I get scared sometimes. Irrationally, stupidly scared. Morbid scared. Want some examples?
Sometimes, when my brother leaves to walk to work in the morning, I sit at my desk and tell him, over my shoulder, “Have a great day!” Then, I listen to him walk downstairs and putz around in the kitchen. I start freaking out, thinking I should have hugged him because what if he disappears on his walk to work? What if I never see him again? He lived so far away from me for so long, and we didn’t talk very often. Now, he lives with me, and I’m scared of taking it for granted. I’m scared of losing him again, so I rush down the stairs and say, “HUG DAY!” And we hug, and I tell him “Have a great day” again. He thankfully puts up with me.
Before leaving for yoga (which I do three time a week over my lunch break), I kiss my dogs. I check all the candles in my house to make sure they’re blown out because I’m convinced my house is going to burn down, and my dogs are going to die. Due to this, I even got stickers for our front and back doors so that if firemen show up, they know to rescue my children. I’ve gotten halfway down the street and turned around, convinced I forget to turn off a string of twinkle lights, which could and will somehow prove fatal to my pups.
I’ve gotten better about the Jake thing. When I first moved to Arizona to live with my then boyfriend-now husband, I felt very alone in a big city. Jake was the only person I knew. My dark, little mind was sure he was going to die in his sleep. Every night, I would wake up randomly, reach my hand out, and expect to find his body cold. Like I said, I’ve gotten better about this, but I still do it sometimes … reach that hand out and hope and pray that the love of my life is okay.
This isn’t a phobia (as far as I know). I’ve seen phobias. My girlfriend Lindsey is scared of butterflies. I thought she was sort of kidding until we visited Charleston, SC. We walked through a garden, and a couple butterflies flew by. She froze. She couldn’t even speak. We had to carry her out of there. Same with my friend Steph and snakes.
From what I’ve witnessed, phobias make you freeze; fear makes you moves. It makes you over-active as you worry about everything. Your mind races about all the things that could go wrong.
Fear is real.
Today, in fact, I came home from yoga to find Bearenheart, my oldest childhood stuffed animal, ripped to shreds on my office floor. (See picture above.) The dogs had gotten to her. Her smiling face is now distorted. Her clothes are ruined. There’s an empty hole where her teddy bear heart should be. I have a headache from crying so hard. I couldn’t stop crying.
Maybe this is a sort of phobia. Maybe my phobia is loss. I’m afraid of losing people and dogs and favorite stuffed animals. But, again, I don’t freeze when I fear loss. No, I reach out and hold and hope these things I love won’t leave me.
I’ve dealt with a lot of death in my life, but the ones that hurt the most were the ones I never saw coming–especially my Uncle Barney, who died in a hospital in Bali randomly one summer day. I remember my mom calling. She said, “We lost him,” and I didn’t understand. Was he in a maze somewhere? Lost at sea? No, WE LOST HIM.
I’m afraid the shock of loss, years old, is still with me. I don’t know if I’ll ever be free of that fear, so now, I hug my brother, kiss my dogs, and reach for my husband in the dark of night. And just hope the fear one day goes away.