Where I Face my Fears by Being Ridiculously Open and Honest

It's been a long time since I wrote, which is not good. It's not good because what happens is a sort of traffic jam in my head, which causes me to get absolutely stumped, wondering what to write about.

What to write about?

Well, I could write about why I haven't written in so long. About the fact that my family is on vacation, and how there is nothing in the world like spending some time alone with your family. And I'm not really saying there is nothing more blissful than spending time alone with your family, (although it is much-needed time, I will add, since I live in a community and rarely spend a day alone with my family) there is just nothing like it. It is blissful, at times, frustrating at times, as my superstar husband and I begin to decompress and then attempt to communicate the long overdue stuff with one another, which is like getting the ketchup out of the bottom of the ketchup bottle. Having a deep conversation with this particular wife is also a little like conversing with Ali Baba and the forty thieves: there are a lot of us in here. I do want to talk about it, I don't want to talk about it, okay, now I do again, now I just want to snarl at you, now I'm picking an outright fight, okay let's talk nicely again, alright happiness, we're talking, we're working things out because everyone knows that marriage is long raft ride in a lovely green river, with rapids here and there that need to be navigated with care.

I just feel sorry for Chinua, that he has to be in the raft that has the crazy person in it, sometimes paddling, but sometimes trying to hit him in the head with the oars. And sometimes even stabbing the raft with a pencil, just so we have to sit on the bank for a while with a patch kit.

And that brings me to something else, something I can barely even write about but really feel like I have to. I noticed somewhat of a theme, as I went back over my previous writing. There was a suspiciously large amount of posts about me crying in public or freaking out in stores because people were looking at me, or getting upset because the checkout lady was talking to me in a mean tone of voice. And there were a lot of posts about anxiety. And you have to understand, (and I'm sure that my non-internet friends back me up on this one) that there are many many things in life that I am never anxious about. For example:

Germs. (Go ahead kids, eat those crackers off the ground, seven second rule.) This is one reason that I do so well in India, I believe. People like me were MADE for travel in countries like India which have, let's say, issues with sanitation. I'm going to be ridiculously open here and confess to you that as a kid, I ate a lot of gum off of the ground. My poor mother was always asking me what I had in my mouth. "Nuffing," I would say as I tried to hide a large wad of someone else's watermelon gum under my tongue. Obviously I regret this decision to eat gum off of the ground as a child, simply because it's a little embarrassing, but really, I never, ever worry about germs.

Money. Most of the time. I've lived a life of faith for so long that I'm pretty good now at relaxing and allowing God to take care of us. We work pretty hard for no pay, and somehow God always brings us what we need. Like this place to rest, a place that Jessie and her husband Levi offered to us and we receive joyfully because God always likes to work through people. He rarely showers mountains of money out of the sky, but there seems to be a different way of living, an economy made of people who give to each other in different ways at different times. Now, I have had times of near heart attack with money, I'm not going to lie, such as when our community lived in this ridiculously expensive flat on Haight Street and I was in charge of collecting rent and paying bills. If there is any job in the entire world that I should not be in charge of, it is collecting rent.

Disaster. I'm not super fearful. I travel a lot, have been in fairly dangerous circumstances a lot, and yet don't find that I'm really all that worried that something bad will happen to me or my family. I find it easy to believe that everything will somehow be okay. I know that we could be in danger, that things could heat up here, that one day in India I could be put in a bad position, but I also know that God often doesn't give us the ability to go through hard things until we need it.

I don't lie awake worrying about money, sickness, danger, or potential disaster.

I do lie awake worrying about people.

I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to people and social situations. At the best I can be a good friend, listen to people, be in public and not be terribly self conscious, and go to sleep at night easily. At the worst I flinch when people look at me in public, am afraid of talking to people, and am knotted up inside at night, worrying. After a conversation I may go over what I said obsessively, wondering if anything was wrong or upsetting or offensive. I'm coming to think that I need to seriously address this.

But how?

It is the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life. Why am I so afraid? What am I afraid of? I guess I'm just going to have to continue to write it all down. I think I could seek a diagnosis, and probably find one, but I'm reluctant to do that. I don't want to be contained within my illness. There are many parts to a mountain: there are the trees, the rough patches, the old stones, that dirt underneath. There is the sky, coming all the way down to touch the dry earth, the occasional wildflower and there are wide-open spaces. I am not made only of the parts of me that are sick and hiding, and I feel that healing is more than surgery, more than medicine, more than a bandaid. I don't know why I am so afraid of people being angry with me, I don't know why I feel a sort of constant judgment humming underneath the ground. I have seen those open spaces, I know that there are many trees to climb through, to get there, and I know there will be the small flowers in the trees, the glimpses of blue sky to help me through. God is a true Friend; He neither allows me to escape this, nor allows it to break me. And there is my superstar husband, who, when I am wild with fear over the days ahead of me, the people I will disappoint, the mistakes I will make, looks me in the eyes and says, "You only have today. You only have this moment."