Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Am Fearfully Made

I am fearfully made...and by that I mean I am full of fear!  Some of it is from my background...fear and guilt seem to be French Canadian traits in my experience.  One moment they tell you, "You can do anything you want in life" and when you mention something they list all the reasons that wouldn't be a good or safe choice.  It makes me a great "devil's advocate" but it takes a lot of work for me to look at the positive side of things.

My Memere was a tough lady...she loved us, but was not soft around the edges.(In her family of 13 growing up they all got a nickname...Memere's nickname was "razorblade".)  She was hard-working and the true middle child of the family(#7).  Her mother died when she was in her late teens and she was the oldest, unmarried girl still living home so she basically raised her younger siblings(the youngest was only 4 and most of them were boys).

When I got my driver's license, my Memere told me, "If there's a box in the middle of the road, don't hit it.  There could be a baby inside that someone is trying to get rid of.  We live in a crazy world."

Words of wisdom?!?  Yikes!

More of the fear I carry comes from personal experience.  Before we went through the tragic experience of losing our daughter, tragedies that happened to other people saddened me but didn't generally get past the surface of my heart.  When a tragedy happens to you or to someone in your immediate family, all of a sudden you lose that "ignorance is bliss" mentality and get thrown into the land of "something horrible happened to me and something horrible could happen again.....and I have no control over it."  Everyone else's struggles affect me so much more because I have felt those deeper emotions of grief and helplessness myself and it makes me hurt for others going through difficult times so much more.

I went through a number of years trying to control anything I possibly could to combat feeling all that grief and fear and helplessness.(Controlling things comes more naturally to a first born, type A personality like myself!)  After several years, and major burnout and depression, I realized that I can't control everything.  Now I put my effort into trying to work on what's within my scope of responsibility and let God take care of the rest.  Notice I used the word "trying" because I often find myself wrestling for control...especially when my "fear issue" has been triggered in some way and I feel helpless and vulnerable inside.(I hate that feeling!)  Ultimately, I feel and act much better when I do my job and let God do his...but that still doesn't deter me from wrestling when things get really tough emotionally.  I'm getting better at letting go but I am far from perfect!

I don't know if this is how anyone else feels, but when I've gone through a difficult emotional time I feel pretty bruised and battered and sensitive for a while afterwards.  I've felt that way this week because of all the emotions that had been stirred up last week from the anniversary of Therese's birth.  I wish I could put myself in a bubble.  Jay says I should put a sign on myself that says "Only happy stories please!"

Yesterday I heard three really sad stories from three different people.  The stories made my bruised self want to get my husband and kids safe in our house, lock all the doors, and curl up into a fetal position until all the "bad" feelings, i.e. fear and grief and vulnerability, faded away to a more manageable level!

I am a fear wimp!  I do not watch the news, or yahoo headlines, or scary movies, or violent tv, etc.  I hate when people share some of the terrible, stupid things that other people do in this world to hurt others, especially if it involves kids.  I can feel my  protective numbing mechanism fall into place to keep me from absorbing all the negative images and to try and keep my fear, grief and vulnerability under control.  What it really does is give me anxiety and a panic attack until I can work through my feelings and get to an internal emotional place where I feel safe again.(Which often takes several days!)

I do react well in any initial crisis because I look at things with my head since my emotions go on hiatus for a time!

You can find something positive to just about any situation if you look hard enough, I guess!