What Are You Afraid Of?

What are you afraid of?

My answer? Stagnation.

I’m so afraid of stagnation that even stability sometimes feels like I’m not doing enough for the sake of progress.

Centro Mater Preschool, Riverside Elementary, E.W.F Stirrup, Opa-Locka Elementary, Kendale Lakes Elementary, and back to E.W.F Stirrup. That, my friends, was my trajectory from preschool through the fifth grade. Seven years, six schools. Middle School brought on its very own set of instability. I stayed at the same school for three years, but I forget how many step-dads I had during that time (in hindsight my mother was doing the best she knew how to make sure I had everything I needed and dealing with her own need for love and acceptance). And then good ol’ High-school! I began my High-school journey nervous much like every other freshmen and of course life happened, and I ended up moving four times before graduating with a whole new set of friends and life experiences. Needless to say, stability has never been my strong point. Adaptability however? I’ve got that on lock! Remember Barbara Paradox from I’m a Walking Contradiction? Well I can also pass as Barbara Chameleon!

Our personal experiences shape us and taking things slow has never been part of my experience. Sometimes to my detriment (let’s leave my love life out of this). Sometimes for the better. You see, when the floor is pulled from under me I find ways to adapt (not without taking on the full blame and thoroughly beating myself up, but I adapt nonetheless and usually upgrade my life skills). And when the floor feels solid, I find ways to climb and get a little closer to where I think I want to be.

Some people are afraid of taking risks. I believe it has a lot to do with their own personal experiences. It is my observation that if you’ve always lived in the same town, had the same friends, seen the same surroundings, you’ve become a creature of habit, you’ve in a sense created a safe place for yourself. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I want nothing more than to have that comfort. It’s one of the reasons why I was, AM, so attached to my late best friend, and a handful of other people I hold near and dear. I may not see these people all the time but they each bring me a sense of peace and have chosen to stay in my life despite my inability to fully commit to them. I am so grateful for them and their unconditional love. Other than these handful of people, the most stable presence in my life are my children who I have tried my best to provide stability for.  Five years ago, I purchased their first home.

If life gave you trophies for reaching certain milestones, I’d receive my very first trophy for having lived in the same place for 5 consecutive years for the very first time in my entire life. Part of me is proud of this accomplishment. Every time I’ve wanted to bolt, I’ve stayed put for their sake. I feel like a good mom. The other part of me? Cringes. What am I doing? Why haven’t I purchased an entire island yet? Why haven’t I cured cancer or somehow brought on world peace? No seriously, I am THAT hard on myself. I am THAT uncomfortable with the thought of stagnation.

What I am learning to be comfortable with however is that- this is ME. This is who I AM. And there is nothing wrong with it. Every time I have tried to settle, life has jolted me on to my feet. Every time I have tried to conform, life has made it so uncomfortable that I’ve had no choice but to choose a different path. To my benefit, it’s always resulted in one to self-betterment. Even if I could not immediately see it as so. I mean let’s be honest self-betterment isn’t always cute pictures of you sitting on a yoga mat on the peak of a mountain overlooking nature. Hell sometimes self-betterment feels like some form of unwarranted torture (like you lugging the yoga mat up to the top of the mountain-with sneakers that are oh so cute but totally not meant for mountain climbing- without any breaks-or available water-after a girls night out-with your toddler in tow- who wants to be carried- and wants to somersault down the side of the mountain- so you’re doing the cha-cha the whole way up-and then taking 2 billion pictures to get the perfect shot- only to find out that half of them are videos and the other half are blurry because you can’t keep your hand still to save your life). Aaaaand insert deep breath here. Even after all of that you’re still at the top of the mountain! And now you know how to better prepare for your next hike! Boom. Self-betterment.

Use your fears to your benefit. Use them to propel you into your best life. Learn to love exactly who you are. The essence of you. Not everyone will know how to receive your energy. Some will think you are not enough. Others will think you are too much. Don’t let that person be you. Own your experiences. Learn from them but don’t let them reduce you.

What are you afraid of?

Figured out your answer? Good. Now Pasito tun tun.


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