“You’re scared,” Jen tells me, as a matter of fact but so kindly.
I jump back, not at her words but because, you know what?, she’s telling the honest to goodness truth.
Sometimes the truth is terrifying.
I’m telling her about this retreat I want to go on, an awesome yoga and writing retreat. This retreat I’m telling Jen about helps you examine fear head on. Jennifer Pastiloff asks you what you’re afraid of, she helps you move beyond your ordinary. And before I can even list all the reasons that I really really want to go my Jen is encouraging me, “You should go! Go!” And I’m trying to tell her why I shouldn’t, why I can’t, and then- “You’re scared.”
I don’t like being scared. I mean, does anyone really like being scared? No. We all fight it, we fight fear. So we say things like “be fearless” (I think I’ve even posted that very phrase on the StL Facebook page, my apologies).
Fearless-without fear. Who is actually without fear?
[We live in spite of fear]
A while ago I was standing on a ladder attempting to reach some suitcases and Patrice stood at the bottom saying, “Be really careful Mom. I’m gonna help you.” I have balance but since my stroke and vertigo I don’t really trust it so Patrice says this and suddenly one of the fears that I’ve tucked away into the corner of my mind is right at the forefront. What if I fall off of this ladder (read: what happens to Patrice if I fall and hit my head?)? It turned out that even with the ladder I couldn’t reach the suitcases so when I get off the ladder, trembling with fear, I ask Patrice, “What do you do if Mommy falls and Daddy isn’t home?”
“I’ll help you.”
“If Mommy falls and Daddy isn’t home, you go across the street and you get Jen.”
“If you fall and Dad is not here I’m gonna go and get Jen.” Did I just transfer my fear to my child? Fear is the easiest of the communicable diseases to spread and the most difficult to get rid of. . . . because you can’t really get rid of fear.
[We live in spite of fear]
We live to spite fear.
Fear is what motivates us when all your peers in high school think that you’ll never amount to anything so you swallow the lump in your throat and you leave everything you know.
Fear motivates us when someone you trust tells that no one in the predominately Caucasian area you live will want the burden of marrying a black woman; so despite that voice ringing loud and clear in your mind you get dressed and you go on that blind date.
Fear motivates you when death is hovering over you. The fear of death is so great that you’ve made up your mind that you’ll fight like hell so when you wake up from your stroke you hear things like, “it’s pretty amazing.”
I’ll never be without fear. I’ll never be fearless and I’m no longer afraid of that.
I live in spite of and to spite fear.
Fear can suck it.
I’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra. After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment. (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here)
I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book.
I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose.
If you can’t find me here you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.