Motherhood, Fatherhood, Parenthood…they’re all the same in the context of impact on your child’s life. Whichever you’re going through, it’s a tough gig. I never dreamed of the dark shit that would go through my mind and I have spooked myself on countless occasions with horrific visuals that stopped me in my tracks and made me question my sanity. Whoa. The bright side. It’s pretty normal. How do I know? Well, I spoke to friends. I told them I’ve encountered visions of my own death. Gory, graphic and like nothing I’ve every seen in ‘scary’ movies, because I’ve never watched them! Honestly one of my password questions for my bank account was “Scariest movie you’ve ever seen” and answer? “The Terminator”. Now, Terminator came out on VCR in Australia in 1985 (I had to look that up) when I was five. But I remember being ten and watching it. I remember being at my friends house and watching it with her. We sat together on the couch with a big blanket across the two of us. She was a little bit older than me and she had a wallet, not a purse and that was so cool. I think we spent most of the movie with our eyes shut and our hands over them but her brothers and my brother were there and we were outnumbered so we sat and “watched”. It was the same evening that her Mum had passed away, which was a pretty monumental experience for a ten year old.
While the sun was still out, all the kids were taken for a walk around the block by an Aunty, I can’t remember which Aunty and when we approached my friend’s house there was an ambulance in the driveway and we were encouraged to keep walking. To go around the block again.
A few hours before, my friend, her Mum and my Mum were in the bedroom. My friend and I painted her Mum’s nails and brushed her hair and I don’t remember feeling sad in those moments, sombre, but not sad. Now I look back it was surreal. I can’t describe the scene much more because the way I feel about this experience as a Mother and Wife is so complex and it’s 28 years later. But I can say this. I’m approaching my friend’s Mum’s age. And as I sat with this woman who I thought of as my Aunty and watched her take her last breath, I then watched my friends face moments after, when she knew her Mum had died. A moment after I saw my own Mum remain calm and almost float toward my friend who was by now screaming.
I adored my friend, idolised her. I sat there, on the bed, feeling frozen and awkwardly intrusive.
It only just came to me that The Terminator was my scariest movie because I associated it with that experience. I only realised a few moths ago that I had an intense fear of dying, of leaving my Husband and my kids and our loved ones. But, after watching a TED talk yesterday by astronaut Chris Hadfield, I’ve realised talking about your biggest fear is the medicine for overcoming it.
FEAR IS THE UNKNOWN. THE JOURNEY UPWARDS, OUTWARDS AND BEYOND. FEAR IS NOT HAVING THE TOOLS, THE BREATH OR THE BRAVERY TO CONTINUE MOVING FORWARDS, OUTWARDS AND BEYOND.
ITS GASPING FOR AIR, ITS DROWNING, ITS BEING DOWN IN THAT DARK PLACE AND BEING BURIED ALIVE. FEAR IS REACHING AIMLESSLY TO WHAT MIGHT BE UP AND CLUTCHING FOR FISTFULS OF DIRT – BARREN, WITHOUT MINERALS, DUST. ITS BEING UNDERNOURISHED AND PUSHING FOOD ON OTHERS. ITS NO LIFEJACKET AND HAVING MY BABIES CLING TO ME, TRYING IN VANITY TO KEEP THEM FROM THE BIG WAVES, TRYING TO KEEP THEM AFLOAT, LITTLE FACES ABOVE WATER. FEAR IS WORRY. WORRYING ABOUT THE ONES WHO ARE SITTING RIGHT BESIDE ME, IN ANOTHER ROOM OR EVEN FAR AWAY. FEAR IS KNOWING THEY ARE HURTING AND THE PAIN OF NOT BEING ABLE TO HELP. THE FEAR IS NEVER SMALL. IT’S A GREAT BIG MONSTER, INFLATED AND CONSUMING OR FEAR…IS NOT THERE AT ALL.
I wrote this a few months ago. It freaked me out.
I was away at Deepening The Journey, a retreat fro Midwives, in Ubud, Bali. The writing came about on the fourth day, after much bonding with fellow Midwives and facilitators had forged. Trust was there. A safe space at every turn and loving friends with arms open wide waiting. This exercise was les about reflective practice and more about cracking open and letting whatever was buried deep inside travel towards and burst out into the light.
My life as it is today is pretty unique, super blessed and I’m absolutely grateful to my family, friends and the universe. I have NOTHING to fear. But that doesn’t mean I won’t worry anymore. I just won’t stuff my fear down for 28 years. I think dealing with my own fear has been key in being able to take on previously perceived ‘scary’ ventures. That, and ugly crying. Ugly crying helps. Not being much of a crier, wine and a soppy movie helps. It’s an emotional release and can be so cathartic. Just turn the lights down and switch your phone off and get ugly. Its good for you.