If I had hit that pole one inch in any other direction, I would be dead.
By the time the slow motion scene of my car sliding across the water had ended, my trunk and back seats were nudged up against the back of my driver’s seat.
I have been in several accidents which have left me saying, “I could have died.”
From flipped SUV’s in wintery wonderlands to getting T-Boned on the passenger side as I hung my head out of its window feeling the sunny breeze, but nothing gets to me quite like driving in the rain.
That slow motion moment has lodged itself in my emotional fear bank.
Without fail, it always surfaces when I am on four tires with a wet road underneath me.
I have a relationship with my fear. It holds me like a ball and chain clanking everywhere I go.
Usually I have the tools to dispel my fear. I gained them from a lifetime of fearful observation, intuition and professional research. I do believe if fear shows up, it is my teacher. I also believe that it must be serving me somehow and that subconsciously, I desire its presence.
But this feels like a hell that I can’t stop visiting.
The last time I was irrationally afraid, I remembered to open up my box of tools.
I closed my eyes and asked a question:
“Why do I still have this fear?”
The message I received was clear:
“You’re afraid to not be afraid.”
“Why would I want to be afraid? I genuinely don’t like this feeling,” I rebutted.
“Because you like to be kept.”
The implication was profound beyond what I’d expected to receive:
I was raised on fear.
The cops were always coming to take me away, the bears were gonna eat me, the sharks were in the water, Santa was watching me and not bringing me gifts. My parents meant no harm and it was supposed to be fun, but as a sensitive child, I believed every word. Life was terrifying.
I became not very good at learning lessons unless it hurt. That was the way I was taught to learn and I assumed that’s how everyone else learned too. I wasn’t one to watch others mistakes and make decisions based on their outcomes. I needed to feel the burn to know for myself.
I didn’t trust much unless it hurt me first. Then, I knew what I had to contend with. And even with things that hadn’t hurt me yet, I was always waiting for the burn they would inevitably bring. I never even considered that there were things out there that might not hurt me.
The only trust I came to know was my trust in fear itself.
I always wanted to be kept, to be held, to feel like someone else was more in control than I was. All I wanted was a sense of safety.
I wanted someone to take care of my sensitivities, my longings, my emotions—and though at points my surrogate carer was food—the thing I knew would take care of me always, was my fear.
It was the one constant I trusted would always be there.
If I had a personal relationship with my emotions, fear would be the abusive spouse who says he truly loves me but doesn’t show me how. And somehow I am the one who feels guilty about it. I cling to knowing where to go home to, knowing what it will feel like when I do, and even if it feels horrible, knowing I will be kept there.
Fear will not throw me out. Fear will stay with me and live with me forever.
Fear has served me so well that I even feel bad considering not being there for it, the way it has been there for me.
Spiritually, I feel protected. I consider myself sensitive to realms other than this one, and this affords me plenty of experiences with the divine to guide me to this truth. Still, fear has remained.
Contemplating my need to be kept lifted the veil of my fear in that moment. There’s no guarantee that it will lift forever, but I made a decision on that wet and windy road.
Although fear was keeping me, I was also keeping it. We have been each others’ keepers. We have been each others’ one true—always. We have a relationship that has been untouchable by any one or anything in my life.
Always, fear and I have made the final call, and done so—together.
I decided that I’d like to divorce my fear but remain as amicable as possible. I’d like to honor its own vulnerability and place in setting me on a path that makes me feel whole again. I’d like it to know how grateful I am but not live with it under the same roof.
I want to be freed up for a new relationship with it in my life as a friend rather than a lover, but I do want to remarry.
Fear will always come to visit like the tempting ex-lover who forever owns a place in my heart. I accept this fact and I accept its temptation as a continual reaffirmation of the choice I made in the car that day.
Whenever Fear comes to guilt me into sleeping with it, I will remind myself that I am engaged.
I am planning a wedding with Divinity.
Divinity doesn’t only love me, she knows how to show me love that doesn’t hurt and I’d like to show her I trust her.
Divinity will now be my keeper but its not divinity’s job to set the boundaries on my ex-lover.
Author: Stacy Hoch
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Alyssa L. Miller/ Flickr