My youngest son is likely one of the bravest people I know, and yet, as a child, he was scared of many things. The dentist office, for one. Of course, this could have had something to do with his amazing gag reflex. He was about 14 before he could take pills without that barfy moment. When he went to the dentist, we had to make the appointment for very early in the morning and not feed him beforehand. Still, he would cry, and a few times, he had to have his exam while sitting on my lap.
Injections were another scary time, and I had to make sure that he had on soft shoes because as he was on my lap getting the shot, he would kick and bang away at my shins.
Eventually, like so many childhood things, his fears went away. By the time he prepared for travel to Fiji and Australia one year on a backpacking trip, he'd endured several inoculations without a comment. And he has the whitest teeth in town, the dentist his wise counselor. So who knew?
When I moved away from my husband, there were things I was frightened of but didn't really know how frightened I was of them. Shellfish, for one. Getting the car "anything-ed," for two. Being alone, really alone, for three. And now, like my son, I realize that these fears have gone away. I can even cook shellfish at this point, I'm so advanced.
But what I'm wondering is would I have kept those fears with me (I know they don't seem huge)if I hadn't left. Or, like my son, were they simply stages I was going through, the stages growing longer as we get older. If I hadn't put myself in a new situation, would I have suddenly at age 72 realized I could eat a plate of mussels in one sitting? Or would I have never gotten there at all?
And what is left to be dealt with an conquered? And can I figure that out without having to disassemble my life?
What led me to this blog was a tetanus shot I received Monday afternoon. I am scared of tetanus shots because every ten years, I have to deal with being very reactive to them. In 1986, I had a three day fever, a welt the size of New York, and aches and pains after the shot. In 1996, I received the dose in two parts, and then, as now, I'm just mildly sick, slightly sore in my shoulder. I learned something the hard way, but is that the only way? No one ever talks about the easy way because it seems invisible. What is the easy way, and does it stick?
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org