Fear, Fright and Freedom

2021 was gonna be my year. I say that every new year, but this year something felt different. And it took a while for that feeling to settle in me, for me to know what I meant when I said I was gonna do more this year.

I’ve started to learn things about myself. I think being a parent makes you start to assess and look inward a bit more. Well, it does for me. And when I started to assess me I didn’t like what I saw. I’ve been living scared for a long time. And scared of things I didn’t know I was scared of. Having a kid is the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t realise quite how frightened I would be before I got pregnant. I have always been someone who thinks about the what ifs. I used to think about the things that could happen to a baby I may someday have long before I even thought of getting pregnant. But once I was pregnant the doom set in. I started thinking about the hundreds of things that could possibly happen to this tiny thing growing inside me. I’ve said it before, but I ended up in hospital almost every two weeks for checks – thanks Gestational Diabetes – but honestly it made me so happy to go in. To be told regularly that you are fine; your baby is fine. There is nothing wrong. Those visits reassured me every time. But it was always short lived. The doom would settle in, usually at night when I couldn’t sleep, and I’d start going down the black hole of Internet forums and medical sites. Terrible idea. I don’t recommend it.

The doom continued once R made his way into the world, held aloft like Simba above my open belly. The things I had heard of, the possibilities of things that could be a concern, real and imagined, were endless. Again, it was usually late at night when neither he nor I could sleep. I would be convinced it was something more serious than just a bad case of wind.

What I am trying to say, if in a roundabout way, is that having him, growing him, caring for him is the single most terrifying thing I have ever done. It is fulfilling, rewarding,  entertaining, and it comes mostly naturally and I am lucky for all of those things. But when I actually stop and consciously think about it, it scares the bejeesus out of me.

But I kind of thought if I can do this, I can do other things too.

I chopped my hair off. Now that isn’t something that scares me, but it is symbolic right?
I went away for a night and left the two boys home alone. And they survived. They were both exhausted and very happy to see me by the time I got home, but they survived. We all did. And then I went away overnight again. And again. And every time was a little bit easier. Every time felt a little bit less like my beating heart was left behind in the house while I trundled further and further away.

But the trundling away was, in itself, a pain in the ass. I don’t drive. I am late 30’s and I have never sat my driving test. I have had every reason and excuse under the sun, most of them genuine, some of them less so, as to why I haven’t gone through with it. I have been learning to drive for over a decade. But never followed through. But this summer, I bought a car. It was the step I feared most. The cost of a car is a huge thing to me. For someone who lives week to week, paycheck to paycheck, shelling out even for a cheap car is almost physically painful. It is a huge weight hanging over me. But I decided the fears I felt about driving were nothing I couldn’t get over with some practice and confidence. So I bought a car. Now I have to drive it.

And then I decided to face one more fear. I submitted a piece I have written into a short story competition. The fear of being judged for my writing is real and lingering and partly why I don’t write much. Now if you’re reading this, you’re wondering what is she talking about. But thoughts and views written on a blog feels entirely removed from the creative writing involved in a short story. So here I am, anxiously awaiting the results of this contest. I know the long list of finalists won’t be released until maybe Christmas or even the new year, but I still keep sporadically checking the website on the off chance I missed the email saying Here It Is! Our Finalists. And I know the likelihood that my name will be on that list is somewhere between slim and not a chance, but I keep checking. I think because I am fearful of what people will say when they read it. If they read it.

I don’t think it was ever a conscious decision, that I was doing these things out of a need to face my fears, out of a desire to find out who exactly I am, but more that they don’t scare me quite as much any more. If I can grow a baby, be sliced open and recover from it, and raise a healthy and happy two year old, then driving a car is a doddle. Having my work judged is…well, still terrifying but its getting easier. It doesn’t frighten me quite the same way anymore.

Still, pen name suggestions welcome.

Published by Mommy, Mostly

Getting to grips with being a mum and trying to survive this crazy world

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: