"And if you're frightened..."

June 02, 2009 Candace Morris 5 Comments

you can be frightened.
you can be
that's okay*

The fear hit me last night. I am not sure what it is about flossing or washing my face, but if I am going to break down, it's usually then. All my worst fears and voices of failure and eyes of criticism and dislike bought tickets to this sold-out event. They crowded in around the mirror just as I saw myself. I saw myself with no words, blankly staring at a screen, the steady, trusty flow of my art run dry. With this new opportunity to write and publish, I felt paralyzed.

I cried.

I cried because their comments felt real, yes. But more than this, I cried because the things they were saying hurt like hell. And then I cried more because they were coming from inside of me. My bathroom floor embraced me with her cold dusty arms. My cat touched my arm in concern at the sound of my sobs.

After a few minutes, I wiped myself off the floor, finished brushing my teeth, and turned the light off on the fear. I have discovered an antidote to it and I think it's tears. Water freaks out the fear and sends it flying back from whence it came. But without this fear, I would never have known what I know today.

It's okay to be afraid.
Thom York said so.

I opened the window for Octavia today. This particular window does not have a screen. We are in a subterranean apartment, so our windows are just below sidewalk level with bit concrete walls forming little planters outside. She was very scared to step out, despite it being completely safe (did she know I was watching her the whole time, ready to jump if she showed signs of scatting?). Over the course of 15 minutes, she finally let her entire body wander in the planter. Her whiskers flickered with new experience, her head bobbing spasmodically as her eyes followed a fly. A bicycle would go by, a dog would wander along the path with its owner, a bus would roar down the street, and she'd jump back in, but eventually she would wander out again. Even if only for a few seconds, she ventured. Slowly, but she went.

This presented a rather obvious analogy for me today. If my cat can wander carefully into new territory, I can.

Even if I come back into the safety of the house every single time.
Because fear does NOT a failure make.


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