During my session with my therapist last week she mentioned how a lot of the other parts of me are stuck in the past and seem to be re-experiencing memories on a loop which is keeping them trapped. She claimed that in order to tackle those memories, we need to reinforce what I have in the present; to strengthen my hold on the here and now. As she said this, I could feel bubbling sensations of fear and dread and it made me wonder what was so scary about the prospect of being submerged in the present.
I suppose there are many aspects of this idea make me feel uneasy. The past, although distressing, is familiar. I know it intimately and there are no dark surprises lurking around the corner. They often say, ‘better the devil you know’ and I am well acquainted with this devil. The present and the future hold a huge host of unknowns and I can’t help but find myself constantly bracing for the next awful thing to happen. What blow will life deal us next? Will this be the one that finally breaks me? It sounds bleak but I guess it’s a form of protection. Always be prepared.
Facing the present also means facing the fact that I am now an adult. An adult is something I never wanted to be. Other children long for the supposed freedom that comes with growing up, but I wasn’t one of them. I was terrified. In my life, grown ups were ill and frail, they were stressed and tense and distant. Other grown ups were cruel and deceitful. Obviously, as I got older, I learned that adults could also be kind, fun, loving and good but inside I am still that terrified little girl. I feel like I’m in a costume I can’t take off. A child playing dress up. I don’t know how to make myself fit into this adult world.
The last fear I want to talk about is the fear of failure. What if I fail? What if I fail as a wife and a mother? What if I screw my children up emotionally? Or fail to keep them safe and well? What if I fail to be what my wife needs me to be? Anxieties and doubts plague my mind and it’s difficult not to be consumed. No one teaches you how to be an adult and yet there is so much expected of you.
When it comes down to it, I have to ask myself is this familiarity and false sense of security worth it? Do I want to be someone so caught up in the past that they forget to live?
If I don’t try, then haven’t I already failed?