So, I came along this graphic on Facebook that basically says “Be Afraid But Live Anyway”:
It reminded me of a session I had with a psych doc about six or so years ago. I had become very agoraphobic again after a trip to the grocery store. My oldest was walking along side of me while I had the twins in the cart and I was asking them to not stand up and the other one to stop touching everything. A man came up and started addressing my kids. He said something like “You need to listen to your mother. Very bad things happen to kids when they don’t listen. Especially little girls.”. Then he looked me in the eye and said, “I know your mother knows what I mean. Don’t you? You know the bad things that can happen to little girls?”
Well, I didn’t take that in the way it was probably intended. He was probably harmless and bad with words. I couldn’t see that in the moment though. Instead it acted like a trigger. Stupidly those words brought to life every nightmare I had about my children and all the things that had been done to me. And I felt it all — every scrap of it — all in the space of a few moments. I pushed my son behind me, stood in front of the cart and then just froze. He wandered off, but it probably took me a good five minutes to move. I scared my kids because I couldn’t hear them asking me why we weren’t moving along. I stayed silent with tears streaming down my face feeling like an idiotic frightened little girl. Once I got enough of a hold on myself, we checked out immediately and sat in the car for a bit until I could drive.
I was so angry at myself. If I couldn’t just blow the guy off, why couldn’t I get angry instead? Why couldn’t I be the type of woman who could just say “Fuck Off!” and not give the incident another thought? I was also angry because one of my thoughts was “I am fat now so these things shouldn’t happen to me anymore”. Instead, I went home and stayed home for quite some time.
So, back to the psychiatrist visit… some time had passed since that event, but the agoraphobia wasn’t lifting. I wanted to know why and the frustration over it was greater than the fear of going to see him. The best he had to offer was…
“If every time you went outside you found it was raining, then you would eventually learn to not leave the house without an umbrella. If you feel that every time you leave the house something bad will happen, then you will eventually stop leaving.”
And he left it there.
What I had to figure out on my own is what’s said in the above graphic …
Be Afraid But Live Anyway.
It took years and a lot of work, but I learned to do just that.
I got even heavier — in part as a shield, but I have tried to Live Anyway. At least here online. I push past the fears to be open and vulnerable and to constantly take risks. A lot of it is paying homage to the saying… fake the smile until you feel it. I talk a lot online about loving yourself and being brave and finding self-confidence. Some days it’s real and I’m sharing and other days, I am posting to convince myself. All with the goal in mind to be okay with the fear and live my life anyway.
(This was originally posted in May of 2013. Still applies today – especially with the habit of using weight to keep people at a distance.)