Posts Tagged ‘fear’

What are you scared of?

There was a time when the answer to this question was obvious and straightforward: spiders and needles. Duh. Then, of course, there’s the usual fears about something terrible happening to one of my children. All mothers fear this, and that fear is simultaneously irrational and totally expected. And it will never go away. But what am I scared of? This has become rather a loaded question of late.

Because now I’m afraid to be positive. Usually that’s a good word. And can be combined to great effect with myriad other words — positive thinking, positive energy, positive affirmations, positive reinforcement, positive pregnancy test — although this last carries plenty to be scared of. Trust me. But one word that ‘positive’ does not go well with is ‘biopsy’. Last week I went in for a biopsy of my very own and am now waiting for the results.

And I thought waiting two minutes for the result of a home pregnancy test was hard.

I do try to put a positive spin on things (find the humour, look on the bright side and all that); my love of sarcasm comes in pretty handy for this. I didn’t know what to expect during the procedure (having never done this before), but I was, naturally, expecting it to be awful. I mean, there are just certain parts of the body that needles and scalpels and other sharp instruments should stay away from. Far, far away. And the words ‘punch’ and ‘vagina’ simply don’t go together.* At all. So I couldn’t help but be amused when the doctor asked me — in the middle of the process — if it was as horrible as I’d anticipated. I told her that only someone prone to exaggeration would describe the procedure as horrible and I never, ever exaggerate.

I am a writer, after all.

So now I wait. And if I thought the biopsy was bad, the waiting is even worse. The uncertainty. The not knowing. The worst-case-scenario imaginings. And my imagination has gone to town the past five days.

But I do what I can to stay calm. I breathe. And focus on the positive. But not being positive.

And I wait.


*Side Note: Who the hell came up with the phrase ‘punch biopsy’? Because I kinda’ want to punch that person in the nose.


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Facebook Therapy

image from ichoosechange.com

I love Facebook. I do. I spend more time than I should with it, but I justify that by claiming it’s my only social life. Since I’m a single mom that’s pretty much true. But as a tool for self-reflection and growth, it’s not that great. Or so I thought. Amidst all the fun and games of this social site, there are actually moments of profound awareness.

This morning a friend posted a status update about when her husband says he can’t find something, what he’s really saying is “Help!” and that said help should come promptly. Nothing too unusual in that, right? I mean, it’s a common observation (or complaint). The husband/boyfriend/male partner can’t find something, and the wife/girlfriend/female partner knows just where it is. It’s the formula for just about every sitcom.

So why, after reading my friend’s humorous and totally innocent status, did I want to cry? I’ve been in this situation myself. In fact, this was a frequent occurrence during my most recent relationship.

Ah, that. The ex.

And that’s where the self-reflection bit comes in. Because as I tried to figure out the meaning behind my response, I had to admit that my experience wasn’t totally the same as my friend’s. Or all those sitcom wives, for that matter. Because for me the exchange didn’t stop with him saying something to the effect of “I can’t find fill-in-the-blank” and my response of “It’s right here.” After locating said object came the looks. And the recriminations. And the insults. Helping him was a legitimate excuse (in his mind) for some sort of reprisal.

It was one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios. If I demonstrated that I knew more than he, I would suffer the consequences. But if I didn’t know, I was stupid and should be grateful he tolerated having me around.

Since the breakup I’ve been asked more than once if things had ever gotten physical. The answer is no. But there’s a part of me that wishes he had hit me. That would have been a clear and undeniable sign that I needed to leave. By the time I realized I was a victim of this form of domestic violence, I had lost so much of my self-confidence it was nearly impossible to find the strength to get out. Emotional abuse is so insidious and destructive.  It doesn’t leave bruises or physical wounds, but it does kill your soul and rob you of absolutely everything that makes you YOU.

So now it’s been a few months. The restraining order is in place and I am in the process of rebuilding my life, one step at a time. A new job – one that pays my bills without me being dependent on anyone else for assistance. A new apartment – one whose landlord (and address) is unknown to the ex. Rebuilding a sense of community – both virtual and real.

And words. I’m writing again. Without anyone laughing at me or criticizing me for doing so. Words are my refuge and my salvation, my joy and my passion. It’s good to reconnect with these treasured companions.

So many thanks to Facebook and my friend Heather. You reminded me that even though these past months have been difficult, they were necessary. And not nearly as difficult as what came before. The tears were good, and just a part of the journey.

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I do not let just
anyone in
not any
may enter my
opening myself to your
is intimate/violent/exciting
like sex or

occasionally, the assailant
be tender
(it’s hard to remember this)
but even more
is the assaulted
trusting, opening(loving)

read me
read me and
respect me
in the morning

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my body has betrayed me
Pain and I, although not
friends, are constant companions
we regard one another with
respectful contempt
sorrow is not pretty, and
self-sufficiency is most likely
simply wishful thinking

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