The New Year is fast approaching, and as society has drilled into us, it is time to evaluate where we are at in our lives and what we would like to manifest as we propel into January. I have many goals and ambitions for myself in this upcoming year, as I am at a point in which I am ready to make the leap both in terms of my writing and potential work as a patient advocate. All of these goals and desires while exciting also fill me with a mixture of great fear and unknowing. Yesterday I was sitting in Freehold mall having shopped till I dropped, when all of a sudden a familiar feeling overtook me. It is one I have experienced many times before. When there is a lull, however small it may be in the roller coaster that is my health, out of nowhere a panicky feeling bubbles up within. I suddenly get visions of myself, snapshots from battles past. Me in a hospital gown, or IV’s snaking in my arm. It is more than just a image in my head, in those brief moments I am experiencing the moment all over again. It is visceral and unyielding. The first feeling that surfaces is usually panic, panic in not knowing when the other shoe will drop, when the next challenge will present itself, and feeling that this reprieve I am in is just too good to last. It always is.
But these feelings are not the ones that frighten me. Instead the ones that follow next are the ones I am always ashamed of. I have the thought of, “well at least dealing with a health crisis is a known entity.” It is comfortable, familiar territory. I am equipped to deal with whatever springs up and I am good at it. I am good at feeling horrible and having to puzzle through the next saga. It doesn’t mean I like it or want to be dealing with it, far from it. However the known unknown of my health sometimes feels a lot less overwhelming than the complete and utter unknown of what I call my “actual life”. The me apart from my illness. My ambitions, passions, goals etc. And I immediately feel guilty for thinking this way. Am I nuts? When I am sick all I dream about is feeling better and getting back to “normal.” So why then am I sitting here scared of it, of potentially even experiencing success and fulfillment.
When looking back in my journal I came across a brief entry from around this time last year. It seems to sum up perfectly what I have been struggling with lately.
12/2/13 -Why is it the things we really want in life, we dream about them, turn them over from every angle in our mind, imagine living out these moments- yet when they are actually close to coming to fruition, we are suddenly panic stricken and terrified? Maybe I don’t actually want this, I won’t be good at this, who do I think I am, or my favorite, I’m not ready. When are we ever truly ready for any experience good or bad? That’s why it is called an experience. We are learning as we go and deriving meaning from every encounter.
So have I learned anything in the past year about fear? I’m not sure.
I know that I’m more afraid of not trying than trying. I know when I ‘m experiencing a big surging wave of fear that most likely means I’m stumbling onto something great. That I can and should push forward and take the next step, be it baby or giant. And I know beating ourselves up for being afraid is counterproductive. We all have something we are afraid of; fear is innate and serves a purpose. It is what we choose to do with it that matters. It’s saying Fuck It and holding on tight for the wild ride ahead.
So yee-haw here’s to 2015. May it be a crap your pants terrifying, exhilarating, wonderful and brand-new year for you all!