Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Paralyzing fear

Is it always a lie if we tell ourselves we can't handle something?

This morning I caught myself overwhelmed with a sense of dread, wishing I could crawl back under the covers and pull them over my head for a while (a month sounds about right).  I looked at it more closely, and I realized that it isn't that I'm unable to handle what is happening at the moment, but rather that I'm scared I'll soon get to the point where it's beyond what I can handle.

I have this conversation with birthing women, about the nature of fear.  My tentative theory is that, most of the time, women who want an unmedicated birth will opt for an epidural not when the pain becomes unbearable, but long before that time, because they are scared that it will reach that point...eventually.  Maybe soon.  It's a protective coping mechanism, not the result of handling what is strictly in the present.  The fear of what might happen, not what is happening.

And I wondered if all fear is the same way.  How much of my fear response is due to what I'm worried is around the next corner, rather than dealing solely with reality?  How much does that reaction limit me?

(Also, how far can we take birth analogies?)

I wonder if it's wiser to tell myself, "Well, the things I'm afraid of haven't happened yet!" and keep plunging ahead blindly into whatever circumstances unfold.  Admittedly that sounds like a terrible idea, but then I tend towards protection, caution, taking few unmeasured risks.

I can't advise others to do what I myself am unable to do.  I can't genuinely encourage someone else when I don't believe what I'm saying.  And "Always stay where you're comfortable" sounds like pretty bad advice, too.

But then, how much of our fear response is helpful, keeping us out of danger and harm, and how much of it is just needless limiting, being scared by the shadows in a dark room?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oh yes, I'm still here.

There is simply too much to say about the past few months, so I'm going to postpone it a little longer.  Instead, I'd like to share this lovely little story:

I woke up at 4 am this morning and started to pack up my kitchen (we are moving this week).  I heard little feet on the stairs and thought, "What on earth...?"  It was Angela.  But when I went to her, she was obviously deeply upset.  I scooped her up and took her back to her bed and cuddled up beside her.

"Did you have a bad dream?"
"Yeah.  I dreamt that I drowned in the duck pond."
"Oh, that's a very scary dream!"
* lots of snuggles *
"I dreamt that you drove into the duck pond and I drowned.  And when I woke up I was holding my breath."
"Oh, honey..."
"Before that the dream was cool.  Those black ducks were as big as I was, and they were running next to the car, trying to fly south for the winter."
"Well, Angela, did you know that the duck pond is actually very shallow?  If you stood up to it, the water would probably only come up to here on you" * pointing to her abdomen *.
"I didn't know that!"
* silence while she took this in *
"Should we wake up Elizabeth?"
"No, honey, it's only 4 in the morning."
"Are you ready to go back to sleep?"
"What about your bad dream?"
"If I have another bad dream, then I'll just remember that the water isn't very deep, and then I'll roll my window down and pretend that the black ducks are my pets, and they'll fly in through the windows and over my head, like at the bird show!"

After that, she was downright anxious to sleep again, and shooed me away so she could get to it.

I love that girl.  I have a lot to learn from her.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Elizabeth's summer...

...has been spent largely like this:

Angela's haircut

Some not-great pictures of her dramatic new haircut:


Angela's favorite thing:

Alton Days

We visited Alton for the day.

We rode trains...

...picnicked with lots of watermelon (Holland calls it "lado-lemon")...

...and saw lots of family.

We can't wait to go back to Alton.

Monday, July 4, 2011