Have patience with me…
For I am a work in progress, and I am trying. It simply isn’t all that easy. While I am discussing me here, this can also pertain to many others who for various reasons, are in similar circumstances.
I wrote last night about the Jeep group’s trunk or treat event. From my perspective it was a roaring success. With the many members present, handing out candy and just in general having a grand time. They visited with the kids and with each other. I know as I witnessed all this from the relative comfort of my location at the back of my jeep. I did wander away a time or two, leaving my son to hand out candy, but I returned swiftly. It was my spot, I was safe there.
Maybe some of the others thought me stuck up, unfriendly, or any of the other many adjectives that describes one who doesn’t play well with others. They are so mistaken. Though they don’t know this, so allow me to explain.
My late husband who I loved dearly and miss terribly was somewhat insecure and afraid. Out of desperation for a job, he learned how and took on the career of being a long haul truck driver. For those who do not know, long haul drivers are most times gone for weeks at a time. It varies due to many factors unimportant to this write. He would most often be gone for three weeks at a time, then home for three days before leaving again. He was afraid that I would grow weary of this arrangement and ‘find someone else’. There was also his moments of jealousy of my getting to do things he couldn’t. To calm him down as he had too many other things to worry about while driving that big rig across country, I began to stay home. The only places I would go were work, grocery shopping and church.
He has been gone for four and a half years, and I am still struggling to break free of mostly self imposed chains.
My mother did not raise me to be a weak person, so this battle is frustrating. To sit here and want to do something so badly, but have near panic attacks just thinking about going, is an ongoing fight. One I am determined to win. Knowing it is easier to simply decide not to go. To toss up my hands in defeat and crawl back to my comfort spot all safe and..alone. Knowing my son would be disappointed in me is one incentive to step out. Knowing I would be disappointed and have grown weary of the feeling, is another. Knowing that just getting in the car and going, is the most difficult part.
Yesterday, I had pretty much decided not to attend. I didn’t have candy and had no money to spare for candy. I had no real decorations for the Jeep. I had nothing for a real costume. I wasn’t sure exactly where the group was parking and what time they were gathering and …..I have become very adapt at creating excuses. Then my son took one away. He had several old scratch off lottery cards that he had not cashed in. Together they added up to twenty-two dollars, all he wanted out of that was a drink, and then for me to go buy candy. Okay. Then I tossed together (it was obvious) some make do decorations. I still had to actually go.
Anxiety is a demon. Fear, is a monster. Insecurity is a liar. And yet, there it was. All of that and more. Even as I made ready, they filled my physical and mental processes.
I was beyond trembling and literally shaking. Everything I attempted to do, had to be done repeatedly. Frustration at things not working was on high danger levels.
I was fighting being sick to my stomach.
Mentally every negative thought that could and has ever been thought was running on a loop.
I wanted to go, I didn’t want to go, I wanted to be there, I didn’t want to be there. I wanted to be a part, was I a part, would I be accepted? Would I be ignored? Would anyone talk with me? Would I be able to converse in some rational, accepted form?
Being empathic does not help matters either. Most often I can close the door on that, sometimes though, I can’t.
I waited until the last minute, then got in my Jeep, and went. All the way fighting the many emotions and physical things that were trying to convince me to turn around and go home. Just my luck, the traffic light was in my favor (?) and I pulled into the shopping center that was holding the event. Driving around the buildings, I saw the already formed lines of Jeeps. I managed to pull into a parking space and took a deep, hopefully calming breath. I was there. Now what? This was my faith over fear moments.
I got out and began to rig up my make do decorations. I prepared the candy and got my camp chair out of the Jeep. I took another deep breath and glanced around. Yes, most of the Jeeps had amazing decorations. Most though not all, were wearing costumes. All were smiling, all were living and loving life.
The event was for two hours. It went by very quickly and was really fun. Yet, from my safe spot I watched the others having so much fun talking, teasing, gathering together, while I stayed in place. I wanted to join in. I did have many conversations with my neighbor, thank you Erica for unknowingly helping me through the event. For Karen who always has a welcoming, so happy to see you smile as she barrels around at the speed of light making everyone feel welcome and appreciated. Thank you Larry for spending a few moments just hanging with us and including my son in your moment with the guys. Thank you to the group member whose name I didn’t get for providing the water for my son. Thank you Lori for being my friend in and outside the group. This is sounding like an award ceremony and I can’t really thank everyone so I’ll end that here but I do thank everyone who unknowingly made my night easier.
My son asked me once we got home if I enjoyed the night, and of course I did even with the moments of uncertainty.
That is the thing here..I am not alone in this. There may have been others who were there last night, feeling the same way. There are most certainly others who attend various events, who sit in their safe spot wanting to join in the shenanigans, but hold back. They sit in silent observation of what is going on, their heart wanting to be a part, while all of the fears, insecurities, anxieties, hold them back. Their reasons may be different, may be the similar, the battle is the same. To want to be a part so desperately and yet so desperately afraid. Fighting against the various chains and cages that have entrapped us for so long that they are often seen as a comfort instead of the prison they are. Not stuck up. Not anti-social. Not arrogant. Many people, unsure of the steps to take, yet trying. Battling a fear so very real and yet still battling.
Have patience with us, we’re trying.