2/20/2014

Not Even In Spite of...But Because of...Fear

The other morning I was getting ready for a meeting, one that was a little bit out of my comfort zone, and as I applied base to cover my decidedly red cheeks (yes, I flush when nervous or excited...yay me), I was mentally going through some affirmations...you know, to pump myself up.

And so there I was...smearing base on my face in no particular pattern and not really checking for lines or coverage cuz I was living in my head...and I told myself, "You're fearless." And then I dissolved in helpless laughter. To tell you the truth, I'm not even sure I finished putting the base on I was laughing so hard. And then I had to go find my Imodium and phenergan because that's what I do when my body chooses to be an ass and vote no confidence.

The problem with living with an anxiety disorder, especially over several decades (all of the decades I've got on me) is that even when one's brain is all fearless and shit, insisting "I got this, no really, I do," the body is doubled over in laughter and spasms not agreeing at all. The only solution to this conundrum is a delicate, fine balance of anxiolitics and meds to control the GI tract. So far the only solution to being beet red is base...which I don't always finish putting on...

One of my other "coping" mechanisms is giggle fits. Uncontrollable, unpredictable giggle fits. You know, because my body likes pretending the Joker has gassed me at the least convenient times, like when I'm in front of a class lecturing.

So there I was the other day, keeping the makers of Imodium and Phenergan in business, laughing uncontrollably as I flashed through all the times I've been anything but fearless.

Can you imagine fearlessness? You could do anything, no problem. But I don't know that you would do the things that matter most because fear goes with investment and care. When you care deeply about something, when the stakes are incredibly high, fear is a necessary companion. Fear motivates. Fear makes you think.

No. I am not fearless. I am full of fear. Surrounded by it. Steeped in it. Intimately familiar with it. It is my dance partner.

And because I know fear so well, anxiety is always there, as well. It sits in my stomach, twists it, makes my heart feel as if it will break free from my chest, and keeps my mind revving at full throttle.

I know anxiety. I know fear.
And still, I act, because when I am fearful, when I am anxious, I am motivated toward change.

And my body knows how to catalyze that fear and anxiety into comic relief so that I do not take myself too seriously.

I am fearless. Oh, heavens no, but like a perennial joke that never loses its connection with our funny bone, saying that never fails to lighten my heart and put a smile on my face. And then I'm ready, whether I remember to smear the base on both sides of my face or not. And that's good enough.

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