Fear Is Not An Option

From the movie *The Princess Diaries*

In a letter to his daughter, Mia, the deceased Eduard Christoff Philippe GErard Renaldi, Prince of Genovia wrote:

Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something is
more important than fear. The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not
live at all.

I like movies like that, my inner child comes out (She is still 11 and waiting for Grandpa's next visit) and her heart and mind are open to all the good lessons that these modern day fables can teach. She isn't cynical and still believes in happily ever after. She hasn't lived that much of my life yet.

My Grandpa used to tell me that when I was really afraid that I only had three options. The first was to stand still and let it overtake me. Surrender. Let fear win and I would lose. The second was to run from it. Ignore it, but he said it wouldn't go away, it would always be right there behind me and I would always feel it breathing down my neck. The fear would hunt me down until it completely took over my life. The final choice was to fight it. Face it nose to nose and stand a chance at beating it. He told me that when I get knocked down I can lay there or I can get up and walk again.

Grandpa wasn't much for sissies or cowards. I'm not much for them either.

I understand fear though. I have two phobias I have yet to overcome from a childhood incident (which is why my Grandpa actually had this talk with me when I refused to get into a rowboat because I am afraid of drowning...I got in by the way, with a life jacket). I'm not as afraid as I once was of drowning and/or being lost, but I still have a way to go.

My fears are valid fears, based on this incident where I was lost and did nearly drown. I was only 4 years old and unable to save myself. My fears are NOT unfounded.

Right now I can swim in pools, not well, but as long as I know I can save myself I am ok. I will go up to my neck in larger bodies of water but my heart is pounding. I love boating now, and I don't have to have a life jacket on, just nearby.

As a young child, I was afraid to walk down the street. I go new places often now. Its never easy and seldom very far just yet, though I have driven across State. One day I will go farther. I fill my car with things that make people laugh, a whole bottle of brake fluid for instance, also transmission fluid, antifreeze, and oil, food, water, a telephone, map and a compass. Usually there are blankets and a change of clothing. If I could afford GPS I would have that too. This is even for the city where I live. Still I will drive if I have a valid reason to go somewhere, I just have to be able to survive being lost.

Trying to swim and trying not to get lost are both still capable of knocking me on my ass with a panic attack which often goes into an asthma attack. I deal with the attacks. I fight my fear.

I don't let fear beat me. One day I will knock fear completely on its Ass too....I will swim in deep water and I will travel at least across the country to see the Grand Canyon or something by myself.

I tell you all this because it is an explanation as to why I am not reading you right now and spending so much time writing (though the posts are yet to come). I am trying to get strong by purging all that which weakens me. I am fighting fear right now....and I am not winning. I probably won't. The fear *has come upon me*, to quote Job.

I've been crying a lot. My eyes are like dimpled tomatoes right now. All swollen and red. I can't sleep and eating is feast or famine. My thoughts are fast and furious and scrambling up my head.

I had to make a really tough choice. I am not going to go all melodramatic here and say that I will never get over it. I will. I won't say it was the hardest thing I've ever done. It wasn't. I won't swear that I can never love another. Love is what I do. I will say that I have never felt so sad though. I have this feeling of loss and helplessness. I feel pity and sympathy for someone that I cannot reach out to because a wall of fear separates us.

I'm not a crying person. You have never even seen me write that I have cried anything but tears of joy when Celia was safe from the hurricane. It surprises me to cry like this. It surprises me that I am willing to admit it. I just have no other reaction in me.

I prefer anger. Anger makes me stronger. If I am mad enough I will fight, I will fight dirty. I'm a scrapper from way back. I'm the kid that hollered at God himself when life wasn't the way it should be.

But I can't fight this. His fear is stronger than I am. I am beaten by it.

I'm crying because I am whipped by fear and it isn't even my own.

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