ready to graduate from a masters program. All my bills are paid on time and I still have money left over to buy groceries, clothes, and do fun stuff with my kids. I have even been able to pay off a vacation for the three of us to Disney World in November! So what’s wrong, you ask.
I’ve never had ANY of this before. I’ve always had a man in my life either making or influencing all my decisions, from what to wear to where to work. I always lived paycheck to paycheck. Being able to spend $100 on a weekend and still be able to pay my bills was never an option for me. And to be able to save money – HA!
No one ever talks about the fear a survivor has of succeeding. We always talk about the fear of our abuser, will he come after me, the struggles of learning to forgive ourselves and believe we are worthy. But no one talks about the fear of living a “normal” life. Truly, I am scared to death right now.
What if… That hateful phrase runs through our brains. What if I’m really not smart enough to get my degree? What if I really am that ugly? What if I’m really not worthy? What if I’m not really loved? Those insidious thoughts worm their way into my brain every day. I’ve been so focused on overcoming the pain, shame, and fear of what happened to me, I didn’t even recognize the other fears creeping up on me.
Oh I wish I could tell you now that I recognize it, I have a cure or quick fix. Sadly, I do not. However, I recognize the thoughts when they slither into my brain and I know to stop and have a short discussion with myself. Rationalize it all – and it mostly has been working. I’m able to calm myself instead of having a panic attack, or lashing out at someone. All I have to do is look at my grades to see I am smart enough for this degree. I am half a class from graduating for goodness sake! I do deserve love – look how much I’ve given it, even if to the wrong people at times.
Fear – it is a part of life. It can destroy you or, it can drive you. Don’t feel as if you have to run away from it. Embrace it, learn from it. Yes, that sounds strange, but look what I’ve learned because I finally faced fear. I have so much more to learn. I am still fearful to share too much. Fearful to trust to deeply. But my fear is teaching me. Sometimes fear saves me from making bad decisions. Sometimes fear teaches me a lesson about myself.
I’m finding fear may be a four letter word, but so is hope, love, safe, bold, life, and live! So go ahead and feel the fear, but also feel the hope, love, and boldness that is you! Go live your life knowing you have, can, will, conquer your own fear!