Warning: naughty language ahead!
Sucked into a vortex of self-absorption.
Everything is about me.
It’s almost as if the only reason others exist is to serve my needs on some level. The beauty is on the other side I think to myself. Or is it inside? Perhaps it’s outside? I ponder this, knowing full-well the beauty lies somewhere. Wrapping itself like magic glue, repairing and restoring like magic does in fairy tales when we all believed fairies were real.
While we’re stuck in it though, there is no beauty. No light. No love. How do we find our way out of these cyclones of despair?
Somewhere in between my son being diagnosed with Aspergers, a break-up, long hours at work, and short, dark, cold winter days, my soul began to weaken until she lay helpless and desperate—tired on the ground, soaked with her own tears. My soul, greedily pulling energy from the only place alive in me to give any; a barren desolate place called fear.
The fear that my son would never go to college, or marry, or have children of his own. The fear that as my salary grew, my children shrunk from the shift in my attention and focus. The fear that I have too much baggage and no one in their right mind will ever help me unpack, resulting in my eternal alone-ness, and separation from happy couples everywhere. The fear that every relationship I enter will result in them leaving because of my inability to consistently nurture.
Or simply because I am unabashedly me.
Fear is a spineless coward bitch that manifests herself in me as an ego-driven, self-righteous asshole. “It’s lonely at the top.” An old friend says to me.
Yes it is indeed, I later acknowledge, still not knowing if I’ve gone too far to do anything about it.
I don’t recognize what’s happening when I’m inside of fear’s powerful hold on me, but she’s been running my life and ruining my life. Whether or not I allow her to right now is not up to me. I masquerade around with her disguising myself as a fierce, take-no-shit type of broad. My lips betray me however and quiver at the slightest hint of adversity, or worse yet—rejection.
“You are strong enough to be kind.” I remember the I Ching’s message to me. In this moment I’m not. I’ve risen to a place so high that I can only shake my head and pass down judgments onto everyone I encounter. It’s a façade. It’s self-sabotage. I’m deflecting what I feel inside onto everyone I meet.
It’s as if I have that line from Carrie stuck on repeat in my head: “they’re all gonna laugh at you.”
I don’t like this place, yet the comforts of its insecure loneliness will later come into my radar, and I’ll shudder at how momentarily mighty I felt. Next came the intended thought-provoking question from my therapist: So what if they all laugh at you?
“So what if they do,” I say.
I realize that I’m tired, and I’m exhausting my relationships with this over-dramatized fear that everyone will eventually leave me anyway. And so maybe they will, and some of them have. Then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
As of recent, the fear of losing any relationship at all demands I increase my expectations and forces me to put tighter rules on that relationship. I am now an officer of Relationship Law (no, not literally silly—as I’m the law writer, lawyer and judge too). I must patrol this relationship and ensure its safety; placing it in a tiny, uncomfortable, and restricted little cell for safekeeping. But by doing so the relationship cannot grow or change in the healthy vibrant way relationships do, spreading, and amazing you with their courage, determination, and desire to thrive.
So what do we do in order to move past fear?
We acknowledge it, and we remain aware of it. We stay conscious to the internal dialogue and interrupt it when it gets out of hand. We yell “I ain’t goin’ out like that—bring it on!” We take baby steps back in the direction of our faith.
“Where there is faith there is no fear.” ~ A wise person said.
We surround ourselves with people who love us, and whom we love back. We smile more genuinely and belly laugh deeper with our children or someone else’s children. We stay honest, and humble and in the moment. We breathe deep, and we breathe often. We do not back down.
This friends, is how we make our journey out of vortex appeal. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Some days being inside might feel safer than actually having to do that which we are afraid of, but the end result is oh so much sweeter.
We become aware of its comforts and confines. We’ll say things such as…
“I thought I was losing it.”
“The fear was crippling.”
“I thought I’d die buried in the shards of hurt I used to hurt others in my hopelessness that boomeranged their way back to me.”
“I thought you’d never forgive me.”
“I’ve come to accept the diagnosis.”
“I didn’t believe my family could take a hit this big and pull though.”
“I stopped believing in the power of a warm sunny day, and rainbows, and fairies; thank God I made my way out—I am so grateful.”
We don’t let it take us down. We live to tell about it. If only once. Maybe we’ll only ever tell our story of triumph over coffee with a friend. Perhaps we’ll only ever tell the story with our eyes, but we will tell the story of how fear almost took us out, but we lived to tell it. And there lies the beauty; the vortex of fear that’s now encompassed in our passion, tears, and sweat from fighting to survive.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Ola Weber / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Alexandros Raskolnick / Flickr