Most people I know are afraid of snakes or spiders or heights. But for me, these things are simple nuisances, minor annoyances that I can deal with.
Loss. Failure. Uncertainty. These are all abstract things I can’t reason, sometimes can’t understand, and most certainly can never control.
These are the things that scare me.
And these tend to be a product of change.
Doctors and scientists agree that people tend to have one of two reactions when placed in a threatening situation: adrenaline tells them to either fight or take flight. I’ve always perceived change as my greatest threat for what I thought it meant. And so my first impulse has always been to fight that change, kicking and screaming every step of the way, trying whatever I could to hang on to what I had, to prevent that change from happening. I always associated change with something bad.
When we look back, my parents and I can point my panic disorder all the way back to kindergarten, where I would abruptly burst into tears at the very thought of my mom leaving me. But it wasn’t until my junior year in high school that it really came back in full-force, affecting me, impacting my life in such a negative way.
Nearly every single day for an entire semester I would leave my house for the less than five mile drive to school. And every single day I would turn the car around and drive back home, a sense of overwhelming despair and shaking fear clouding my mind and removing any semblance of rational thought. I was nearly eighteen years old at the time. I felt like I was four again as I retreated to the safest place I knew, begging my dad not to leave for work, begging my mom not to make me leave the house. The problem wasn’t where I was going but, rather, what I would be leaving. I feared that something would happen, something would change, and I wouldn’t be ready for it, wouldn’t be prepared.
This irrational, emotional part of me believed that if I remained in my comfort zone, then maybe I could somehow prevent whatever change was looming ahead from actually happening; I thought I could somehow remain safe and cocooned with everyone safe and cocooned with me.
Sometimes, though, there is loss that you can’t prevent, no matter how much you beg or pray or how secure your cocoon seems to be. Sometimes there is disappointment and regret and failure no matter how much you plan.
Sometimes things happen that you can’t predict, that you can’t ever be ready for.
With change, maybe you never really are.
But maybe, just maybe, life isn’t really about that, after all.
The idea of change used to scare me because it was something I couldn’t control and I always associated it with loss, failure, and uncertainty. But now I see that change doesn’t have to be equated with fear, but rather opportunity.
Some of my greatest learning experiences and proudest accomplishments have occurred due to a change I wasn’t entirely prepared for, but I pushed through that fear anyway. And it has sometimes taken all of my strength and courage and every last member of my support network, and I may have resisted it all the way, but what I’ve found is that once I accept it, once that fear and anticipation passes, once the change comes, as it always does, I’m able to pick myself up and continue on.
I fight change every single step of the way.
But when I stop resisting, when I open myself up to the possibility…That’s when I soar.
Photo courtesy McMorr
Author Bio: Susan, in a nutshell, is a passionate and inspirational writer, and more importantly an amazing person. With all this talk about personal blogging vs. personal branding, she seamlessly is able to blur that line and relate her personal experiences with the ‘big picture’. She is an avid writer at her blog(s) Typescript and Twenty(or)Something – I encourage you to check out both, and if you haven’t already, reach out and say hello to Susan today!