Friday, April 27, 2007

Fearless Friday

Fear is one of those topics that stirs up all sorts of emotions in people. I personally, have a love-hate relationship with Fear but have learned to revere its power to stop even the bravest of us dead in our tracks. We’ve all been paralyzed by Fear sometime in our lives and although it’s a universal experience, there is really no way to compare our Fear to that of another. Not unlike grief, we all have to process our fears in our own way; choose to face them or not, choose to run away or walk on. And although here is no such thing as the absence of it, there are some instances where we act boldly in it’s presence.

In a perfect world, I would just ignore Fear and forge through the fires of life, coming out the other side better for it. It’s a valiant effort and yet, I have found myself afraid of things as predicatable as beginning something new, leaving something behind, following my heart, saying no, saying yes, and of taking even the tiniest of risks. I have found myself debilitated by Fear; unable to make a decision, call the shots, or take the leap. I have given myself too much time to think and have let the voices of doubt drown out the whisperings of my heart. I have even surrendered to my fret and worry and have let Fear keep me from the things I desire. So, how can I expect to ignore something that has become commonplace in my life? I can’t. But I can carry on despite the Fear and do my darnedest to walk, step by step. Some steps bold and others not so bold but they are steps, none the less.

One might think that if we let the little things scare us, the big things would be that much more devastating. But, the truth is, when things have gotten really, truly and terrible scary, I have acted with more fearlessness than I ever could have imagined possible. In fact, I have become the most fierce when I have felt the most intense Fear. It has happens when my children’s well being is at risk or when something I deeply care about is threatened or attacked. I believe it’s a superhuman ability that can overtake us when we are triggered. We’ve seen it when an otherwise normal person lifts a car off of a loved one, when someone puts themselves in terrible danger because someone else needs their help, or when a mother sacrifices her own life for that of her children. It happens everyday. People do extraordinary things in the face of real Fear and it must seem to an observer that these people must be fearless. But, that’s impossible. It isn’t human nature to put ourselves in harms way. However, it is our nature to protect what matters and take care of what we love, at any cost.

I have seen an extraordinary, seemingly fearless woman in myself. I certainly don’t see her every day and I have no idea when she might reveal herself again but I know she’s there, lying idle within me. I know that in times of great Fear, she will appear as she has before, never failing me when I need her most. I don’t use her wisdom and as much as I could and have thought that perhaps I should invite her out more often; welcome her into my daily life, allow her to come play and help with the more minor decisions. It would probably help matters. But for now, I just nod and say “Namaste” to my Fearless Self. She’s impenetrable, focused, determined, clear headed, and impossibly strong.

It was a warm summer morning and my husband, 18 month old daughter and I were on our way to the beach. Radio on, windows down and the scent of sunscreen spoke of our perfectly planned day at the beach. But within minutes of being on the road, my daughter almost lost consciousness. My husband spotted her in the rear view mirror and raised his voice to me, “Something’s wrong! What’s wrong with the baby?” In one moment everything had changed. My husband raced off the freeway and the whole way to the emergency room I was beckoning my daughter to stay awake and as her head bobbed, barely able to speak, she kept whimpering, “Mama? Mama?” in her tender baby voice. As I sat in the backseat with her, the extraordinary woman came for me. She remained calm and steady, when I was at my breaking point. I felt for a few moments that I might lose my daughter.

It was a “freak accident” that a small piece of rust lodged itself into my daughter’s eye and it had sent her body into shock. She became lucid once we got to the hospital and the urgency and gravity of the situation let up a little. If wasn’t a matter of life or death but there was still reason for worry. After hours and hours of waiting, and talking to specialists and finally going through the removal process of the foreign object while my baby was strapped down to a board and a dental drill was used to extract the rust, I continued to be a vision of fearlessness. I stayed strong, focused and vigilant in my efforts to be sure my daughter was taken care of. It was my intention to keep my baby as calm as possible so the doctor could remove the fleck without surgery or doing harm to her eye. He had commented to me that my ability to keep her settled and relaxed was what we had going for us. When the nurse attempted to escort me out of the hospital room for the procedure, I made eye contact with the doctor and he commanded “Let her stay. This one is a good one.” Indeed, she was the best one. She was my Fearless Self. And she stayed with me for the remainder of that long day and into the night when I finally put my precious girl to sleep (thankfully in her own bed and not at the hospital). It was only then did my stoic Fearless Self let go as I fell into my husbands arms and wept.

Although my daughter came out of that situation unscarred, those hours left an indelible mark on me. Reflecting on the events of that day and other instances equally as intense in my life, I know now that it wasn’t my fearlessness that overtook me, it was my Fear. It proves that when Fear is that palpable, existing in every fiber of our being, we can become superhuman to overcome it. I think that is amazing and if I dare say it, fearless.

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It's Fearless Friday at MotherTalk. If you haven't already, I urge you to go read what other women had to say on the subject. It's awe inspiring.

6 comments:

sweetsalty kate said...

Oh my gosh, I just about fell into pieces just reading that. You're amazing.

Miriam said...

This story is incredible, thank you for writing it. Next time I'm scared I will summon my Fearless Self, too, and tell her namaste.

Miriam

Left-handed Trees... said...

Wow, Tracey...what a random "freak accident" as you said, but then aren't they all like that? I admire your strength and (yes) fearlessness.
Love,
D.

Motherhood Uncensored said...

You are truly amazing. Let's hope we all have that within us and never really have to find out.

myriamjoseph said...

My friend Tracey, after having the pleasure of your company on Friday, I left your house thinking all the while how very BRAVE you are. Then I went home and read your post about Fear. What makes you so brave is not that you are fear"less" but that you have fears and you go, write, photograph, love, share, clean, yell, cry, hold, extend, dive, jump,sing, dance and laugh anyway. You are so very inspiring for all that you fear. Yeah me to have your brave soul in my life!

Anonymous said...

happy mothers day
my fearless girl
i love you, your momma