fear.

Friday, January 20, 2012

writing for me is therapy, cathartic.
allowing me to purge my innermost thoughts
all the stuff that doesn't make sense, and somehow, make sense of it.
and up 'til now, i have done that here shamelessly, honestly and with as much wit as i can muster.
however.
something's been missing.
and i know what that's been.  
below the surface of all my 'we need more balance, we need more love, we need to try harder, we need to appreciate our lives more, we need to stay present' jibber jabber, 
all the easy stuff we can talk about, 
that so many creative stay-at-homers work to inspire in other mothers,
well, for me, personally, is simply the by-product of some serious work, even deeper work, i've been doing over the past two years.
i've been on a change-seeking journey that has brought forth this new self you most often see here, blogging about finding the good in the bad.
but it wasn't always this way.  far from it, actually.  very far.
let me share.
partly because i like sharing and want to get this out, mostly because i know hearing MY journey could help someone else.
{this may be a 4, ah. . .6, no. . .maybe 27 part series.  as i have a lot to say about this.}
i'll try to condense as i go.
and you may know exactly what i'm talking about.  you may have no idea.  you may be bored to tears.  take from it what you will.:)
my childhood was. . .awesome.  i have no complaints, honestly.
i am the oldest of 3 girls.  spread out nicely over a span of 7 years.
i think my parents might've liked to have a boy, go for that 4th, but we did them in.  and they opted against adding on.  don't blame 'em.
i was a little shit.
oh, but i had good intentions.  
from as YOUNG as i can remember, say, 5-years-old, i was in control.
and i knew it.  (or at least thought it.)  and that turned outward in many different ways.
i was extremely overprotective of my little sister, just the two of us, for many years.
always obsessing over her safety, the well-being of my parents, robbers breaking in, tornado's taking our house out, the doctor, the dentist, the principal at school, you know, normal kid fears.
i think, now looking back, i dealt with that stuff, the only way i knew how,
creating safety and stability at home, other than what my parents offered, which they did beautifully.
i found more if it in cleaning, oddly enough.:)
dusting, making my sisters bed every morning, so she wouldn't have to (and because she wasn't very good at it,) doing laundry, you name it.
and honestly, i loved it.  (and i'm sure my parents did too.)  they never had to ask me to pick up my room.  i was an obsessive neat freak.  my toys and closet and underwear drawer were beautifully organized, even at 7-years-old.  i was kind of a freak.  but was ok with it.
and now looking back, i think it truly WAS my way of coping.  still is.
i don't believe i was BORN to clean, it's just what i did.
looking back, it's almost laughable.  it was harmless, in comparison to what so many other kids and teens do today to deal with emotional turmoil.
i wasn't cutting.  overeating.  starving.  tapping on the door frame five times before i walked in to a room.  i just folded my parents underwear and my sisters sweatpants like it was nobody's business.
getting lost in the controllable stuff, the 'manageable' stuff, that is always there for the taking.
but it started at a young age and has never left and i've accepted that and made some little tweaks in the past few years. . .
so i didn't think i was any different.  my imagination was wild and crazy and took me to the worst of places.  but of course, like all our thoughts, they'd hang out for a bit until i was distracted by a barbie, cousins, swimming, playing tag.  
ah, the beauty of childhood.  the ability they have to move on or stay in the moment.
i never talked about it with anyone, as geez, i was 5, 6, 7.  i just dealt with it.
it didn't impact my childhood.  i was a normal kid, otherwise.  riding bikes, walking up to the local convenient store to buy licorice and cool aid, ghost in the graveyard, neighborhood clubs.
and i was independent.  despite my fearful thoughts, i wasn't afraid to take out on my own.
but i always carried the fears with me.  and it wasn't until i was about 8 or 9, that all my little random fears, getting in to a car accident, my sister choking on her chicken mcnugget and dying, my dad cutting his foot off in the lawnmower, that it was replaced with something even more awful, and in my mind, very real.
i remember sitting on the couch one day after school, watching oprah.  yes, oprah.  (i didn't normally watch oprah.  i think my mom had been watching and i just plopped down for a minute, waiting for it to be over so i could put my show on.)
oprah had a panel of young women on, 16 and 17-year-olds, talking about rape.
now, up until then, as i've said, my childhood was pretty mild.  other than robbers, i knew of nothing else potentially dangerous in my immediate world.
but then this word.  rape.  totally new to me, well, curiosity propelled me to ask.
you could tell it was a serious topic.  women we crying, the vibe was solemn.  i had the feeling this wasn't a good thing.
"mom, what is rape?"
and she answered.  and i don't remember her answer.  i don't even know if i knew what sex was at that point, but it scared the hell out of me.  not my mom's answer, but that this existed.  that there were men out there that did this to women.  attacked young women, maybe even killed them. . .
that was the first time i remember anxiety grabbing a hold of me, tightly in it's grip.
i'd never been so terrified, so scared, and in the safety of my own living room,
with my mom right there to protect me.
my thoughts took over.
i became obsessed, with this idea. . .rape.  and from that point on, for YEARS.
and i'm not joking. . .probably 7 years, i thought, that was my destiny.
that because i saw a show on oprah, because this horrific crime was introduced to me, that that was my lot in life.
so every new man, every stranger, every teenager even, that i came in to contact with, was a rapist.
ready to rape me the minute i turned my back.
i remember one summer, in the midst of this overwhelming fear,
standing in line at the zoo, my little sister in front me.  not touching her, but keeping her close, should anyone try to snatch her.  not to mention my mom was standing about 10 feet from us.  didn't matter.  terrified.
all of a sudden, someone started running their fingers through my hair.  slowly and steadily.  
from the top of my scalp to the tips of my curls.
i.was.paralyzed, of course.  because i knew my mom was off to the side.  this was a tight line up to the ride.  it was someone taller than me, clearly bigger.  stronger.
i stood their frozen.  'this is it.  this is the moment i've been dreading.  this man is going to stick a gun in my back and force me to his car, with my mother watching.  my little sister in front of me.  it was all my worst fears coming to fruition.  in line at the frickin' zoo, waiting to get on a ride.
my eyes started to tear up, my legs started to tremble and i wanted to alert someone, but was so scared, and literally, couldn't move.
after what felt like 10 minutes, (really, only 5 seconds,) i felt someone grab my shoulders and peak around to look at me.
"OH HONEY!  I'M SO SORRY!  I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY DAUGHTER!"
a sweet, young mom.  BEYOND embarrassed.  giggling a little at her mishap, not realizing the anguish i'd just put myself through.
"I'M SO SORRY!  I'M SO SORRY!  I HOPE I DIDN'T SCARE YOU!  NOW WHERE'S MY DAUGHTER?!"
that sent her off now looking for the daughter she thought was standing in front of her.  
nice.
but left me in total freak out mode.  
i sprang out of line, totally unequipped to handle what had just occurred.  not able to see the humor in it, yes, a little creepy, but unable to let it go and just say, 'that was weird.'
i sobbed and wouldn't get back in line.  terrified of that happening again. 
so remained hell bent on keeping this from happening. . .whether someone uninvitingly running their fingers through my hair, or worse.
i'd be damned if some man is going to hurt me OR my little sister.
what a HORRIBLE way to live, you say.  of course, but for me, it was the only way.  
to have my guard up.  to be overly aware of my surroundings at all times.  to be in control.
i never talked about it nor felt the need to share this fear with anyone.
i just dealt with it and any others that popped up in the meantime.
but this set the stage for me, a stage i would be on much of my life, worrying about everything.  obsessively.
i've never been raped, thankfully. 
but this way of being, this negative thought pattern i'd so easily found my way into at such a young age, 
a sort of, 'i think, therefore i am,' was how i would survive life.
that was how i was going to be in control, avoid pain and tragedy.
the belief that just by WORRYING about being raped and having my guard up, is what kept me safe all those years.
but for me, became equally as horrifying and violating as being attacked, which you'll read about later.
but i bought in to that belief, worrying that whatever i heard, whatever horrible thing i saw, would surely happen to me, simply because i thought it.  or saw it.
falling victim to every crazy, fearful thought i had, BELIEVING in all of them, just became hardwired in to me.
and for so long, i thought, 'well?  this is just me!  this is who i am.'
i think once i entered high school, i gained a little more knowledge, thankfully.  common sense stepped in.  realizing, ok.  probably don't need to be afraid of this anymore.  not all men are bad.  in fact, most are good.  and i love boys.  just don't walk down a dark alley by yourself.  don't go on a date with someone you don't trust.  whatever.  i worked it out.
and high school for me was awesome.  again, still independent, happy, confident, i actually liked myself.  wasn't afraid of boys.  had amazing friends.  it was peachy.  the only thing that ever really ruffled my nerves was getting ready for a race (ran x-c) or having to give a speech.  but even with those, adrenaline propelled me through.
even college was great.  i got a little lost. . .trying to find myself, where i was going, blah, blah, blah, but for the most part, anxiety was not an issue.
it wasn't until becoming a mother, that all those thought patterns i'd had as a child, seemed to find there way back to each other.
and slowly, very slowly, but deeply, like a slow, internal bleed, consumed me.
and over the past seven years, has threatened to take from me, all that i NOW believe, to be good and real and authentic in life.
and that is where THIS journey begins. . .



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