I live with fear every day.
We as humans are multi-layered individuals. There is the outside layer that we allow the public to see. But deeper inside, in our soul, is the core of our real being which holds our inner secrets. The core holds our inner eye where we see ourselves for who we really are, not who we may portray to another person. This is a place no one can ever truly see. This is the real YOU.
The inner core holds all our hidden fears and loves and desires and even anger. We all have emotions. We are all human, not beings from the fictionalized planet Vulcan. We can deny ourselves, be unaware, or shrug off that inner voice that controls our outer appearance and actions to the world. We can act tough and strong and aware to those around us. But deep inside we know, we know for sure, that there are questions and doubts and maybe a feeling that something needs to change.
As I slide down the slope of my senior years and ultimate death I’m spending more time listening to my inner self, peeling the onion of my core, asking why I am the way I am and what changes can I still make. What are my real beliefs and remaining goals?
The most pressing and deepest layer of my inner core that I need to examine is that of fear. Fear holds me back. Fear is wrapped around my arms and chest like a heavy elastic band. I can squirm and force the band to expand a bit to allow me some movement but eventually it snaps my arms back. My breathing becomes tighter, my eyes fill with tears of anguish. Some of my fears, when examined, are stupid and fruitless. But I can’t help but wonder if others fear the unknown, the big “what if”?
Dog training is very relaxing and enjoyable for me. Traveling to shows, driving to unknown locations, preparing myself and the dogs prior to that moment when we step into the competition ring is very stressful. Yet I push through and get into the car and one weekend after another I face this fear. Each time I fill out an entry form I shake with trepidation. The morning after a show weekend, once home, I am mentally and physically exhausted.
I’m so filled with questions about my self that I could be a psychologists/psychiatrist’s dream patient. What is my inner core hiding about me? Fear of failure? Fear of injury or criminal attack? Or worse, fear of losing my dogs? I’ve driven through thunder and lightning storms, become lost in Atlanta, GA rush hour traffic, suffered a sugar drop while driving and even had a car plunge across the Interstate head on toward my car, only stopping at the last moment. Yet I’ve survived.
The only thing keeping me from quitting dog show competitions is my strong goal that my dogs earn higher titles and high scores. These may be my last competition dogs and I’m determined to hang on until their old age. Even then my fears won’t go away but will remain trapped inside me, waiting to become attached to another phase of my life.
Fear lives inside me and to some extent always will. It is who I am. We all have fears though. Don’t be smug and think you don’t. Some people are better at hiding their trepidation or maybe they have never been tested by a physical or mental attack.
There are many other events in my life that keep me bound tightly within myself. Unfortunately we cannot go through life without stepping out the front door into the world, the unknown. But sometimes I give myself permission to stay home, cocoon with the confines of my house and yard. Relax, breathe, and rest. This is my necessary alone time.
But now I’m getting ready to fill out another entry form but this time the trial is far away, several hundred miles, to a place I’ve never been, a place of natural beauty and therefore a reason for me to push my fears behind me.
Beauty transcends fear.