We watch the movie intently as the girl tells her younger sister to hide in the bedroom closet while she walks down the stairs toward the back door. We hear the ominous music playing in the background and we yell at the girl on the television, “Are you crazy? Don’t go outside!” We watch through the fingers we’ve placed over our face in a half-attempt to hide the images from our eyes, as the girl opens the creaking door and walks out into the night. She knows she must do whatever is necessary because her sister is depending on her. She is all that stands between this danger and her sister who is hiding in the closet. So she walks forth, armed with adrenaline and determination . . .
Upstairs, in the bedroom closet, the younger sister sits by herself, huddled, crouching into the smallest frame she can possibly manage. She listens intently, she hears the downstairs door creaking open . . .
Fear. It can propel us to do extraordinary things or it can inhibit us from doing ordinary things.
What is the difference between these two scenarios? For one sister, the danger is imminent, and without her interceding, the outcome will certainly be disastrous. For the other sister, the danger is pending. She hides from the danger, filled with terror, unable to defend herself.
In our lives, do we face our fears any differently?
It is easy to safely stay where we are and not venture out into the world. But are we only being fools, letting life and opportunities pass us by? And yet, aren’t we equally foolish to strike out into the unknown unprepared? In this, lies the middle ground. Making a plan, arming yourself, preparing yourself to fight your obstacles and fears with the ultimate reward of claiming your freedom or prize.
How do you do this? If your fear is valid and you are not in an imminent danger, then you can take the time to prepare yourself so that when you are confronted with having to make a choice, you can have the best chance of surviving. Through education and understanding of what is needed to be successful. Through networking with others who can help you along the way. Through developing tools that help you confront your obstacles and fears. By using your brain and understanding what is logical and possible and what is illogical and impossible. By finding a path to your desired outcome.
If your fear is valid and you are in imminent danger. Act. Move. Confront or Get out.
Once, when I was in an Intensive Care Unit (I.C.U.) and on pain medication that was making me hallucinate, I thought that I was in imminent danger. I could see a red button on the wall and in my drug induced state, I believed that if I didn’t get out of bed and press that button I would die. There was a mechanical voice that I could hear over the loudspeaker. When a machine attached to a patient sent out an alarm, the voice would say something about “reset.” But in my mind, the voice was saying, “The”resa” is dying. Theresa is dying. Theresa is dead.” In my fear, I thought of my children who were young and at home, waiting for their mother to come back to them. So I reached up and pulled out tubes that were going down through my nose into my lungs. I started to pull out the tubes that were going into my neck and my arms. My machine went haywire and nurses came running through the door. In that moment, I would have done anything to save my life because I knew that my children needed me and I was determined to get back home to them. (As an aside note, drugs are powerful things and I now have an understanding of how people on hallucinogens can be driven to do desperate things. Don’t do drugs!!!)
On the other hand, now I face a pending fear, the fear of publishing my first book. This is not an imminent fear and it might not seem important in comparison to the fear of dying. But I have poured my heart and soul into this book as much as I poured my heart and soul into raising my children. I know my children are prepared for the world and I am ready to let them try their wings. After all, for better or worse, I’m done raising them. What is done is done. I can’t go back and change anything that I did wrong along the way in order to give them a better chance now.
My book is different. I can go back and change it. I can change it, and change it, and change it. I can possibly say that it will never be ready to face the world because every single time that I re-read it, I change it again. But at some point, I have to publish it or it will never have a chance to fly. I want it to be read by as many people as possible. I want it to reach young people who have grown up in dysfunctional families so that they will not continue the dysfunction in their own families. I want it to reach parents who have made mistakes (and all of us do) so that while there is time they can apologize to their children and strive to change to be better parents. (Because if we, as parents, have no accountability for the difficulties in our children’s lives, then we have no possibility of easing those difficulties. While we can only control ourselves, we can still hope to influence others.)
I want so much for this tiny book. I want to reach people who want to be entertained with a mystery, a love story, a lesson in American History and with life lessons.
But first I need to prepare it and myself so that it will have its best chance of being successful in spite of my fears. So if you take the time to read the chapters of “The Tin Box Secret” that I have published in this blog, I assure you I will welcome any advice on the content, the process of publishing, or inventive ways of marketing it so that I can reach more people. Please arm me with the tools I need to be successful. The life of my book may depend on it.
And if you have fears in your life that are preventing you from moving forward, I urge you to do the same. Prepare and find your path.
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy