An Open Letter About (My) Fears

I have ruminated a lot about the infallible human dichotomy. The inescapable contradiction of human nature – that our lives are significantly insignificant. We can have profound impact on other people in our lives, on the world around us. Our everyday decisions dictate what our individual carbon footprint is, our impact on the earth’s increasingly fragile ecosystem. Our words can significantly affect how those around us see the world, see themselves, treat each other and themselves. We have friends and family around us that rely on us in some way, and in turn – are there to be relied upon. We support each other in this life and we each take something form the other – be it positive or negative, moral or financial – we all give and take and have incredible effects on those around us. All of these significant effects are profound, and amazing, and rewarding – yet at the end of our lives the universe is still expanding, the sun is still dying and our lives on this remote planet are just as equally insignificant. It is all in the details, in how we choose to see our lives and our successful and positive impacts and our defeats. It is in how we deal with the lows to better appreciate the highs.
With this in mind I have decided to write an open letter to clear up some confusion about my fears.
My husband and I are very lucky. At the ages of 30 & 31 we were able to choose to quit our jobs to travel for several months and now find ourselves back home in Michigan facing some pretty big decisions. Some small decisions end up making huge impacts on our lives. Choosing to take the job at Circuit City after college instead of the job at Kohl’s (I graduated in 2006 when there were so many college grads flooding the market that most of us were lucky to have a choice of two retail jobs) led to my meeting my split apart whom I have now been happily married to for almost eight years. Some big decisions lead to epic failures or totally quiet and small successes that end up just being a shrug of the shoulders that we just need to move on from to better prepare for the next part of our lives. Right now it feels that we have some big choices to make. We need to decide where we want to be, what city, what state, what country. We need to settle on and decide to invest in one of the many passions we have and open a business. Our goal is ultimately to be able to work for ourselves and to work together. That’s it. We’ve had two jobs in our eight years where we worked together and we were happy to see each other throughout the day, we were happy to drive in to work and home together. But ultimately – we have decided that money is not everything, and working together for someone else, in a job that we find unfulfilling will not make us happy. We want to be happy and that will only come when we are working together in our own business or businesses.
In our pursuit to sort out our thoughts and clarify what our choices are over the past month or so, we have enlisted the help of my father. He is a realtor and we figured we could seek some real estate advice from him. It has not been so successful. I have had a trying relationship at times with him. I have come to recognize that we are both equally at fault for the trying part of the relationship. Every relationship is made of equal measures – each person puts in fifty percent – it is always fifty percent – it’s just what each person puts in that can make it feel like such a burden or such a blessing. It may have been a mistake to ask him for help and to entrust him with our secret little planning – but in reality it has kind of turned out exactly as we expected it would so maybe we never allowed it to be anything but a mistake in choosing to enlist his help and seek his advice since we knew what we were getting into. Say la vie. I’m over it. However, today we picked him up from the the airport after a two week stint down in Florida to celebrate his 70th birthday and to get away from the gray Michigan winter. We housesat for him for 16 days, cared for his dog and cat and cleared feet of snow from his ridiculously long driveway. On the way back he treated us to lunch and brought up the same old conversation/lecture on how we just need to decide on something and do it and stop letting fear intercede. It is difficult at this point in my life to go too deeply into anything with him because it always ends with miscommunication, frustration and annoyance for both parties. It has gotten better a I have become clearer about my message and stronger in my delivery of it, but still, sitting at a busy bar on a Sunday afternoon whilst watching golf did not feel like the best of times to have a deep discussion about fear.
I hear this from him all the time. He’s my fear monger – the person in my life that keeps reminding me that I might be afraid of something. Stop letting fear over rule me, stop letting fear in, it’s always going to be there, just get over it. What is frustrating is that I just don’t think he gets that every single one of us deals with different fears. I do not share his fears. Maybe on a large scale, sure, but I genuinely believe there are very few people on this significantly large planet that share the same driving fears. Not the fears of spiders or birds or bees or sharks. Not even the fear of death. Those are overarching phobias that we each have with weird stories of where they originated and rarely affect us on a day to day basis. I’m talking the fears that drive us to succeed and keep us from it. Those big driving fears are just so dependent on who we are, what we want to be, what we don’t want to be and where we have come from. I am extremely fortunate to have never had to fear hunger, or if I would have a safe place to sleep at night, or if my mother or I would be subjected to unmentionable horrors because we were women born in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time. My driving fears come from my genetic make up. The chemical firings and misfirings that lead me to be a manic depressive. Sometimes I am terrified that I am destined to commit suicide like my Uncle Larry did – he was my father’s closest and younger brother. Sometimes I am terrified that I will live forever but be cursed with this sometimes debilitating and crushing and defeating depression. But these are not really my driving fears. So in order to avoid any future misunderstandings; let’s clear up what it is that I am afraid of exactly. At least for now. And these are as succinct as I can make them. Which is ridiculous.
I am afraid of being undeserving. That I don’t deserve the happiness that has come my way, that I have created, that I am lucky enough to have.
I am afraid that I don’t deserve my husband – he is good, and loving and accepting – and I fear that I don’t deserve him.
I am afraid that my fear of being undeserving will become a self fulfilling prophecy, that my happiness will go away because it too agrees that I don’t deserve it anymore.
I am afraid of losing my passion and my spark and my creativity to the black abyss of depression.
I am afraid of losing my compassion and empathy for all living beings (humans and otherwise).
I am afraid of my own head and getting lost in it.
I am afraid of slipping into an easy life with a steady job and good pay. I am afraid of just surviving and not living.
I am afraid of never having the guts to say this to my dad or my mom or anyone who really matters in my life because none of us ever have enough time on this earth to say everything we need to.
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Day Twenty Three

rsd blog

Once again I know I’m late getting this posted but whatever. I thought of my post all day so that still counts right? If not, too bad. Here goes.

This was a day of many many firsts. So many awesome firsts in fact that I’m not so sure I can do them all justice in this post.

For starters, today was Record Store Day 2014; the seventh RSD and with seven being one of my new lucky numbers – I feel like that was a good sign from the start. This seventh RSD my love and I started early from our Nashville hotel (we were on the seventh floor btw) to make our way to Third Man Records. We arrived to see a fairly large crowd queuing for their copy of The World’s Fastest Record and for the ten o’clock show we ourselves had two tickets for. Once we’d queued for about an hour we were shuffled in to the Blue Room sound studio to settle in for our first time seeing Jack White together.

The show was amazing, there are few words for what an outstanding showman, guitarist, singer et al he really is. Mr. White and his band warmed us up with a live version of High Ball Stepper before jamming out the live recorded direct to acetate versions of Lazareto and Elvis’ Power of My Love that were whisked away for pressing. We were treated to an hour long show spanning White Stripes hits Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, Hello Operator & Hotel Yorba to tracks from Blunderbuss (Freedom at 21, Weep Themselves to Sleep and Love Interruption) and a few new songs off his upcoming album. It was our first time hearing Three Women, Just One Drink and Would You Fight for My Love. We were twenty feet from the man himself and I don’t think we will quickly forget how lucky we were to be there today.

We left the show, grabbed a free free beers in the courtyard courtesy of Yazoo Brewing, grabbed some delicious iced tea and strawberry mint lemonade from Bang Candy Company and waited a bit to get into the TMR store to buy some sweet swag. While in line we spotted a dude from Criminal Minds – I don’t really know who but I know my mom watches that show and will be pumped to hear we spotted him. We even got a few goodies from the TMR Rolling Record Store.

Our next first came before we went in for our second show of the day. I met Terry Richardson it was awkward because he didn’t even try to sleep with me, but I met him and grabbed a picture too. The last first I will write of today was seeing and hearing Whirlwind Heat for the first time. Holy sh%t have I been missing an awesome band. They tore up the stage, my ears and my musical heart. It was like listening to an early, visceral White Stripes.

As we reluctantly left the Blue Room for the second and last time today we grabbed our copies of the World’s Fastest Record and the re-release of Do Rabbits Wonder? by Whirlwind Heat. Such an awesome day of firsts.

There will be more to come tomorrow from the road home. For now, goodnight from Nashville.

 

RSD14 aka Best Day Ever Track-List:

High Ball Stepper

Lazaretto

Power of My Love

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Freedom at 21

Three Women

Weep Themselves to Sleep

Love Interruption

Hello Operator

Just One Drink

Hotel Yorba

Would You Fight for My Love

Day Twenty One

hhdl

Packing today for our trip to Nashville. Super pumped for it, so get ready for some major boners the next few days over traveling with my love, seeing Jack White perform, shiny new vinyl records, exploring Nashville, enjoying delicious vegan food and more. Not today though. Today I want to pontificate a little about beliefs.

For the first time on this blog/exercise in avoiding therapy, whatever you want to call it, I will talk about religion and my beliefs. I was raised catholic, which of course means that I have since become alienated from the church and have no real interest in organized religion. When raised in the catholic faith you either get confirmed and move on once you’ve satisfied the parent(s) or you stick it out showing up late to mass and putting money in the basket every week for the rest of your life. That being said, I have always been interested in studying various religions, belief-systems, theologies and philosophies.

Overall, I can’t chose just one system that works for me. I pick and choose what helps me to explain the existence of space, time, us, the universe and life. I believe in karma, nothing is without consequences, you reap what you sow and you better sow some love or you will end up drowning in hate. I believe in the power of love and compassion. We can all be better people, we just need to work at it. We can all be happy, we need to work at that too. I wear my mala beads everyday because they are a talisman that remind me of what weights I carry, what I have to let go of and what I have to live for. I believe in the power of meditation and enlightening your mind to better understand your strengths and limitations. Enlightenment is truly something to work towards. We all need to help each other, and look out for other people.

I believe that I need to remind myself of the importance of compassion everyday and remember to practice it. We are all works in progress, perfection is unattainable and that is all part of the journey of life.

 

 

There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosphy is kindness.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

 

 

Life is beauty through and through
Life is sunny, life is cool
Life is even easy too
But if my word is to be true
Life is something to behold
But if the truth is to be told
Let us not leave out any part
Do not fear, it’s safe to say it here
You will not be called a weakling nor a fraud
For feeling the pain of the whole wide world
You want to help but can’t help the feeling you cannot
And it’s killing you while you’re just trying to smile from your heart
So go on, say it, on the same knees you’re praying
Yes, life is hard

Come celebrate
Life is hard
Come celebrate Life is hard
Our life is all we are

Celebrate it in the sun, promenade it with everyone
Elevate it in a song
And I’ll be there to play it, don’t get me wrong
When I feel like dying and being gone
When life is hard
There’s just one thing, let’s not forget
Yes! life is it!
Life is it, life is it, it’s where it’s at
It’s getting skinny, getting fat
It’s falling deep into a love,
It’s getting crushed just like a bug
Life there’s no love, it’s getting beat into the ground
It’s getting lost and getting found,
To growing up and getting round
It’s feeling silence, feeling sound
It’s feeling lonely, feeling full
It’s feeling oh so beautiful!
Yes!

Come celebrate
Life is hard
Come celebrate
Life is hard
Our life is all we are

Life is Hard

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

Day Twenty

sb

Whoa! Made it to the big 2-0. Sooo…..yeah.

I actually had a fairly meaningful conversation with a coworker today about life and accomplishments. Mostly he talked, but I enjoyed listening. He spoke of regrets. Spending so many years of his life spoiling the wrong people, living for the wrong people. All he wants is his youth back, and all those years back, so he could have them now with his current wife. He loves her, he worships her, he wishes he could give her more, spoil her more, treat her to a better life now that he has her. He said he looks back at his almost 51 years and regrets that he hasn’t accomplished more – not so much for his own selfish reasons – but so he could have more of everything to share with his wife.

That is how I feel about my husband. I love him, I worship him, he deserves so much in and from life, he deserves to be spoiled. And I don’t mean materially. He deserves trips, time to do what he wants to do, to study what he wants to learn, he deserves the best of everything. I want so much to build a life worth living, that is meaningful and positive, a life that contributes towards a better world. I want to be successful so my husband and I can spend time living our lives together. Take trips, go to dinners and concerts and movies, adopt teenagers and help them through college and navigate life, treat friends and family to these luxuries, basically – just live. I mean everyone works to put food on the table, to pay the bills, to provide. But is that living? Or surviving?

Either way, it was the first time I have had a conversation like that with anyone other then my husband – and maybe my mom. Never have I discussed this with friends or family or anyone really. That kind of haunts me a little to think of it now. But at the same time – it was the first time I felt “outside” validation in wanting. It felt good.

In light of today’s discussion and ensuing afternoon of thought; I feel like I need to start working on a personal mission statement.

That sounds totally creepy and Joel Osteen-y. I hate that guy.

Okay, I digress. If I attempt to lay it all out in one sentence it would read as follows.

I want to build a successful business(es) in which I can hire friends and family that want the jobs, help support those that want to create their own, and foster an environment around me at all times that is centered on creating a more compassionate world through open-minded education, travel, giving of time and money, exploring and loving.

Kind of a run-on isn’t it? I need to work on that – but I think I just wrote out, for the first time, a mission statement for my life.

 

Random Thought of the Day: There is a group of theoretical physicists that suppose the birth of the universe could have occured after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris. There is another group that believes our universe actually is existing inside of a black hole. And here I sit trying to figure out how f#%&ed up I am before I turn thirty. Certainly puts a different spin on things.