F.E.A.R.

Fear Or F.E.A.R.

A 2019 Resolution

Occasionally I find myself thinking about if I was an animal (and yes , I realize people technically ARE animals but I mean animals as in “not human” animals) and what kind of animal I would be. Is there an animal that I relate to? Do I relate to more than one? I believe I do relate to more than one…maybe I relate to different things about different animals. Like some days I really understand what it means to be a sloth or a even an ordinary house cat hissing at something I don’t like. But as I’m getting older I find myself thinking about things on a different (maybe even bizarre) level. I think if I had to choose an animal that I tend to see myself as it would have to be a deer. And not just a regular deer….a deer in headlights that is second- guessing it’s own movements.

As I have been getting further into the decades of my life, I find myself contemplating my entire existence. I have not always been pleased with my choices and looking back, I see the common denominator of what was and has been holding me back in many areas. Or what has been the cause of my getting into situations that I don’t much care for. That one thing is fear. That’s how I feel that I relate to deer. They are born into a world that basically is out to get them….to eat them actually. Other animals and humans too. Deer need to be suspicious, cautious and well, basically scared in order to keep themselves safe. When I see deer, I watch how they are always on alert and quick to startle and run away. They need to do that for survival. That’s sort of how I feel that I have been living my own life. I did certain things and didn’t do other things out of fear.

As an overly sensitive child (and now, overly sensitive adult) I didn’t do certain things that I wanted to do because I was afraid of what might happen. I was always afraid of what someone might think, that it would be the wrong thing to do, that I wouldn’t be good at what I tried or just thinking I didn’t deserve to have what I really wanted. Most of the time I did things to just please everyone else. I felt it was expected of me so that’s what I did.

Deer also do have some “en-deer-ing” qualities (see what I did there?). Deer are quick on their feet and graceful. Sometimes I’m graceful. Other times I trip over air. Does also tend to be good mothers to their fawns. Instinct helps in regards to parenting, as does the fear. I was afraid of what might happen so I was sure to be highly cautious and on guard when it came to my kids. Hopefully, that is at least one good thing that came from my fear driven life. Fear can be a helpful thing and we can’t go through life totally fearless about everything. If we did, well, not many of us would even make it to adulthood. Fear does have it’s place. Until it’s crippling. I do believe that that’s where the second guessing comes in to play. I have always been a huge second guesser. On my drive home tonight, I came upon two deer and they did their normal panic and were unsure which way to go. One went one direction and the other went opposite. This time their decisions kept them alive. Other times they second guess and back track and a lot of times they wind up as road kill. I was thinking about the two deer and how they split and went two different directions. Fear sent the one deer back the way that it came. The other moved forward. I thought about that and about how many times I was afraid to move forward in my life. Or if I eventually did, it took me a long time. A lot of overanalyzing on my part. I, too, was afraid of becoming road kill.

It also made me realize that I am entirely sick of living this way. I was talking with my good friend (and cousin) recently and we discussed the second guessing that I have always been plagued with. She said she never second guesses herself because everyone else does it for her. I found that absolutely fascinating and a great way to look at it. One of the things that held me back was worrying about what other people think. How oddly liberating it is to think that if everyone else is judging my decisions and second guessing me….then I don’t have to. They’re doing it for me which frees me up to live and do what I want.

I recently read that fear has two meanings. One is to think like the deer – Forget Everything And Run. I’ve done that for far too long. I like the second meaning better – Face Everything And Rise. So one of my goals for the coming year and hopefully for the rest of my life is to follow the second definition of fear. I’m tired of hiding and playing it safe. As hard as it is for me to put myself out there and maybe even draw attention to myself, I’m going to do it. I have to.

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