“The fear is not truly mine. The fear has arisen because I am daring to challenge the neatly arranged set of rules which I have amassed in a lifetime.”
This past week, I’ve been feeling rather ill-at-ease and twistingly uncomfortable in my own body. I’ve felt like I’ve been on high alert all the time with an unrelenting, inner restlessness and from time-to-time my heart has joined in; runs of palpitations literally dragging my attention back to my body. I haven’t quite been able to put my finger on it until now. Down the retrospectoscope, it’s bloody obvious what has been going on! My body has been trying to tell me something and not in a shy covert way. My body was waving and jumping up and down and yelling ‘Hey lady, the answer you need’s over here!!’. I just haven’t been listening. I was in analysis mode, convinced it was a poor night’s sleep or cycling hormones making me feel unwell. But let’s put the clues together….What makes you feel nauseous, your brain foggy, feel anxious and uncomfortable and makes your heart thump in your chest? Fear that’s what.
I am afraid.
When I realised that I am afraid, I suddenly understood why I have been feeling like I have. Relief swept over me and I cried. More than that, I cried because I was letting myself be afraid. And because being afraid is ok.
Growing up, I like many people learnt that there are some feelings that are acceptable and some that aren’t. Fear was on the not acceptable list. Fear is weakness. Fear is uncomfortable. My people didn’t know what to do with it. And so fear was swallowed down deep and we carried on regardless. Too afraid to show the fear. Now I realise that feelings are for feeling not shutting down. They tell us something. We need to listen to them and give ourselves time and space to understand them. I guess, I am still in recalibration mode, readjusting to understand those feelings as they come up and learning to see them as guides not armed guards.
I find myself here, feeling afraid, because so many things in my life have changed and every moment feels like I am leaping into the unknown. Only a few months ago, I decided to say goodbye to my career as a GP. And currently, I’m standing on the precipice of exciting challenges and trying to discover my place in this brave new world. But, everything I’m looking at doing is unknown and new and truthfully, I feel scared. I’m afraid because I have been embracing possibility. I am afraid because I decided I would start writing this blog and because I have a new job and I have applied for another. I am afraid because this is not what my life was ‘supposed to look like’. I am afraid because my ego is working over time to try to keep me safe, to try to shut down these crazy ideas. She is shouting ‘Don’t be an idiot, you have no idea how to co-host a podcast. Why would anyone want to listen to you self-indulgently wittering on about life?’. I am learning to ignore the shouty bully voice and tune into my quiet, truthful knowing but she sure kicks off sometimes.
As I’ve been writing this, I have felt fear flowing through my body. The physical sensations that have been passing through me feel excruciatingly uncomfortable but the fear also feels powerful. It has energy. I need to harness the energy. The fear is not truly mine. The fear has arisen because I am daring to challenge the neatly arranged set of rules which I have amassed in a lifetime. So thank you Fear for your service, but not wanting to stay small and safe, watch me leap and tear up the rule book.