Thursday, June 25, 2009

So Much Fear In Such Little Time

When one part of my life changes (for better or worse), I silently expect all aspects of my life to also change (only for better). As if I am waiting for one flaw in my life to be fixed so everything else can fall into place. A domino theory for my identity.

Of course, on top of all of this, I arrogantly assume this personal betterment will occur without any personal effort. If the fates give me more free time, for example, I assume that exercise will fill that slot and I will enjoy it!... even though I characteristically dread exercise routines and avidly deter such exertion. And when I come to see my afternoons are instead saturated with naps and other inactive activities, my perception of myself sinks to negativity: I am physically and mentally idle and without motivation.

Currently, I am a few weeks into a sizable change in my life. I have left Los Angeles and the community in which I participated for two years. I am facing an uncertain and important path of travel, exploration and sacred time for my own understanding of life. Not only do I have free time, but I find there is no routine. Every choice for my life is suddenly decided by me--from the time I wake up at 11am to the time I go to bed after two glasses of wine. I am not obligated by a pre-planned schedule, and I am not responsible for much more than myself and my values. I am facing life, the world and society with me, myself and my vulnerability.

So what do I assume from this change? What I desire is not so much based on usage of this opportunity, rather it is based on a personality overhaul. I think many would approach a similar transition as a chance to expose their true selves to the world. I, however, would rather hide behind the facade of a different person when facing the world. During these introductory steps to independence, I prefer to be thinner, less sarcastic, more spontaneous.

The unattainable nature of my dream is unsettling and disappointing. I am frightened to approach my peers, new experiences and the general unknown as the person I am. I am fearful of displaying my true self, complete with flaws, shortcoming and ignorance.

Within the past week, my cowardice has taken physical forms, as well. Sleep has recently been limited, haunted by nightmares or (when sleep finally occurs) uncomfortable. My appetite wavers between dangerously nonexistent to gluttonous. My mood is unpredictable and inexplicable. And while I enjoy sharing conversation with others, I have turned deeply inward.

I carried my self-assigned burden without real understanding of its roots until I forced myself to sit down and ask myself what was wrong. Actually, I hiked around and asked myself. After an hour of solitude in the dried and recently burned forest outside Pine Mountain, California, I "got it." And I was intensely ashamed to realize once again my unsteadiness is caused by my insecurities. Even more embarrassing is that I thought I had harnessed these fears and unrealistic desires.

The upcoming weeks feel like a tidal wave on the horizon and I am only equipped with an umbrella. In other words, I anticipate more discomfort. Learning to let go of fear and embrace the present has been a difficult path for years now. Accompanied by the challenge of loving myself--my current, broken self--I feel overwhelmed.

Now, I have to stop equating a change of scenery with a need for a new self. Adding that burden to what is already a litany of challenges would only break me. If my journey is so important, if this upcoming year still means as much to me as it did when I was in Los Angeles, I have to lift it up, slide on my yoke and walk this path. I am now obligated to refuse fear for my journey.