I woke up to a gray and rainy sky one morning and I felt pissy and cranky and small. There was a huge knot of anxiety in my heart and belly and the only thing – the ONLY thing – I wanted to do was stay at home, wrap myself up in a blanket and nap with Beanie.
The thought of having to go to work, interact with people, smile, talk – it did absolutely nothing for me. Well, that’s not true, it made the anxiety and irritation blow up ever bigger inside of me.
I’d had nightmares for hours the previous night, waking up drenched in sweat, trying to shake it off (and sleep it off) and then waking up terrified from more bad dreams.
It took me a while to realize that the anxiety I was experiencing was a fear response. It was all of the fear from the dreams manifesting in my body. It was a group of worries that I internalized that wanted to come out.
Fear is not a bad thing, it’s a means of self-protection. Sometimes, though, you don’t need to be protected. What you need is to listen to what’s happening inside of you, switch off your mind and really sink into your body.
After I cycled through to that thought, I pictured what my fear wanted me to do. I pictured myself sitting down with my fear block and asking it what it wanted me to do: stay home, be warm, feel safe, feel loved.
I sat and looked underneath the fear – what were the needs sitting underneath its surface? What was it I really wanted?
To feel safe, to feel cozy, to feel loved.
I could meet those needs in other ways, in healthier and more healing ways, than by staying at home.
To feel safe: I sat and talked with the fear inside of me, with the pieces that were still feeling the nightmares. I repeated You are here, you are safe over and over until that mantra became a meditation.
To feel cozy: I wanted the soft feeling of a blanket wrapped around me so I wore a long, soft sweater to work and super fuzzy knee socks.
To feel loved: I remembered that I am always surrounded with and by love, that the Universe is cradling me in the palms of her hands. Constantly. Without fail. I am loved.
When you’re able to break down the fear or stress or anxiety, you can begin to meet the needs that are underneath it.
When you can sit with the fear, you can begin to work through it and let it go.
When you listen to what’s going on inside of you, you can take a step toward healing.
It’s hard. It’s taken me so many years to get to this space. But it can be done. It can be done.
So, I went to work and was quiet for a while until one of my co-workers got me laughing so hard and loud. Until I looked out of the window and the sun was shining so brightly. Until I turned on Spotify radio and listened to songs that made my heart sing.
Until I knew in my bones that because I slowed things down that morning and checked in with myself and listened to my Fear Block, I won. I was the victor. I got the spoils.
What did she say to me? She say Listen to me. I need to be heard.
For the past several days, I’ve been building a physical representation of my Fear Block, something I’d been wanting to do since I worked with Tara, who coached me through some really powerful and intense and beautiful things. I had put off creating it because crafts really aren’t my thing, it’s something I’m not good at and I wanted my Fear Block to be perfect.
But perfection is overrated and just trying something is sexy and empowering as hell. So I got out the supplies I’d had tucked away in my closet for over a year and started painting. I went to the store and got some crazy bright and fun yarn and tiny rosebuds and a square of cloth to use for hair and eyes and a dress.
Because the fear is mine, because it’s a part of me, I wanted it to have crazy hair, messy, and fun – she even has dreadlocks. Well, one lock, but it’s a beginning. (And beginnings are beautiful.) I wanted it to be color-coordinated because I color-coordinate the mess out of my clothes. So her hair is bright orange and her dress has bits of orange and gorgeous brown and her eyes are bright pink rosebuds and match tiny pieces of the cloth. Her “skin” is sky blue because the sky is so pretty.
Because fear doesn’t have to be overwhelming and horrible, because the messages you can glean from the things that scare you, whether rational or irrational, can change your life or maybe just your day but that’s something, something huge.
Because fear can be your friend, because if you treat it with care and concern and respect, if you listen, you will learn. If you listen, you can heal pieces that were chipped or torn.
I named her Franny. Franny the Fear Block. And we are going to be great friends.