I've been thinking of fear. If you know me, you know that I enjoy getting scared. I watch horror movies to try and tap into that adrenaline like fear that I used to have when I was a kid and my mind would just run away with itself. It was entertaining and, to a point, still is. But that's controlled and even self-inflicted fear. I mean, all I have to do if I get too scared is flip on light, turn off the iPad, or close the book.
But what about that kind of anxiety pounding fear that keeps us from doing things? That frightened voice in the back of your head that says, "Stop! Don't do that. You'll make a huge ass of yourself. Don't even try!" Or the pessimistic and dreary fear monger in the pit of your stomach who says, "Don't love too much...don't get too close. Don't melt your wings." Is there anything at all that can stop the madness?
I learned something important from my child years ago. He was six. He was a wonderful six. But he became afraid. He was afraid of becoming ill after losing a dear friend to cancer. He was afraid of sleeping. He was afraid of being separated from his parents. The fear came fast and furious, but that little frightened kid taught his mother a wonderful lesson during that dreary time. When asked to draw a picture of what scared him the most, he drew a grotesque picture of a huge dragon that nearly filled the entire sheet of paper. The dragon breathed fire. It wore a stethoscope. Had syringes instead of claws. It was heartbreaking and I teared up when I saw it.
When asked to add a picture of himself to the paper he drew a very small version of himself in the lower right hand corner. In one hand he held a sword and in the other an oversized shield. I thought, "He's so very tiny." But here's the deal: He had a shield. He had a sword. Even though he was standing, almost cowering, in its shadow, he was fighting the thing that scared him the most. Forget monsters under the bed and ghosts in the closet, this kid was encountering the monster that took his friend too soon and he was afraid would come for him and his family too. And all he needed to be reminded of was that he had tools to fight the fear. We worked on making that shield super big and I think, at some point, the shield became bigger than the fear. I hope that lasts throughout his lifetime.
That being said. Life is scary. Things happen. Families are torn apart. Kids get sick. Parents die. Lovers leave. Marriages end. But your love is your shield. Note I didn't say "shield your love"...no, just love bigger. Love more. Love harder. Love yourself. Be good and be kind. Make your shield bigger than the pain and bigger than the fear. Let your people in and let them be part of that shield. Surround yourself with people who believe in you so when you think you can't do something or are afraid to something you can turn to them and say, "Help me slay that damn dragon. I need your help."
Last night I found myself warning the teen version of that little boy of getting too involved with his girlfriend (whom I am really attached to and love too). I might have said something stupid like, "I'm just saying don't get your heart broken." Fifteen minutes later I was ashamed of myself because I'd said that. As a mom, of course, I don't want to see my kiddo get hurt. But as a mom I'd rather see him deal with heart ache than be alone or be afraid to love with all his heart. That's what we should strive for as human beings. People are often surprised that we don't use all of our brains, but what about using all of hearts? We will lose people we love. That's how this crazy merry go round works. So be the kid that keeps spinning it, shouting to the all the other kids, "Hang on! Enjoy the ride!"
So all of this is to say, gather your love, your confidence, your self-worth and make it bigger than the thing that scares you. Make an impenetrable force field. Spend more time thinking about those wonderful things and make the scarier things scared of you. You are bad ass, so be bad ass.