Out of Control
My heart picked up speed, faster than Joey Logano on the Kansas speedway. It had gotten under my hood and my pulse was beating so rapidly, I was sure my veins would burst. Hardly able to breathe, I reached for the rear view mirror of my truck and spun it so hard towards me that it almost broke off. Checking my eyes to see whether a capillary or two had burst, oozing blood and turning my yes red as it had done before, I was happy to see that it had not.
“At least no one might notice that I am about to buckle under all of this,” I thought to myself. Opening the vehicle’s door, I slowly jumped down from the cab, careful not to break the too high heels I had chosen to wear that day. Heels and Anaïs Anaïs always boosts my confidence and God knows I needed every help I could get this day.
Fear – False Evidence Appearing Real
It was too much. Things were getting way out of hand and I no longer knew whether I was coming or going. But so many people were depending on me, how could I not go in?
This was not the first time, the tenth or the hundredth time that this immobilizing fear was making its way through every fibre, every cell of my body. Truth be told, fear has been a constant companion of mine for most of my journey. There were moments, even a few days when it left me to my own devices only to return as soon as (a) I got “too” happy or excited about something or someone, (b) the ‘threat’ of relaxation loomed and just as baby girl (me) was about to lean into the comfy couch and sip on some joy, wham! Fear returned.
Fear was like a bad case of yeast infection. You are never sure what brought it on and the first itch is almost negligible. Only when you are digging – not for gold – but to scratch and tear out what is the most precious part of a woman’s body that you realise it has taken root.
In earlier posts, I told about my ability to let go of just about everything and everyone who serves me no good or intentionally means me harm. Fear is one of them, yet it has been a recurring visitor. No matter the amount of times that the door was slammed in its face; regardless of how mean or polite my vocabulary; whether I cooked a nice meal, serve champagne and have a mariachi band serenading it as I build up my courage to kick its butt out of my life – fear always return.
Anger and Fear: Bosom Buddies
Like anger, eventually it came to me to try a different tactic. Some people insist that anger is a bad thing, a dark emotion and I would agree, in part. Jane Austen said in Pride and Prejudice, “Angry people are not always wise,” and it is hard not to agree, especially when you saw so many angry people locked up as I did for their ‘foolish’ use of the emotion.
How you use anger was my first lesson, funny enough, to understand how to change my tactic with fear. A wise and calm woman; one who knew better than to call me an angry black woman (maybe she feared I would explode?) was the teacher of this private lesson. Try as I might have to hide and repress my anger at the world, life and just about everyone I had met up to that point, it kept coming through. My eyes were the giveaway. I could give you the look of death, instantly committing murder without laying a finger on you. She pulled me into her tiny office one afternoon for a talk. Fear came in with me.
After two hours, copious amount of tears that left my eyes red – not from blood as it could get – anger became my friend. My professor introduced me to the other side of anger and showed me how to use it, allow it to fuel my creativity and not let it continue to consume me and every relationship and interaction. That afternoon, I began slowing and then eventually halted my chase for everything that was wrong in the world.
Years later, after many failed and near passes on this ‘test’, I came up with a practical strategy to not only channel my anger but to tame fear. Recognizing that both are emotions and bosom buddies that will be with me (and you) for as long as I am a human being (forever in this lifetime), I developed a four-point tool to guide me through fear’s attack.
I offer it to you today – National Face Your Fears Day – in the hopes that it might help you as well. It is what I call my switch plan and I still use it, all four steps sometimes depending on the intensity of the attack. Sometimes, just one step is enough to quiet the anger, allay my fears and move me into a productive mode.
Fear Swap ©Practical and easy to use tool to move from fear to faith
|FEAR BASED RESPONSES||THE SWITCH|
|Food - overeating, especially sugary snacks and carbs to mask feelings||Sing - any song or simply listen to calming music|
|Isolate - hide from people and real feelings||Write - 'confront' fear on paper, writing clarifies what is the truth|
|Needy - seek someone to 'rescue' you from the feelings, cover up||Acknowledge and Accept what is at the root of the emotion|
|Defend - project blame, avoid responsibility thereby having more reasons to be angry||Plan options and strategies, prepare plans 'B', 'C' and 'D' if necessary|
The two-minute walk from my vehicle to the entrance took me ten that morning as I had to switch from F.I.N.D. an excuse to be angry and stare down anyone who crossed my path that day. I did a Fear S.W.A.P. © but only needing three steps to walk in with me. I sang Kirk Franklin’s “Hello Fear,” accepted that all that was happening and all the possibilities that I was fearing were consequences of my choices. Then I planned what my options were to make it through whatever came.
That evening as I walked back to my vehicle, nothing that I had feared materialized but what I had activated through my planning did.
Four years later, with bright eyes and a wide smile, except for several pieces of art, many books and trinkets gathered from countries in Europe and the Caribbean, I was sitting in the waiting area outside the operating room debt free, without the miseries of a one-way relationship and a heart full of hope, awaiting the early arrival of the most precious person in my life today – my granddaughter. That is the thing with fear. If you learn to Fear SWAP © it – life brings you such sweetness – in small bundles oftentimes – than you could have imagined!
Do share this post with anyone who might be going through some form of fear today. [tweetthis]Hey, I know you have being dealing with fear. Here is a great blog post that can help you![/tweetthis]
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Be well, be blessed and be a blessing throughout this and every day!
Except for the personal ones, all photos in this post are from Pixabay – a free resource.