And it was out of the blue that I saw it. A spark, clear and bright. Brief in its appearance, gentle in its message. The truth of it burned into my brain like a brand: I was afraid.
“Why does this always surprise me? Why do my eyes sting with the realization that I had been carrying a private fear all this time?” I asked her.
My friend walked with a playful gait, arms akimbo, feet navigating the curb like a balance beam. The sun partially obscured by clouds and yet bright nonetheless; it was warm. Spring was teasing us. Winter still clung in the form of our dark-coloured clothes and brown leather boots, but we were determined to enjoy the mildness while it lasted. My neighbourhood buzzed with children on scooters and determined dogs taking their owners for a stroll.
“Fears are private by nature. More often than not, exposing them exposes the fact that they’re bullshit.” Her voice was light, a perfect counterbalance to my gloom. “So what happened?” she asked with genuine interest.
I stepped over a small mound of snow and considered my reply. “My boyfriend offered to help me with something.”
She laughed. “Oh my! How dare he?!” she exclaimed in mock horror.
I smiled. Man, she was right. Saying these things out loud helped to lighten their imaginary load. “I know,” I said. “It wasn’t the offer; it was my reaction to it.”
My friend came up beside me and locked elbows reassuringly. A car narrowly avoided splashing us as it drove through a giant puddle. “Go on,” she said.
“I froze,” I told her. Staring straight ahead, I focused on exactly how it felt in that emotion-dense moment from yesterday. “My throat closed up and I began to panic. In my mind I went back to times of feeling weak and dependent from years past. I couldn’t even hear him properly. It was as if he was at the end of a long tunnel and his words were blurred by distance and echo. I said, ‘No!’ so abruptly it stopped him short.”
She looked down briefly. “Hmmm…” she muttered.
“I felt as if he was trying to take something from me, as if he were stuffing me in a closet with no air, no light, no hope. It felt awful and all I wanted was freedom. All I wanted was to prove I did not need his help.”
Again, she laughed at me. “I do love your flair for the dramatic! But I am sorry that it felt so bad, honey.”
I smiled. “Thank you,” I said quietly. We crossed the road and cut through the schoolyard. “I had to sit with those feelings. I had to give them to Spirit and ask for help to see it differently. What came over me was reassurance. I was made to feel like there was nothing, really, to fear…that it was OK to be where I was with this and that all I needed to do was be honest with my boyfriend.”
“Yes,” she said.
“Why does honesty seem so hard sometimes?”
“Well, because it often lives behind a fear that we aren’t good enough, that our feelings aren’t worthy of acknowledgment, Of course, that’s all ridiculous. But that’s why honesty is truly an act of bravery. It’s stepping out onto a ledge, leaping off and hoping to be caught.” She squeezed my arm with hers. “And we’re always caught.”
I looked up at the sky and watched the sun break the clouds; blinding me, but spilling warmth on my face. “I’m learning that. He immediately understood.”
“Who did? God?”
I laughed, “No, my boyfriend.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed with a giggle. “Well, he’s God-like. We all are.”
My body shook with laughter at the thought of telling him he was a God. “Yes, yes we are.” I said.