I was pondering this morning on how often I have had this conversation with God and with everyone I have gotten close to or paid to listen to me. I never really thought of myself as a coward, but each time I have that conversation, I flash on all the times I felt fear. I was 11 or 12. There were a set of twine, boy and girl, that lived down the street. The girl, Carla, pushed my younger sister down and I stood up for her. I pushed Carla. Well, now Andy wanted to fight me. I was not much of a fighter. I was in shape, because round is a shape. I ran in my house and hid. My Dad came home and I explained my plight because he wanted to know why 10 kids were standing outside calling me a chicken and making clucking noises. He told me I don’t have to go out there, but if I did, he would never call me coward again. That sounded good at the time. Years later, I would realize he never called me that and I don’t think I ever heard him use that word before or after. I did fight Andy and both of us would claim victory.
My fears have varied over the years. I have always been afraid of physical confrontation. I quit karate because we were going to have to hit each other. I was 40. I am not weak and could probably do pretty well in a fight. I don’t run and hide, but am adept at defusing a situation now.
I fear rejection. I fear isolation. I fear fear. I fear being lonely. I fear being a failure. I fear not being liked. I fear not being loved or loveable. I fear loss. I fear pain.
Today was a fear laden morning. I feel rejected on many fronts, but most tangible in my consciousness is my ex girlfriend and my daughters. Two very different situations and yet very similar fears. I miss all of them so much. I think I set myself up to feel this pain. I say it that way to make myself feel better. I know I did. I don’t know why except that the fear list paralyzes me. With my kids, I hurt their mother and ended up leaving the home, destroying the dream life and family. They were very confused and angry and decided to stop all communication with me. I failed their expectations as a father. I felt rejected, isolated, unloved and unloveable. I hurt. I am getting more able to cope with that pain. The realization that instead of feeling the emotions, I slid into suffering them, helped me dramatically. Somedays, I do very well. Today is not one of those days.
I am meeting my fear with perseverance. I am learning to trust myself in the face of adversity. I am letting myself be aware of the fears and stepping up to the plate. I am learning to love me first.