Friday, July 31, 2009

Staring down the barrel of a gun... A little bit about Fear and Courage

Ever felt like you were staring down the barrel of a gun, even though there was no weapon in sight?

I think we all have “guns” in our lives. To me, they represent the things we are most afraid of. No, I don’t mean things like a fear of spiders, etc. I mean the things in life that may be intangible that initiate an innate terror-filled reaction.

One of those “guns” I stare down every day is the battle with my weight. I’ve been overweight since the 3rd grade, and PCOS doesn’t make it easy to keep it off at all. What was I so afraid of? Where that battle with obesity has taken me. I’ve been in deep depression, battling self-esteem, etc. I actually used to be afraid that the person under all that fat would be somehow different – as if taking off the weight would make me someone I really didn’t want to be.

By staring down this gun, I’ve learned that I’m still me – no matter the size.

Another of those “guns” for me used to be divorce. That was my absolute worse fear. I didn’t understand it and felt that it was something that would never touch my life. Afterall, my folks have been together forever (and still are, over 35 years later). I come from a Christian background, where divorce is frowned on in almost all circumstances. Divorce was the boogie man under the bed for me. I didn’t really believe in it. However, I learned that, it doesn’t matter if you believe in divorce. But just because you don’t believe in gravity doesn’t negate gravity’s effect on you.

But if there is one thing I learned, sometimes it’s only by staring down the barrel of that gun are we forced to grow and change.

Since then, I’ve achieved more than I ever thought possible. I’ve been in several stage shows (something I put on the back burner far too long), competed and completed a triathlon, become more outgoing (though I’m still a pretty reserved person), and realized the importance of good friends and good people in my life. When a friend of me referred to me as her hero, and another called me “impressive”, I realize that the only reason they feel this way is because they’ve seen me tighten my belt, grab my boot straps, and carry on. Whether they knew it or not, each of them helped considerably in that process. (You know who you are – and you have my undying gratitude.) Not unlike the battle with my weight – Gamer boy was the first person to remind me that I’m still very much the me he knew almost 10 years before.

Thanks to the support of those who love me, I emerged from my own personal hell much like a phoenix- better and stronger.

But a new gun emerged out of that one…

Now I am aware of the Boogie Man. I’m aware that, despite our best efforts, sometimes things just don’t work. Someone who pledged their life to you one day, may renege on that the next.

Though I desire a family of my own like crazy, and I can see myself married someday with a family of my own, it’s that step of actually getting married again that is the new "gun." Thankfully, this isn’t a gun I need to stare down this instant. With no impending engagement on the horizon, I have plenty of time. But I know, someday, I’ll be standing there, being asked the question, and will have to answer.

Thankfully, stronger than this “gun” is my sense of faith, hope, and peace that even that aspect of my life will work itself out, given time, and the right circumstances. A certain amount of fear is healthy when considering a life-time commitment. But in the end, I know enough about myself to know that I refuse to live in a world where I let these "guns" rule me.

When my heart and my mind say, “say Yes”, I’m sure I’ll find that this particular gun… is out of ammunition. ;)

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