Lately I’ve had a lot of blogging friends share posts from Momastery’s new series Sacred Scared, which is all about sharing our fears. I admit that while I love this and how it opens us up to each other, I also hate it. Because for the last several months my scared has not been sacred. It is not the kind of fear that makes me think people won’t like me anymore or that they’ll think of me differently. It’s baser, deeper, more terrifying. I’ve kept it down because letting it out would make it impossible to function.
I admit that I’ve been jealous of these other fears. Wishing they were the ones that kept me up at night. I’ve been jealous of so many things over the last few tough years, of money and happiness and love and success and so much more. I didn’t realize I could be jealous of fear. But I was.
When it’s your life, your livelihood, your ability to take care of your family, your future prospects, your career, your identity, your everything, you can’t just let yourself feel it, you can’t let the fear take over. You breathe, you act like it’s going to work out, you put one foot in front of the other, you wake up each morning and just go.
If the floor falls out from under you, well, you’ll deal with it then because if you take each step worrying that the floor will collapse you won’t take any steps at all.
Avoiding that paralysis of anxiety and fear is the only way to make sure your fears don’t come to pass. It’s the only way to continue to be a human being.
Happily, I’ve finally been able to say goodbye to those fears.
In a week I start a new job. One with benefits, one where I’ll get regular paychecks, one that’s easy to get to, one that works with my childcare and custody arrangements, one that’s going to be more fun than I’d dared to hope.
I was breathing before, but breathing now is easier and lighter and everything feels a little brighter and better. I feel like the ground has finally stopped shaking.
By far the hardest thing since I’ve been on my own is finding and maintaining stability. I thought I had it, I lost it, I worried I’d never get it back.
I had plenty of the sacred kind of scared during that time, I doubted myself a lot. When you’re searching for jobs for the third time in three years, when you haven’t been on a real career track since before you had kids, it can feel pretty hopeless. You can feel like you have nothing to offer one minute and the next wonder why no one sees how much you have to offer and if anyone will ever give you a chance to convince them.
It’s really nice to put those most terrible fears to bed. To know I’ll have a roof over our heads and food on our table. To know I’ll be able to keep the kids and provide for them. Even if there won’t be any room around the edges to make life easy, we’ll get by. And that’s a big deal. It’s nice to put the other, not-as-fearsome fears down, too. It’s nice to be recognized as competent and useful.
I’m happy to go back to those other fears, the ones that have been almost forgotten in the last few months of struggle. Now I can go back to worrying that I’ll never write something worth publishing, that I may have to find a whole new setup for Tessa if she gets a diagnosis, that Graham’s school won’t get the funding it needs to survive, that I may never fall in love again for reals, that I don’t know how to make this new family work, that I can’t provide for my kids long-term, that I can’t do this by myself. Hell, I’m scared to hit publish on this post.
I wish there was just one scared instead of that long list. But I’ll take that long list any day over the last few months.
Bring it, fear. I can take it.