looking through me

Tag: emotions

freeing fears

I live in my head; ideas, dreams and perceptions swirl inside me stirring up angst and insecurity.

I bury the chaos in silence, but saying it aloud shifts the camera angle. The giant, menacing wolf hounding me is only a shadow puppet—a toothless imposter. Turns out my fears have enough merit to catch the eye but not enough substance to stand up under the glare of truth.

That’s the scam of fear. It thrives in darkness. It lives on lies: I am the only one who thinks this way, who feels this way, who struggles this way.

Voicing my vulnerabilities I break into a cold sweat. But when I form them into words and expose them to light, I find I am not unique. There’s nothing special about my anxieties. Sharing is hard; but the second, third, twenty-fourth time I say them out loud I wonder how they ever held such power over me. When I release my inner soundtrack, I hear how I’d stacked my rough cuts against others’ final cuts. I compared my interior to their exteriors. And they didn’t match.

Isolation feels safe, but verbalization strips away the mystery. That’s why I need community. That’s why I need to know and be known. That’s why I need a place where we peel back our polished fronts and see our commonalities . . . even when they’re fears.

In the security of love I state what’s in me. As fear slips out, hope echoes back.


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My heart is porous. The compartments aren’t armor-plated. I thought the bitterness and frustration in the career chamber stayed hermetically sealed at work; cynicism and disgust were safely walled off in the news and politics section. I assumed apathy, fear, joy and hope all knew their places and remained in their segregated zones. But I was wrong.

The walls in my heart are little more than illusions. I am not a series of spaces designated for specific roles and relationships but rather I carry all I am into every moment of every day. That changes everything.

The spillover of pessimism and pride permeates all sectors: work, recreation, church, family, friends. My heart is a floodplain, and the highly viscous nature of the negative threatens the positive. Speedy sarcasm smothers slow-spreading empathy. Impatience overruns discretion. Uncontainable bitterness contaminates more of me than I want to admit.

But . . . if it’s a heart issue—not a church issue or a relationship issue—I can stop my whack-a-mole approach every time frustration pops up in a new setting. The problem is no longer cynicism outside of the media box. It’s cynicism. Period. It’s not about herding the reaction back into its approved area, but instead asking if it has any place in my character at all.

I can stop patrolling the perimeter of each room—interior seepage is not my concern. When I guard my whole heart then what pours out of me drowns the fears of living a divided life.

And that is surprisingly freeing.



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