My firsts often begin with fear.
A distressing emotion
an imagined threat
It took me several weeks to get brave enough to fill up my car with gas when I got my license. What if I do it wrong and I have to ask someone for help? What if I forget to take out the nozzle and drive away ruining the pump- as a friend had done. Necessity forced my hand, and I gave my beat up red car a drink with no major mishaps. The next time the fear only a twinge in my gut.
I had met my husband before I was brave enough to go through a fast food drive-through. The fear of the unknown making me park and walk into the restaurant every time. “You’re a dork!” he said. “I’ll talk you through it.” Wanting to impress him, I did.
Feelings of dread or apprehension
My first college class on a huge campus, my family across an ocean, new friends with only a week of shared history. I took several deep breaths, maybe 20…walked in and began four years of incredible growth.
Perceived emotional danger
A new church for the first time. I stood outside the room where the women meet for ten minutes, collecting my courage to walk in alone.
Eventually, I wanted to be brave. By our second move, I didn’t pause outside the door of the church – I still had butterflies slamming against my rib cage but I swallowed them and walked in.
My parents told me to do hard things, but when I was younger I sometimes hid in the safety of my home, sheltered, adored, and safe.
Now, my husband and my children make me feel secure, a cocoon of acceptance, a circle of strength that encourages me to try.
Write for someone other than myself? write a story? a book? Who am I to try something like that? I am me. What can it hurt to learn, to try.
I find myself sensitive to fear in my kids telling them, “It’s okay to be scared, but if it’s something you want…. you’ll have more fun if you do it anyway.” It’s their choice. Whether they are scared to tell a friend no when they want to stay home, or afraid to leave home and join the party, I want them to be brave, so I have to be brave first.
Last weekend we bought stand up paddle boards at an incredible price. I couldn’t wait to take them out. As we got closer to the lake I started to get nervous. What if they don’t let us in? What if they think we are crazy, it’s February and we want to go out on the lake? It’s always the vague “they” isn’t it. What if I fall in and get hypothermia? Justin just rolled his eyes and drove on.
My firsts still sometimes begin with fear, but they almost always end in joy.
*** That tiny dot, the one way in the back in the first picture, that’s me and Josh. ****