We all have a default in our flesh, a mode of reacting that we turn to when life gets out of control. For me, that mode has been fear. I remember crying and crying in fear of any number of ailments when I was younger, from gum disease to my knee locking up. I feared dogs from a young age. I remember a period of weeks when I imagined that a boy from the next neighborhood over was patrolling our neighborhood on his dirtbike, looking to beat me up, and cringed in fear in my house. When we first moved to Glenwood, I was afraid to walk the dogs, and as we have had children, my anger in the morning when they wake up early is generated by my fear of being tired. I don’t know where that seed got planted and how its roots got so deep, but it seems as though fear is, if not a constant companion, a very familiar visitor.
I think that I indulge it because thinking about what I am afraid of, and what could happen to me, gives an illusion that I am in control. If I can imagine every unseen danger or possibility, I won’t be surprised (goes the thinking).
But it wears me out. I think of the hours and hours that I have spent walking in fear, worrying about things that never came to pass, and I know that I’ve wasted a lot of time. And I can see that I have passed this default of fear to my children, a negative inheritance for their soul. And I don’t know how to beat it.
Yesterday some dealers down the street rode by on a moped and yelled something at me as I set up the yard for a cookout. When my friend and I drove by their house a few minutes later, they yelled again. And now I don’t want to walk my neighborhood. I don’t want to go to the community garden because I am afraid. Did they yell at me because they saw a police officer stop and talk with me on Thursday? Did they know that he was telling me about their activities, giving me a heads up and asking me to let him know if I knew anything? Were they now looking at me as a threat, a snitch? And so home doesn’t feel safe, even though I don’t know what they said, but I have filled in the blank for them.
I’m tired of fear, and I just don’t know how to move forward and be free from it.