This week, I’ve been revisiting all my old blog posts on the things that used to scare me to celebrate the fifth anniversary of Empath. It’s been especially interesting as I’ve just had a major life change – getting married last month. Taking the time to get introspective has been therapeutic for me, and I hope that it’s been helpful for you.
You can read the original blog post,“Fear of Fear” here. Keep reading after the jump for the update.
And go #SlayYourFears today!
When I wrote the original blog post, I had just taken the final large step toward building a new life. I’d spent eighteen months detangling myself from the life I no longer wanted in DC, and had just completed the final, big step of selling my house and moving everything back to Florida. Back then, I had no idea what the future held, and I was hopeful, but terrified.
Today, writing this blog, I’m in a similar situation. I’ve just taken another large step in another direction, getting married. But unlike the other one, this one feels incredibly natural. I wasn’t moving heaven and earth, just sliding into a new phase with a man who makes every day brighter by his presence. I still have no idea what the future holds, and I’m still hopeful, but the terror has faded.
I wrote earlier this week about my gratitude to Empath for resurfacing just when I needed it. This whole week, writing these blogs, have given me the outlet I desperately needed to parse through this change. Just like with writing Empath, today I feel like I’ve done the work and can get back to living happily.
Revisiting the Pain Without Getting Swept Away
I check my Facebook memories pretty regularly, and around this time, dread grows in my mind at each of my posts from back in 2013. Perhaps in the very back of my mind, I knew our relationship was coming to an end, but I sure didn’t put on airs about it. One day together, the next done.
Reading the blogs and posts from the days following, the pain is palpable. Although it’s no longer fresh, the echo of it comes back and brings me to tears. I can’t believe I thought that level of pain was normal, or even something I could just get over. I also still harbor a little bit of anger toward those in my so-called “inner circle” in DC who did nothing while I drowned – and why I’m so grateful to those back in Pensacola who tossed me a life jacket.
But even though I feel the pain, it’s not that bad. Enough time has passed where I can recognize it, remember it, but not get swept away in it. And even harness it for something creative. In this case, I’m in the middle of writing Demon Fall, and while Jack and Cam are very well-adjusted, Anya’s struggling. I can acutely describe the hopelessness of being one way and then having your life turned upside-down. I can use all those songs that bring me back to those weeks of depression, too, without getting sucked into my own memories.
Slaying Fears Never Ends
The other thing this week has taught me is that the battle is never truly over. There’s been a five year lull in the low moods, sure, but anxiety has been my constant companion through pouring money into house flipping, living with my folks, and, well, literally everything else. I do my best to manage through meditation, exercise, and talking myself through the things that scare me. Sometimes, it’s just enough to be gentle and allow myself a useless day.
I’ve also enlisted my husband in my fight – or at least to help me be mindful of mood changes. Part of my problem is my reticence to be weak, to admit a problem, to be anything other than perfect. But I am still human, and the more open and honest I can be, the happier I am. I’m so grateful I chose a man who understands and is there for me, even if it’s just reminding me that I’ve been going nonstop for the past fourteen days and I can take a day off.
As I said, our marriage feels like a natural progression versus a massive life step, but soon we’ll be taking another one and starting a family. I’m trying hard to manage my fears, and to remind myself that “Worry is a downpayment on a problem you may never have.” I hope that when I look back at this blog in another 5 years, I can report that I did a passable job.
Life is Good
Reading the blog update I did three years ago, the following passage resonates:
Quitting my job without a viable replacement income was a HUGE leap of faith. Financially, it was a dumbass decision. Spiritually, it was absolutely the right call. It gave me the space to figure out what I wanted to do (for the moment anyway) and enjoy this one life I’ve been given. And I’ve done a great job of enjoying it, if I do say so myself.
If there’s one thing that I’m proud of myself for doing, it’s that I’ve continued to enjoy this life. I go to the beach, I get out in nature and appreciate the beauty around me. I visit friends (or did, pre-pandemic), I happily watch their babies, and I spend time with my parents. I’ve done my best to balance all the things that ask for my time, while still taking time to do all the things I missed when I was in DC. And if that ends up being the only thing from this whole thing that sticks, then I can call it a success.
And with that, let’s put the #SlayYourFears blog posts to rest for another five years. (But go buy the book.)