I didn’t realize it at the time, or if I did I dare not admit it to myself. Because admitting I was scared of things might mean giving up other, more palatable excuses I could use in the absence of truth.
Excuses such as ‘I’m afraid of flying’, and ‘I have no real desire to go overseas’. It’s easy enough to find valid excuses to not do the things you’re afraid of. In the Before I thought that was just called ‘living’, and maybe I was right.
But I remember, only vaguely and more as fact than any emotive sensation, the days following the death of my husband. The exhilarating, horrible lightness that came with having faced your worst fear and, in the dust cloud of your life it left behind, found yourself still standing.
For the first time in my life big fears like flying and snakes and burying the man you love became smaller, laughable, insignificant compared to the sobbing reality of what I’d just witnessed, what I’d experienced. There’s been a liberating, if not terrifying in itself, vein of truth that’s run through my life since then.
Being afraid is not a good enough reason for not doing something. And some days I feel as though I’ve been so very brave, I’ve worked so very hard, that I’m entitled to just chill out and be a coward and do things the easy way. And sometimes, I do just that.
But not often. Not too often at all. Because if I got into the habit of doing that, of letting fear find reasonable excuses that lack authenticity for me not to do things… then the panic will cripple me. The paralyzing fear of every step, of every if, every but, every bad move and wrong desicion in the entire world…
If I let it start, it would never stop.
Back in the Before, had I been offered something like this incredible trip to meet the orangutans in Borneo, I would have found a perfectly valid reason to not be able to go, to pass the opportunity onto some other blogger, some other mum. That reason would probably have come in the form of a loophole, something being just too hard and too much hassle to organize.
Not, of course, due to the terrifying thought of ten months of apprehension, ten months of wondering if I can do this.
Maybe it’s because I don’t need to wonder. I know. I can do this. This, compared to that... this is pure, hedonistic pleasure; a blessing in so many forms.
Every time I get really, really afraid, I think of Eden.
I think of the posts she wrote from Nigeria, she’ll shocked and awed and amazed and heartbroken and wide–eyed with white chick wonderment. I try and see myself the way I see her– a warrior woman, a darkling, a rock star.
Someone real and alive and unafraid and pulsing with the taste of sunsets and midnight stars.
She’s my inspiration, and I Tweeted her as such. She Tweeted this in return…
It took me a few minutes for it to click, to get it. Of course… Enid Blyton. Stories that gawky smart chicks lost themselves in as kids, where, against all the logic of the real world, being good and true led to best of rewards.
Flying, by some kind of magic, to a place beyond what you’ve ever dreamed of.
Flying, in a magic chair, to the Far Away Place.