Monday, September 10, 2012



Why do so many of us live in fear? We live in fear of our lives. We live in fear of others. We live in fear of the unknown. We are afraid of our bills. We are afraid of success. We are afraid of poverty. We're afraid of money. We are in fear of our partners. We are afraid of what our partners might or might not do for us. We are afraid to be alone. We are terrified of our friends' opinions. We are scared to not have friends. We are afraid to not come out as ourselves-thinking we'll leave this life never having been understood or validated. We are afraid to be honest and live an honest life-thinking we'll leave this world unloved and abandoned by those with whom we are truly honest. We are afraid of what others think of us. We are afraid of our own truths. We are afraid of what we think of ourselves. Essentially, we are afraid.

Let me assure you that Fear is no way to live. More importantly, Fear is certainly no way to die. My sweet grandmother (#MamawSue) often said to me that you shouldn't do things you can just "live" with. Make sure you live in a way that you will be happy dying with… That's a powerful and true statement. It's poignant if you think about it-possibly even an excellent example of profundity. If you let it, that concept will shape how you approach each day and the people you meet during the course of each day. I want to let it.

Change has been happening at a frightening rate in my own life: changes in my health, my finance, my living situation, my location in this country, and my own social circles. Change sometimes frightens me. I try to embrace it, and my ADHD should push me towards change and stimulation, but the truth is that change can be scary. I feel change. I feel change coming. And I am tired of being afraid of it, so I am going to turn, face it, embrace it, and challenge the change and myself to create a better life - a life worth dying with, a life that mattered. I wan to have lived a life that meant something more than I thought it would, or even could. I've been doing a lot of thinking lately and I have come to realize that I have been afraid - too afraid. I never thought that about myself. I suppose that's one of my own truths that I avoided. My friends would probably be surprised to hear that. I rarely confide too much in others. I am an excellent listener. I like to be the person that helps and saves - not the one that needs help or saving. I certainly put on a brave face, and I certainly have a lot of bravado and things I've accomplished that are contrary to fear. But, if I am honest… fear was present. But I am going to try to change that. There is a quote (paraphrased, I'm sure) that states, "Courage is not the absence of fear; but facing fear." Hello.

In my own life, I'm taking ownership. I'm taking ownership of me, my actions, my reactions, and my future. After some self reflection and self introspection, there are three things I refuse to abide any longer: fear, intolerance, and procrastination. Yes, you read that right. Fear. Intolerance. Procrastination. Fear isn't doing me any good. As referenced above, it's destructive. Fear is crippling. Fear is essentially useless. My own fears are unfounded, and unbalanced. They are not worth the credit I've given them. Those fears have stopped me from achieving goals, realizing dreams, and performing at a level that would normally be natural for me. Gone.

Intolerance is another useless… emotion? What is intolerance? Is it just lack of tolerance? Is it an ideal? Is it a mindset? Is it a set of thoughts or actions? Is it someone disagreeing with you and unwaveringly "acting ugly" to you because of that? Is intolerance sexism, racism, or bigotry? I don't know. I DO know that intolerance is a by-product of fear. I know that fear breeds intolerance. I don't really know how to classify intolerance into a nice package. Maybe that's because intolerance is something that can't be nicely packaged. Maybe it shouldn't be. Intolerance is a hot button topic these days. It's in politics. It's in social media. It's in schools, in churches, and in workplaces. Intolerance is the word that (IMHO) has been overused. Sort of like the boy that cried wolf. I am not just talking about gay people, or politics, or bullying. I mean real intolerance. I mean my own intolerance. I mean others' intolerance of me. And, dear reader, don't confuse intolerance for injustice. I don't support injustice or inequality, but tolerance and intolerance are now the buzzwords used in place of true discrimination and true injustice in the world. To me, intolerance lets me know that I don't have to like you, and I don't have to like your lifestyle or politics, but I need to pray and truly understand what it is like to be tolerant and accepting of others' rights to be themselves. They have that right, regardless of my opinion. BUT - I am going to demand that same respect and right in return, regardless of their opinion. Maybe that's all intolerance really is… differing opinions on steroids. Opinions Gone Wild. Opinions that, like assholes… stink. Maybe tolerance is just a peace offering to that stinky asshole, to that 'roid-raged opine that allows for greater discourse and growth - by both parties involved.

Procrastination is evil. I think it, too, is a by-product of fear. Fear can cripple you and cause you to procrastinate for a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade, a lifetime. Procrastination can cause you to look back on your life with regret and anguish that will never truly be healed. Opportunities missed have the ability to haunt you the rest of your life, if you let them. Procrastination will keep you from becoming healthy, from reaching out to loved ones, to friends, and to God. Part of procrastination can be attributed to laziness and ignorance. It really can. You can keep putting off exercise "for another day" until your health won't allow you to easily exercise. You can keep thinking you will call your mother or grandmother "tomorrow", and eventually that opportunity will cease to exist. Forever. Procrastination is a stealthy and silent thief. You will never get today back. You will never get "10 minutes ago" back. You will never, ever see yesterday, or last month, or last year, or the last decade again. Ever. You only have right this minute. You don't have later today, and you don't have tomorrow. You only have this very moment. I only have this very moment. Going forward, I'll strive to maintain this ever-presently in my mind and make sure to give my best, be my best, show my best, and live my best.

These are heavy topics. They are heavy burdens and I really hope that in writing this down, in getting it OUT of my head, and into a place for discourse, dissection, and discussion - it will help me. It will be cathartic and help to cauterize the ebbing flow of my spirit and passion for what is essentially my charmed life. And trust me, hon… God's been good to me. I have no real reason for Fear, Intolerance, or Procrastination. So, how did I get there? Some slight? My parents? My exes? My own bad choices? I think it's all of the above. I think that there are real consequences to actions and reactions and it's MY responsibility to find out what happened. What went wrong? What went right? What do I need to do so that I can duplicate and transfer successes into all areas of my life? What do I need to revisit, root out and rectify in my own life to temper and truly change for the better? Introspection can be hell, but it is the best gift you can give yourself.
Jane Fonda said a quote once in an interview that made me sit straight up in my chair and made the hairs on my arms and neck stand at attention: "It really takes a lot to be whole; you have to live an examined life."
 That, to me, is a very true and very powerful statement. In that one instant, seeing Jane Fonda sitting beside Oprah and casually talking about these things in her life, I looked inside. That was maybe a little over a week ago, and ideas and thoughts began to formulate. I love the way God works. God has that amazing and sneaky way of planting one little seed. One little thing that begins to bloom and grow, changing the fundamental way you see things. Old books I'd read, Scriptures I'd memorized, and songs I'd heard began to play over and over in my head, in my heart… even in my spirit. Like I said, that was maybe a week ago, and it changed me. It profoundly changed me-like scriptures change me or epiphanies change me. I was not examining my life. I wasn't even close to examining my life. I didn't want to examine my own life. I don't want to know why certain things fail, while others are easy. I wasn't ready to face family conflict, or ghosts of past relationships. I wasn't examining my own successes or failures. And I wasn't whole. The problem is that I don't want to be un-examined. I don't want to not be whole.

This will be a process. This will be difficult. But this will be worth it. Yes, some will be scary and possibly cause fear. I'll have to face those things anyway. Things will make me realize my differences with others, and I'll have to face intolerance (mine or theirs) and that's okay. There will be times I want to do something else, something different, or procrastinate any and all of this, and I'll have to call this to mind, and keep going. Changes are coming, and I hope to be courageous and excited about them. I hope to face them in a way that gives credit and glory to a Creator and God in a deserving manner. I hope to face ideas, fears, and people in a way that makes me proud of myself - that makes me happy to die with.


No comments:

Post a Comment