Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who I Am: Fear (Part I)

I loved to be outside with my brothers. We just loved the outside. We always lived in the country so we didn’t have many friends to play with outside, just ourselves.  Growing up, with limited income, we played with home-made milk carton blocks,  Barbies, matchbox cars,  imaginary play; mostly  played outside!! Their children and Warren are much the same way we were; sun up to sun down outside playing.

When I was in elementary school I imagined flying above everyone else in line for the cafeteria and being above all the difficulties and misfortunes that haunt children then and today. In middle school, I was a 60 pound, red headed, freckled face, awkward girl. I was filled with insecurities, anxieties and un-comfortableness with my changing body and mind. I always felt different, awkward and always hiding from shame.
But… I also had an adventurous side.  The older of my brothers and I would often do something we called “creeking” (We grew up in upstate New York with an abundance of water sources). This meant that we would put on old jeans and sneakers and head to nearby waterfalls. We would spend most of the day going up stream against the current, sometimes in water above our chests. We would sometimes slip under the water and the current would take us until we could maintain footing on slippery, mossy rocks.  Those were some of the best and most exciting days of my life. I loved summer creeking days and walking along the edge of an at least three story high water fall. There I was confident, stable, strong and grounded both mentally and physically.

He and I also loved to climb all over the roof of our old farm house. I remember sitting straight up on the highest peak looking over the edge to the front lawn; I could see the top branches of the fully grown oak trees in our front lawn at eye level.  
What happened to me that I would have a devastatingly incapacitating fear of heights?  Fear of people, of situations; fear of what might happen, what might currently be happening….

I went to a water park this summer. I hate even the steps up to the slide. All day I was lovingly badgered by my companions to go down the scariest slide. I began to “work up to it.” I thought back to my creeking days and wondered why this was so damn hard. It was a 10 foot straight drop and then sharp turns. The slide began in an enclosed case with the sound of a beating heart.  I wanted so much to bravely conquer this unnatural (for me) fear.  I got into the torture chamber and told myself to just keep breathing through the seconds of free fall. I was in a full panic by the time the floor dropped out from under me. The next thing I realized I was underwater and thought, “really?  They fill the tubes with water for further torture?”  As I came to my senses…. I was at the bottom and could get out. I did it. I survived. I did it again just to be sure.
For some reason physical and emotional abuse, especially by someone promising to care and love, affects the external environment as well. A horse freely running one day might after being beaten repeatedly fear leaving the stall of a barn. We sink into smaller places as our emotional and physical stability is robbed. Our freedom, our bravery, our ability to understand how our physical bodies will react in the environment is stolen. I have, systematically, put myself into situations I fear to practice freedom. I’ll get back on those roof tops.

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Thank you for your comment. Positive feedback and helping those that have experienced the same tragedies are what keeps me going.