When I am quiet on here, I'm usually busily working stuff out. Thinking and thinking and thinking.
Well, I should say, When I'm quiet in general, I'm working stuff out! In real life, I sometimes start twiddling my hair, gazing off into space, and thinking deep thoughts. My husband always notices, always asks what I'm thinking. Sometimes I can tell him, sometimes, I haven't figured out what exactly I'm thinking, just that I am! My thoughts come in all these colours, kind of like drifting into a cloud made of paint bubbles, as well as snatches of music, books I've read, photos I've taken, moments I've lived, and fears and joys I've felt and carried about with me like trinkets.
It's busy in this mind of mine. Busy good, busy sad, busy afraid, busy planning, busy dreaming, busy hoping, busy taking it all in, this extraordinary life.
We're flying to Perth for a big family holiday in three weeks today. If you've read my blog for a while, you might know I have a fear of flying. But I don't know if I've been that clear about this fear, certainly not recently: my fear has been profound and debilitating, and in January, when I tried to plan a trip to the US, it was the main thing that brought me down.
If you don't have a fear like this, it must be hard to believe. This crazy fear—it's been like the monster in my closet, and whenever I look at it and give it energy, it comes roaring into my bed, sits on my blankets, curls up inside my chest and sings terrible songs that keep me awake for days.
So I've been working with a counsellor for 8 months to deal with it, and with all the related monsters and monster babies that come along with something like this. Because the fear feeds other fears, unsurprisingly, and brings up all sorts of memories. The fear lives inside my history and who I am. I've been trying to figure it all out. Try and accept the fear and move on, have a life that isn't pinned down by it.
I'm doing really, really well. This flight is our test run, and from there, I'm hoping I can get on a plane to visit my husband's family in the US. We have friends and family over the sea, such dear, dear people, and I want to see them.
One of the things I've said over and over is how important I think it is to be up front about my issues with depression and anxiety, so that it isn't a hidden illness, something to be ashamed of, so that anyone with a history with this illness might feel less alone.
But I write that I am afraid of flying and I feel a bit silly. Like, I've been working with a counsellor for this long about something this safe? Really?
I'm not afraid of heights, but some people are. It's hard for me to imagine how that might feel. I'm not afraid of small enclosed spaces, or sharks, or dogs, but some people are. I don't feel their fear, but I get it. Some fears seem to come and swallow you whole. You can't explain it. You just try your best to live.
Sometimes it doesn't work so well. But sometimes, with hard work and words spoken and thoughts thought and with lots of writing and looking for beauty and checking in and having the best mental safety net in place, it does start to work. It starts to get better. The fear loses its strangle hold.
The last three weeks have been crazy busy with amazing, wonderful, happy things.
At the same time, since the beginning of August, I've been getting this wild panicky feeling in my chest. It hit me around about then, in this, Oh Wow, way. Oh. I'm getting on a plane. Wow. I am getting on a plane. And if I give any space or air to the feeling, up comes the wild fire of fear. What if? What if? What if?
I feel like a motorcycle daredevil then. I'm heading towards the burning hoop. I am going so fast. I have done this before, I am in my flame-retardant suit, there are people standing by with fire extinguishers, the crowd is moving me forward with goodwill and prayers, my family is standing by, my children are hopping up and down with excitement. It should be okay, but you never know for sure. All you can do, is let go. Surrender to the movement of the bike, of your path forward and through.
And when I surrender—because I really want to jump; I want to leap through that hoop—I suddenly see.
There is no burning. There are no flames. The fear makes pictures only I can see.
There is so much beauty. Beauty on this side of the hoop and on the other. I am pointed at the hoop, moving forward, surrendering, accepting. Letting go.