It’s been so fascinating to revisit all the things that used to scare me. I’m celebrating the fifth anniversary of Empath, my anxiety dragon book that has been a quiet hit around the country. When the book first came out, my twenty-or-so fans were treated to a series of introspective blog posts about what really scared me. I updated them about three years ago, but I thought it would be fun to update them again with how far I’ve come.
You can read the original blog post, “I am afraid of being alone forever,” here. Keep reading after the jump for the update.
And go #SlayYourFears today!
Seventeen days ago, I got married to a man who is everything I could’ve asked for in a husband and more. So that kind of knocks the “forever” off the “alone forever” fear.
But before I met him, I had actually come to peace with the fact that I just might actually end up alone. Pensacola is not a hotspot for young, well-adjusted-and-single thirty-somethings. While the thirty-somethings in DC are just starting out on their settling-down plans, all the decent Pensacola people have been married for five years with two kids. Finding someone who wasn’t a complete trash fire in those circumstances would’ve been a miracle.
So I settled on being alone, and figuring out what was within my control to manifest – namely, starting a family. After all, for that all I needed was a willing donor. With that in mind, I began to build a life where I could support myself and a kiddo. After all, I had the network of family and friends nearby who could lend a hand, all I needed was to figure the paycheck if I was unable to freelance. Thus the house flipping, and acquiring a rental property or two to provide some passive income. I was well on my way to achieving this life…
Then my husband came along and ruined my plans with his marriage proposal and amazing life partner qualities. Womp-womp. 😛
The Flip-Side of Independence
In the days/weeks leading up to the wedding, I began to notice the somewhat dark side of the independence I’ve cultivated. I’m not saying there’s such a thing as too independent, but there is something to be said for walling your heart up too much that it’s hard to open it for the right person. In my desire to never feel that horrific pain of loss again, I have built this idea of impermanence around love.
Impermanence can be a great technique for putting things in perspective, like pain and misery. But when it comes to something good, it can handcuff you and keep you from diving in head-first, even when it’s safe to do so. For me, I’ve been afraid to accept that my husband will be by my side for the next fifty years. We talk in certainties and make plans for kids and future and life, but the Anghenfil is quick to remind me that early death and divorce exist – and everything ends eventually.
Yikes, right? Damn anxiety dragon.
The answer is, of course, that life is much richer when we feel things with our whole heart, when we love despite the fear of impermanence. I’ve grown tired of living every day as if the other shoe is going to drop, and I am working to recognize that thought pattern and break the habit when it comes up. My husband deserves a wife who gives her all to him, and I will slay ten anxiety dragons if necessary to get myself there.
But I think change will come in little a-ha moments, versus big sweeping dramatics. The day of our wedding, we were sitting on the dock at our property in Alabama, watching the sunset and the mullet jump, and drinking a bottle of Freixenet. And I had this realization that the man sitting next to me was my life partner. It was the same sort of feeling in my chest when I realized he was the man I wanted to marry. That knowing that I had arrived to the heart where I would make my home. Perhaps now I just need to be brave enough to walk through the front door.