I have been thinking quite a bit about fear lately. In part, because at the beginning of every semester, my students experience some fear as they enter my classroom, aka the world of Dr J. As I structure my classes in a very non-traditional way, they experience some discomfort and fear as they try to get used to my “uniqueness” and me. Some experience more then others. There have been some real fearful moments in my life, moments where I had real moments to be afraid. I remember one time when my son was having a flashback about his mother abusing him and he threatened to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4. I remember experiencing fear when I was attacked and when I was raped. These were fearful on a number of levels. Another time, more recently, was when I lost my paratransit services and was concerned over how I was going to exist no longer able to leave my home independently or without assistance. In all these situations, how I responded enabled me to save my life in a number of ways.
In each of these situations, I had to make choices, even when I was thrown into situations when I felt as if my choices were being taken away from me. That choice making process continued long after the event ended. I had to make choices about whether or not to continue to have a relationship with my son, who at the time I had not known very long. It was the first time he had felt safe enough around me to have an incident and after he had calmed down, what he most needed to hear was that I still loved him. I had to make choices about how long and to what degree I was going to heal from my attack and rape. I had to make choices about how long I was going to allow the memory of what happened to control me. I had to make similar choices when I lost my paratransit services. I had to choose whether and how I was going to allow myself to grieve this loss and transform it into a blessing in my life.
Some of the fear that I still experience today has nothing to do with anything “real” and “life-threatening.” It has to do with fears in my psyche; these little parasitic lies that feed off my soul and tell me lies on a continuous basis. Some of these fears I am mindful of, and others I am not yet aware of. What I have come to understand is that as the song says I have the power to eradicate these fears from my life. I am the solution to my fears. I am my own personal wonder woman.
The last time I was single, a long time ago now, I used to fear that no one would ever love me again. I was so hurt at the time and I am not sure I loved myself enough then to believe that anyone could love me. Looking back, I think I stayed in some relationships longer then I should have out of this fear of being alone. I remember one evening, when I was feeling quite alone, asking God if I was ever going to be with someone who would want to be with me forever. Was I ever going to have that fairy tale relationship? The answer was that I already did, but I had forgotten how to dance with her, my life partner was me. Since then, I have been on an ongoing and lifelong relationship with myself.
The fear I am working on now is giving myself permission to be in the spotlight. I have always felt fearful about being in the spotlight. I have this fear of people paying me too much attention. I think that is what led me to teach as I do. If I were lecturing then I would have to be in the spotlight, so I teach by discussion. However, this fear of being noticed has also been part of my “obesity.” Funny, I wanted to gain weight so people would not want to go out with me, then I would say if someone really loved me it would not matter what I weighed. Ironically, being “obese” puts me in the spotlight, so losing weight would not take me out of it, but shift the spotlight I am under physically.
I think one of the things that has helped me face and move through my internal fears is how I moved through my real fears. Learning how to make choices about how I was going to maintain my wellness and health in real life threatening situations has helped me to realize that if I can face and live through those fears, I can face and live through any other fear I need to face. I have the power to move through them. As I said to a friend recently, when I feel that fear emerging, just click those wonder woman bracelets together, and feel the power to move through the fear. If the fear is a fear of my creation, then the way to destroy that fear is also part of my creation. Fear, fear go away and do not come back another day.