I took my daughters on a play date at the historical Fort Montague a few days ago and all on the drive my youngest daughter, Faith, was hella excited. After spending so much time at home and indoors the thought of going out and frolicking with her cousins really had her excited. So we pulled up and the Fort Montague is packed with people and music and surrounded by the sea. Faith is terrified of the sea, last summer she had an incident where she was dunked under water and has refused to step foot in the sea or even on the beach. It is so bad that she has refused at beach date with her Godmother just because the venue was the beach. How did this slip my mind is beyond me! I guess I had hoped the idea of playing with her cousins and sister would have enticed her. It didn’t!
While the other kids are racing along the shorelines and just having a grand old time, Faith and I are sitting on the beach watching the seagulls and calling out to strangers and their dogs. Just so you know, my Faith is quite the social butterfly and have a real liking for dogs. Anyways, although I was content to laze about and enjoy the sea breeze, I was not ready to accept Faith’s irrational fear. So I tried explaining to her that there were three adults here and we would ensure that she doesn’t get dunked under water again. I even tried convincing her to agree to allowing me to hold her hands as we walk along the outskirt of the fort, which is close by the sea. She just would not budge nor and at some point told me “no means no”. I was stunned and a lot ashamed of my badgering and settled into deep thoughts. Here I was trying to force my daughter to overcome her fear, when I have allowed my irrational fear of possible judgement, possible rejection and possible failure to keep me stagnant.
Stagnant and stale!
As a young girl I rambled with the neighborhood boys and was always up for an adventure, knowing that I would be punished. Younger me epitomized the statement, it’s better to seek forgiveness than to seek permission. I would have spent the entire day line fishing or hauling. I would climb the coconuts as fast as I would scramble up a tamarind tree. There was no game I wasn’t eager to be apart of. The only thing that kept me back was the sound of my grand mother calling out to me to come back into the yard!
I was FEARLESS!
I was ALWAYS eager take chances, just to see what the end result would be.
When did this adventurous rebel in me die?
She’s NOT dead, she was merely subdued!
You see those nearest and dearest to me, taught me how to fear!
They taught me to dream small, because life isn’t always fair.
They thought me that young ladies should be seen but never heard and this lesson I learn to well. I was taught that my opinions were of no significance, so I kept quiet.
I was taught to never speak highly of myself, for fear that I may be seen as braggart, to remain humble. I learnt this lesson so well that most times my quiet demeanor gives the impression of a push over. I’ve since found a healthy balance between being confident with minimal cockiness.
All in the name of love I was taught fear.
This irrational fear once planted blossomed into an overly cautious adult.
One needing guarantees in order to take chances.
One needing to control as much as humanly possible, when in all actuality I can control Nothing outside of my own reactions and thoughts.
Life is meant to be lived and in order to live and thoroughly enjoy it, I have to remember how to dream big and take chances.
Yes I will fuck shit up occasionally and that’s absolutely fine.
That’s how I learn!
Not just thinking and planning and hoping and wishing.
By taking chances and doing!
How will I know what I like if I’ve never experienced it?
By trying new things!
How will I experience love again if I don’t let go of what has happened in the past?
With forgiveness and opening myself to new love
How will I help anyone if I never tell my story?
I won’t until I tell my story, as simple and mundane as I see it.
How did I handle my irrational fears?
By understanding that no amount of badgering will make it go away. Time, therapy and a healthy dose of introspection goes a long way.
By accepting that while in my fearful state I can still take steps towards my goals.
By understanding that fear is never the problem, only my reaction to the fear is what could propell me towards what I want or keep me stagnant. Stagnant while waiting for the perfect moment.