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FEAR

Future Events Appearing Real

 

When my ex first left I was terrified.    He’d spent over 20 years putting me down in a way I didn’t understand.  When he left I felt helpless and doomed.  As has been the case in my adult years, my parents showed up.  My father, who I’ve never been close with, talked me off the ledge more times then I’d like to admit in that 1st year.  One of his primary mantra’s was “don’t give in to fear.  Fear is Future Events Appearing Real”.   I wrote it down and hung it on my kitchen wall to remind myself of what fear really is.

The unknown is what is terrifying.  I knew that my life with my ex wasn’t good, but I knew what to expect.  I knew he wouldn’t come home till late, I knew if he showed up for dinner it would be uncomfortable, but it was infrequent, I knew I’d end up sleeping on the couch to avoid him.  I also knew that the mortgage would be paid, and the boys would get what they needed.  I felt so useless by this time that it seemed this was the best I could do in life.  I felt little in the way of fear.  I felt despondent, depressed, useless and helpless, but I din’t feel fear. I felt this life was what I deserved.  Good or not, I felt like I knew what each day would bring, and it was the life I was meant to live.

When my ex  left, the fear, which had actually been there all along, took over.  I’m disabled, haven’t had a “real job” in 17 years, I have 3 kids, a house, a dog and no energy.  I was a shell of a person, chipped away at for 20 odd years.  I wasn’t even able to shop for car insurance, I was so paralyzed with indecision and self-loathing.  To make matters worse, my ex sent me a “settlement” offer that offered me 7 years of alimony, at an extremely low  amount, and no child support.  And he felt he was doing me a favor!

Fear was all I felt.  I couldn’t even feel numb, all I could feel was terror.

It was during this time that my father reminded me, over and over, fear is Future Events Appearing Real.  “Don’t give in to it” he told me.   “Things will work out.  Things will not be as bad as you are imaging them.”

I’ve come to terms with fear;; somewhat.  I am usually able to remember that the future is unforeseeable, that it might be horrible, but it might be great.  The future might work out, it might not.  Either way, I don’t know, and no one else knows.  At a minimum, there is no point worrying about the Future, since not only can’t I Predict it, I can’t control it.

For several months I took this stance – I have no control over my future, or the future of my children, so it was best to hunker down and get through each day.  This works very well.  It has brought me peace and serenity.  It has enabled me to assure my boys, when they are worried about where we will be in a year, or how this will work out, or if we’ll be together, that we’ll be okay.  I feel confident telling them that whatever happens, we’ll deal with it.  I believe that, heart and soul.  My family gives me the strength to know that somehow we will make it through, together.

 

That peace of mind, though, has it’s limitations.  While maintaining a sense of peace and calm, I was making no steps towards creating a better future for us.  The Fear was still there.  I could keep it at bay as long as I didn’t challenge it, as long as I didn’t actively seek anything more than peace.

Recently,  I was encouraged to seek more.  In particular, I was encouraged to seek more for my youngest son.  He’s a smart boy who is being lost in the public school system.  I was encouraged to look into private schools for him.  The idea previously was unimaginable, but given my status as a single mom, and disabled at that, opened up the possibility of financial aid, making private school a possibility  So I researched.  I found a few schools worth pursuing, and he and I went to visit.

He is currently interviewing at what would be an ideal school for him.  It is a stretch.  The  school would have to be willing to overlook his academic struggles, decide he has something to offer them and they he, that we are the type of family that fits, and that they want him enough to give us the aid we need for him to go.   Then, if all of that works out, we have to figure out how to get him there and home every day.  The 1st time we went to visit it took 40 minutes to get there, and there is no public transportation.  All of this is to say that there are many hurdles to jump, and much to fear as we pursue this.

Tonight we had dinner with my parents and talked about this for the 1st time.  My father asked “how would you get there” and it was with tremendous glee that I said “dad, don’t feed into FEAR.  We don’t know what the future will bring, so we’ll take it one step at a time, and figure that out if we get there”.  He smiled and chuckled to himself.  I know there was a part of him that wanted to say “let’s be realistic; let’s think this through”.  He resisted the urge though, and he held fast to his mantra of not falling victim to fear.

A week ago I took the sign regarding Fear down.  Almost 2 years it took me, but I think I’m getting it.  Life is hard.  Sometimes life is much harder than it should be.  Sometimes terrible things happen and people suffer.  Sometimes though, things work out.  Sometimes good things happen.  Sometimes things fall into place, and dreams come true.

It is a long shot, getting my son into this school.  There are so many things that have to go our way, reality tells us it is not likely to happen.  If it were to happen though, the idea that I’d let fear of transportation stop him from going no longer enters my mind.  If he gets accepted, and if  we get the aid we need, I’ll figure out transportation.  Somehow.  Someway.

I still feel fear, but no where near what I used to feel.  I’m not delusional; our lives are likely to take a downturn, and it could be a long time before things turn around.  Regardless of what happens though, I think I can face it without fear.  I’ve handled a lot of bad stuff in my life, I’ll handle this too.

I no longer need  the sign “Future  Events Appearing Real”.  Future events will be handled the way I handled today.  Parts of it went well, part didn’t, and here I sit, writing in bed with my cat & dog, my boys in their beds, and everything just as it should be.

I will deal with Future Events when they actually become real.

 

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