Four years ago, the man I was married to decided to leave. Without going into the specifics of the depths of that particular hell, I will say that it scared the shit out of me. Everything I believed to be true was turned upside down and inside out. And I mean everything. I had spent half my life with him – born his children, built a great life – to then look at him and ask, “Who ARE you?” I really didn’t know him at all.
That shit is terrifying.
My fear was paralyzing at first. I puked every morning for three months. And I don’t know how because I couldn’t eat. I didn’t sleep well, and if I did, I woke with heart palpitations. My mind raced all the time with every single “what if” and “how could this be” that there is.
My fear was also tangled up with love. I loved this man. I loved our family. I loved our life. How could he walk away from it?
So I clung.
Clinging ain’t love, folks. It’s fear. It’s paralyzing and demoralizing and pathetic and desperate. It’s wishing for something that has passed – or never really was. It’s staying stuck in a place that suffocates you and blinds you to what might be just right over there – on the other side.
Fear is a bitch.
I eventually just allowed myself to be scared shitless. Ask my friends; they’ll tell you. Those poor people had to listen to my woes and dry my tears. They told me that I had to eat and that my kids would be ok and that I would find love again and that it really wasn’t literally going to kill me – although some days I thought it might.
I was scared for a long time. And then I decided to take action. Action is a fear killer. I filed divorce papers, I got a grip on my finances, I started eating again. Baby steps, right? I continued to seek help, and I received it. I walked through the fire even though I was shitting my pants every step of the way. Nice metaphor, huh? But it’s true.
Every single terrifying step took me further away from a life I had loved.
I am on the other side of that heartache now. Of course, as anyone who has been through a painful divorce will tell you, there are still moments of fear. But I can see from this angle that being terrified was a weird kind of gift in the end. That fear was a motivator for me. It was a painful smack upside the head from the Universe to get my OWN act together and show up for MYSELF.
Fear is warning signal that something is off, something is dangerous. Fear keeps us safe sometimes. My fear showed up, screaming and hollering. I fought her for a long time. She scared the hell outta me. She spun me around and prodded me to do some hard shit. But in the end, fear served me. I took a hold of her and channeled her painful messages into some positive, real life corrections. I sat with her, talked with her, got to know her really well. And when all was said and done?
Fear became my friend.