SDS-Fear

Cloudy days promising rain are the perfect time for introspection and consideration of life’s challenges. Quiet and still, nothing intruding into the peace, it leads to deeper thoughts that might not be wished for on a sunny or stormy day.

Lately, most of my introspection has been taken up by the topic of my own struggle with the deadly sins. I know very well that I suffer from chronic fear, anger and pride. Anger is the easiest of these, and fear is the one that seems to be making the most damage. So I thought I’d explore my own struggles with the sins a bit.

Growing up as a child, I learned the meaning of fear quite quickly. My mother, single in a devoutly Christian family, was threatened with being disowned if she didn’t allow my grandparents to raise me. My real father’s name is not even listed on my birth certificate, and I was formally adopted by my grandparents, with all mention of my father banned. My mother was the oldest of three children, and in a sense, I was then raised as the youngest. But the youngest daughter, at three or so years of age, had started showing disturbing signs of problems. These things only worsened by the time I was born. Doctors couldn’t find a cause of her symptoms, and so my family lived in their own personal hell of constant seizures, abberant behavior, severe emotional disturbances, and violence from her. With less mental capacity than a toddler, she took constant care from the entire family. When I was two years old, the house of cards my family had erected crumbled, and she died. I saw her die, and the repercussions have haunted me throughout my life. She drowned during a seizure, and the evidence points damningly towards certain family members. It shouldn’t have happened. My mother was kicked out about a year later, leaving me without the most basic supports a child should have. She was only allowed back when my grandmother felt benevolent or guilty.

I only remember my childhood from what family pictures and stories exist, and certain moments of terror that broke through everything else. Every other memory I have can be directly traced to some later retelling of it or picture, leaving a gray haze in the back of my mind.

My grandfather suffers from grand mal seizures also, due to his diabetes, and one of those memories is of me, probably five or six years old, huddling in the corner of his bedroom while he shook, asking my mom if he was going to die. Others involve the terrible, destructive nightmares I have suffered from my entire life. I remember every one of those!

With physical and emotional abuse, isolation, severe anger issues with the entire family, a history of psychological disturbances, and a complete lack of trust, I finally walked away from it all at 18. My grandparents and every family member except my mother disowned me, and it’s a credit to the skill of my family that I still struggle not to feel guilty about leaving hell. Extreme mood-swings, apathy, general fear, feelings of isolation and an inability to form real relationships made the next couple of years a struggle to keep my head above water. That I did so is a direct testimony to the few friends who have known what was going on, and to the power of writing in my life.

Fear is a powerful motivator in our lives. As Gemmell once said through his writing, “fear is a friendly guard dog, warning us of danger. But if we aren’t careful, it becomes a slavering wolf, chasing us through life.” Or something similar, mild paraphrasing can be excused on the basis of the book being about two feet out of reach.

Fear has always been my worst sin, the one that all the others spring from and the one that weakens and holds me back. Walking into a room, driving to work, going to a friend’s house, making a phone call, going to sleep, every one of these things used to leave me shaking and nauseous. They still are difficult sometimes to do, but possible. In fact, people often ask how I can be so confident, so fearless and tough.

Not hard if the only way to go is up.

Fear holds us back from reaching for that golden star above us, from asking that one girl out, keeps us from getting back up after we fall.

It CAN be conquered, it CAN be tamed. And by God, if it takes the rest of my life, it will be the least of my sins.

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2 Responses to “SDS-Fear”

  1. Don’t look back.
    Never give up.
    Never surrender.
    Fight or die.

  2. Jaym Gates Says:

    *nod* I intend to.

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