As I look at taking better care of my body, I am becoming much more aware of emotions that hang around, influencing decisions and moods. One of these emotions that crops up quite often is fear. I'm not sure if this is a child-like fear that was never resolved, or a new, adult-sized fear. And I'm not too sure if making the discovery of where this feeling came from originally is really important. At this point, I am only interested in the fact that it is here, and feels like it has set roots down in me. Not like an 'Alien' type thing, more of a 'Hey there, I'm around until you decide what to do with me' sort of thing.
But what purpose does fear serve? We all know that fear can help guide us to make the right decision, such as not crossing the road at a time when cars are passing - no, be afraid of getting hit. Yes of course - and this just turns into good judgement and common sense later on. But as adults, what scares us? I know that the unknown can scare me pretty deeply. I'm not talking about the simple things - not knowing what's for dinner, or what the weather will be. I'm talking about not knowing if my children will be ok without their parents when the time comes. Will they stay safe when they are not at home? I think it's natural for any parent to be concerned, yes, even scared about their children. But what if we go deeper?
I think about my health and the decisions I've made over the past 2 decades - the time when I was really the one in control and answered to no one. Years of ice cream and Doritos has taken a toll on me now - one that I don't know if I can undo, although I am working on it. I now look in the mirror and see a frightened child looking back. A child wrapped in layers of protection, yet no covering is enough to keep the hurt or confusion out. It's as if all the years of putting on the pounds was my attempt at wrapping the layers of an onion all around, shielding me from rejection, disappointment and fear. And yet, if I really look at it, I understand that all those layers KEPT those feelings inside of me. Rather than shield me from the hurt of the outside world which I felt anyway, I also endured the anger and wrath of my inner critic demanding to know what was wrong with me that I didn't look like everyone else, act like everyone else, eat like everyone else. The stronger that voice became, the more layers I wrapped myself in, and the cycle started over again. every time I wrapped a layer around, I was causing those feelings to bounce back on me, when I wanted to keep them out altogether. Talk about self-sabotage!
Finding a way to soften that inner critic has me face to face with my fear. It's not an ugly stand-off as I had expected, but rather like a gentle calling to a frightened animal, one who is reluctant to come close for fear of the unexpected. Through this process I am learning patience as I know this will not turn overnight. I am also learning gratitude for being alive, for being able to recognize and hold these feelings, even if working through them every day is not an option for me.
It's funny to type this up and sound so grown up, but of course in reality, I have good days and really bad days with this. Just yesterday, you would have thought me 5 years old with the tantrums I had, stomping my feet and pulling my hair. The problem?? I was mad that I couldn't have cake with my boys. Imagine that.
We wanted to see family this summer. With the month of August off from work, and kids out of school, we decided to travel out to the West by car. Our trip will take us through some interesting experiences, and some great places as well.