Monday, August 29, 2011

Give It Away To Fear

My husband got laid off. Or more accurately, his department is dissolving and current position will be cut. He was invited to apply to any other jobs the company had open. So he did. And interviews came and went throughout the following weeks. Now yours truly over here does not earn an income, so you can imagine (or many of you have lived) the panic of loosing the only source of support you have, and health insurance to boot. COBRA's are outrageously expensive, especially because if you need to purchase one, it is because you are unemployed. The irony is painful. So here I was, given a choice. I could freak out while he was interviewing, crying and ringing my hands all day long, unsure of our future, what was to become of us. Or I could chill out and not stress over it, not hand over my life to this drama, until there actually was no other job and the outcome was certain. I channeled my friend Mark Twain, "I've lived a long life and seen a lot of hard times...most of which have never happened." I said it over and over again, talking myself into that on day 1. 

Day 2 I decided to look at it as a playful challenge. Maybe this was a sign to change it up? Maybe opportunities were going to come our way that were so beyond what we have ever imagined? Maybe I should live in faith, as I always say, not fear. So I talked myself into a lighthearted attitude about the whole thing. I fantasized about moving to an exotic location, or to a bustling city. Are we bound for a great adventure of the Jack Kerouac and Jimmy Buffet persuasion? But old habits die hard, and by day 3 I had done it. I had given myself over to fear and anxiety. I cried and was angry. Oh so angry. Because it seems like EVERY TIME I am getting up on my feet again, something bowls me back down. I don't have the strength to move, pack up the house if the only job he gets is in Albuquerque. Is he going to have to get 3 jobs because the job market is so slim? Do I need to get a job? Oh I wailed and self-pitied the day away, trying to figure out how we could go back to living on one car. Finally I took a sedative and went to sleep, I had gotten so worked up. See! How was I even going to get through an interview, let alone start a new job, with my brain turning to mush in moments of quick critical thinking from the 2 strokes I had last year?

And day 4 I woke up accepting that yes indeed, anything can upset the apple cart, at any time. And if I want to survive life I gotta roll with the punches. And currently I am just too sensitive, too raw, to roll with any punches, every little interaction with the outside world tearing me up. So I took that pure hopefulness in a glorious tomorrow and put it away in a little box for a later date. A day when I am more able to care for her, and stiffened my tough upper lip. Then I put on that shield, deciding to accept the knocks life throws, but not willing to be  unprotected against them any longer. And finally I knew I had to stop feeling so darn much. Intense and visceral reactions to external stress has been running my life for...well...forever! So no more is this girl gonna walk around flipping out at the next shoe that drops. And the next one, and the one after that. Shoes dropping are just part of life. In the journey Fibromyalgia has taken me on I have been broken down to my core, beat and left naked in the gutter. And in my journey to get my life back I have rebuilt myself up again and again, many times over. Just now, finally, I am finding that strength required to exist in the world without being demolished by it. So go ahead and bring it, world, cause you have been dishing it out at me for a very long time, and I am dying to kick your ass.

Thanks for joining,


  1. Bravo! Loving this post! You give me such inspiration. Hell yeah is the best I can muster. :)

  2. You ROCK, full stop. What you describe in this post is the lesson that we ALL need, all of humankind, but especially those of us spoiled with a (usually false) sense of certainty. Truth: my children and I lived some very happy years flying entirely by the seat of my pants, shoes dropping in all directions and not even time to stop and comment on them. I was so blessed by learning to STOP seeing problems and START seeing solutions, however trite it may sound. Knowing for a fact that there WAS no "I can't" that there could only be "I WILL" was the greatest lesson life has had for me yet.

    It's been years since I learned that lesson....and I've gotten a little too comfortable in my relatively cushy existence. I find myself getting angry at trifles, stymied by challenges that would scarcely have been a blip on my radar back then. Thank You, thank you, for the reminder of what I--what we all--can be.

  3. It's such an important lesson, and one that is so hard to learn. My husband was out of work for almost two months this year and I felt the need many times to freak out, cry, and be angry. But life went on and everyone is still breathing. Thanks for another great blog. :)

  4. Leah,
    I recently found your blog and I love reading your postings. You talk about being very emotional and feeling being so raw, but I like that there is still fight in you.
    No matter what the world throws at us or tries to get us down. We have to get back up again. I refuse to lose!
    Thanks for starting this Blog!

  5. I find your writing entertaining and supportive. I suppose an English teacher should come up with more, but it is all I have as it is late. ;)
    I will say - your account of days reminded me of the steps of grief.
    Interestingly, I think we all grieve the loss of our once "normal" bodies.
    We are all stuck behind the wheel of what feels like an older model
    than the date we signed on for... We may all find ourselves
    continually "looping" through the stages of grief.