I have so much now in my second chance. I’m forever scarred and forever missing someone I expected to be with until I died, but I get to live on for some reason and I’m doing it well. I’ve been lucky in some instances but in most, I’ve worked hard to be where I am now. I have a lot.
I’m in a healthy, loving relationship. I have a beautiful home, healthy pets, a new career field to explore while going back to school for art. I live in the best city EVER. Seriously, Portland seems like a fairytale more often than not. I’m healthy, my guy is healthy, I’m financially okay and I have the love and support of wonderful friends and family.
I’m finding that even still it’s hard for me to accept the good things. My mind is rigged to search vigilantly for the disaster right around the corner. When will the next bad thing happen, not will the next bad thing happen is the question I ask the universe over and over. I wake up early in the morning with my mind on automatic pilot – listing things to worry about that haven’t happened yet. To stop the thoughts and focus on the positive is uncomfortable because it means I will no longer be vigilant. It means that bad things could be coming and I’d have my back to them. Face them head on, says my subconscious. Be ready for them! Worrying is more uncomfortable, but my brain has its patterns and it likes those patterns, regardless of how awful they make me feel.
Of course worrying about them will reduce the enjoyment I can have now. Of course worrying about the things that might happen won’t really prepare me for them if they do. And knowing all this doesn’t end the worrying. If only it were that easy. So far, the worries that have actually crossed my mind lately are as follows…
1. My current relationship will end in any number of horrific ways. And I’m talking horrific. I will not list them here, because he might read them and I don’t want him to know I’ve actually had these thoughts by reading them here. They’re THAT off-base and paranoid. Let’s just say that they’d all leave me destitute and heart-broken, never to trust another human being again.
2. He gets very, very sick and I am forced to watch the person I love most in the world suffer and then die (again).
3. I get very, very sick and am forced to experience what it is like to watch the person I love most in the world watch ME suffer and die.
4. My sweet, pampered indoor-only cats escape in their new neighborhood (I’ve just moved) and get hit by a car or disappear. This is a common bad dream of mine, actually.
5. I will not be able to find a good job once I finish school. I will end up destitute.
6. The new house burns to the ground.
7. I get brave enough to attempt motherhood and I lose the baby. Or the baby isn’t healthy. Or the baby is healthy, only to succumb to some terrible disease later and I have to watch this person I love more than life itself suffer and die.
8. If any of these don’t come to pass, there’s a chance the world will end first and we’ll all die at once. Have you heard about what we’re doing to the environment? It’s seriously not good.
So, while I can be very positive and upbeat, the truth is, it takes my brain .01 seconds to come up with the most elaborate of horrible scenarios and it takes much more effort to come up with the positive ones. I often wonder what my brain would be capable of it its software wasn’t almost completely taken up by Possible Awful Events app.
What’s the answer to this? I’m not sure. But I think the key to it is learning to live with it. Not fight it or make it stop, because that’s a losing battle. Feel the fear and do stuff anyway. Watch as the world doesn’t end just because I feel a split second of contentment. Notice as allowing myself to be happy doesn’t bring misfortune my way. Act as though good stuff will happen. Learn to lovingly laugh at the miserable fantasies my brain concocts. Talk about them. They grow in power when they lurk in the dark of my mind. Shared with a loving friend, they cower in the light of exposure. Spend a few concentrated moments a day actively thinking up a great possible scenario (this is SO INCREDIBLY hard for me to do that I can so far only accomplish it for a few minutes a day).
We all have to do this. We all have to learn to go around each day, acting as though we don’t know the truth. That none of us are immune to terrible things. They attack randomly, they don’t play fair, and we can never really anticipate them, even when we worry incessantly.
Life is to be lived, though, and it’s not about facing the fear by anticipating it, but by living large even though I continue to be afraid.