….we all have a few. Fear is a funny thing. In caveman days, fear kept our early ancestors alive. Knowing when to run away from danger was important. Learning what can kill us and what is safe has been something which has evolved and has kept us from dying out. Well, the fear instinct and lots and lots of nookie (which was obviously deemed “safe”) but I digress.

Fear has it’s place. However, in some cases, fear can be crippling and a true hindrance. I feel that is the role fear has played in my life. Looking back on my life, I realize fear had made me truly scared to live. That statement makes my heart sad because it feels like I’ve wasted so much time already.

I was massively bullied for a large part of my youth. Why mention the bullying at my age? Bullying put a large, ugly mark on how I’ve seen myself for most of my life. I feel like I’ve lived my life thus far “safely” and under the radar so to speak. I’ve been afraid of being seen or heard and at the same time, desperately wanting to be seen and heard for who I really am.

Being constantly mocked and laughed at for simply existing makes a person want to hide. It is an isolating feeling to be bullied. People become “unsafe”. The world becomes unsafe. The dread that I could, once again, become the butt of a joke is ever present whenever I meet someone new. There is such fear within me when I meet new people and I know it is irrational. I recently realized I still expect people to dislike me straight away and I am surprised when people truly like me.

I was raised by a well meaning mother who also held many fears. Her fears were projected onto me with such consistency that I grew to doubt I was capable of anything. Whenever I brought up something I was interested in doing, I was always told the negative side. I know now that it was my mother’s own fears talking but as I young kid, I did not have that insight. I took the negative comments as “my own mother thinks I can’t do it”. As most kids, I always felt adults knew more than I did. If it was implied I couldn’t do it then it must be so. The last time I brought up my long held dream of modeling, I was about 10 years old. I had always been told “models do drugs” whenever I mentioned modeling before. That last time I brought it up, I defended why I could do it and I said I would not do drugs. My protests were dismissed and the implication that my dream was a bad idea was so final. I felt those negative words in my heart and any confidence I had in myself began to die.

As I got older, I wanted so much to “do something” with myself. I have always felt I was here for some reason. I’ve always wanted to do something big with my life. After high school, I was too afraid to leave the small town where I still live. I was afraid to go off to college. I was afraid to meet new people. I was afraid I would fail and I was afraid I would be laughed at. I didn’t know who I was because I was taught it was not OK to be me. I got laughed at for being me. The fears projected onto me told me I was incapable and not enough to accomplish my dreams.

The person I am today knows that negative comments can’t kill me. I know if people laugh at me, I won’t die. It only feels like itย on the inside. I have worked my ass off to be the best, most efficient and accurate person at my job. I empathize with the underdog and I will be your fiercest advocate if you need my help.

I have always been curious to know what people see when they see me now. At my current job, we get reviews from our peers and it has given me some insight. My coworkers have said my gentle way with people is very calming and reassuring. My boss wishes she could clone me because I learn quickly and I am versatile. I’ve been told I appear confident and am friendly with patients. I am appreciated by my coworkers and they have told me this on many occasions. My cousin told me she thought I was interesting, honest and vulnerable. My nephew said I was an amazing mother. My dad and my grandpa have both told me they are proud of how I have raised two fine boys. These words from friends and family mean more than any of them could know. I am starting to see in myself the good that others can see. I am capable. I don’t suck. I am appreciated. I am loved.

Why did I share all of this? My sharing is one more step toward becoming more fearless. What is more frightening than sharing a piece of one’s soul? I also look up to other people who face different challenges than I do. When I see their fearlessness, it fills me with strength, hope and joy. It helps me see that my fears are not be as big as they often feel.

I Forgot It Was Mother’s Day

…..it was honestly the last thing on my radar.

My mom was recently put into home hospice. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor last August, just before her 70th birthday. Since that time, she has had two surgeries to remove the tumor. The last surgery (I think) was in January, six months after first being diagnosed. She finally agreed to do radiation & chemo after this last surgery. As the surgeon put it, radiation and chemo was used only to prolong life. I knew those were the facts and I new we would be where we are today eventually. I had no idea when we’d arrive and quite frankly, I didn’t see this coming so soon.

I was able to take a quick trip down to see my folks this past weekend. I completely forgot about it being Mother’s Day. I had been mentally prepping myself for what I’d be facing when I got to their house. Just before I left (for my 4 hour drive), my dad sent us an update of her night before. He shared some bittersweet memories and they reminisced about when they were younger. Needless to say, as I pulled out of my driveway, I had tears in my eyes. I was glad I was driving solo , apart from my dogs, because I needed that time alone. I’ve been working so much recently that I haven’t really had much time to sit and process.

Last night I worked an evening shift at hospital registration. I worked the last hour of the shift by myself and had about 30-45 minutes of complete quiet. No patients needing to be checked in. Housekeeping was cleaning the lobby but they didn’t need my attention. I sat and thought about my weekend, my past relationship with my mom, loads of other things which happened over the weekend.

My relationship with my mom has not been that of Hallmark commercials. I realize now that much of how she parented me was due to so many fears she’s held. I dreamed big as a kid and those dreams scared her. Me stepping past arm’s reach scared her. If she couldn’t control things, it was scary for her. Her cancer has been scary because it is indeed out of her control. After the Sunday night phone calls from mom stopped, I realized that voice of opposition that I dreaded hearing for so many years was now silent. That fear filled voice of discouragement was now focused on simply trying to express her daily needs. I was no longer the target of her scrutiny or judgement. I finally was able to realize the doubt and discouragement I heard so much as a kid was not due to my short comings, it stemmed from her projected fears. I am capable, I am competent, I am not stupid and no, I’m not too ugly.

In the back of my mind, as I sat at work thinking, I wished she had not let her fears rule her parenting. We might have had a better relationship over the past 40 years. That thought actually makes me very sad because it’s something I no longer have time to change. However, I might have not learned the lessons I’ve needed to learn had my early years been different.

I am going to see my folks for an extended visit this coming week and I will be there for about four days. My focus nowย is on keeping her comfortable, remembering happy times and showing her she is loved. My actions will have to speak louder than any words. I refuse to let her see my cry as it is quite difficult to speak with a lump in my throat.

Get In My Belly

It’s been a rough week. I am covering in physical therapy as the regular gal is out because her husband has been ill. At last report, he’d taken a few steps backward in his progress. I am quite concerned for my coworker and her family and I feel for them. I am also stressed out by being flung into the deep end of dealing with this department. I’ve only ever covered about a week. Thankfully I have been told any mistakes can be fixed in due time so “don’t worry”. I also found out yesterday another coworker who was hired a few months had been diagnosed with a type of cancer just before she signed on. Turns out due to her not responding well to treatment (which we all new nothing about) she is out indefinitely. It was quite a shocking blow which landed on the entire department. She’s quite young and it was very sad news indeed.

In regards to my mom’s health: I’ve been getting email updates in between phone conversations from my dad. Mom has been in the hospital for the past few days and will probably be there a few days longer still. It looks like there will some hard decisions are on the horizon here soon. All of this has arrived much sooner than I thought it would.

And fuck cancer by the way…..

Today, I have found myself eating and drinking most everything in sight. I can almost feel my thighs and double chin doubling. Or would that be squaring? Chin and thighs squared? You get the idea. Adding that piece of Mexican peanut candy to my oatmeal (I was out of my usual peanut butter, this made sense at the time) might have steered the trajectory of my day, but I can’t be certain. I went out to lunch with my youngest and over ate. Later, dinner plans were suggested. I was not even hungry but I found myself drawn to the kitchen nonetheless. Cheese quesadillas always hit the spot and I was craving them despite having no more room in my stomach. Instead I had about 4 more pieces of assorted Mexican candies They topped off my margarita which I had earlier. Finally my mind said “Hey! Would you look at what you’re doing??!!”. I decided to eat a banana (a better choice than candy, right?), leave the kitchen and started writing. Blagh.

I have spent the majority of my day watching YouTube videos, obsessing about DWTS and watching interviews of my favorites on the show. The only productive thing I’ve done today is vacuum and do laundry. I also brushed Harry, my wee dog. Today was essentially well wasted and for that I am most annoyed at myself. On a side note: If you don’t know who Nyle Dimarco is, look him up on YouTube. He’s an incredible, beautiful soul and you’re welcome in advance.

In my younger days, whenever I was upset, angry or stressed I used to clean. That was a good habit to have. It was both productive and I wasn’t spiking my blood sugar unnecessarily. (Waves cheekily at family history of diabetes) Somewhere along the way, I became worn down by my heavy emotions. I no longer had a good strategy for releasing that negative energy inside of myself. Instead, I internalized everything….. and here we are today. Anymore, I eat, I veg and avoid feeling. I am fully aware that none of this is healthy physically or emotionally. I probably should also confess I still haven’t signed up for counseling services as I’d planned (2 months ago). Might ought to do that here soon. I suspect there will be some shit I will need help sorting through within the next few months. Oh, what I would give for a crystal ball…and a soft, chicken taco.