The whole point was the silver lining, find the goodness. Turn it over and change your perspective. If you can shift your perspective, you can change your state of mind, your attitude. That was the theory. And statistically speaking, it works. It is a conscious exercise, practiced mindfulness. I recall childhood and the wonderment of everything. I was a glass-half-full child. Something about growing up, those dents and dings we accumulate through adolescence, flipped me upside down. While I might have looked fine, inside all I could manage was the glass was half empty. It’s a response to fear. The pessimism and doubt arrives on the coat tails of fear and shame. You lose faith in yourself and in rushes the doubt in all things.
My son says I am BOLD. I like this word. BOLD. It is a word I shall claim. For I am bold. I have been bold. But lately, in the last few weeks, I have shriveled up and fear has rushed into the void. And fear has a panache for swiftly making itself at home. And when fear arrives one loses the ability to be bold. Fear pricks a hole in the balloon and every bit of air whistles out of you, leaving you flat and despondent, even paralyzed. As I lay curled up in my cave, I could feel Fear right outside, waiting for me. I wasn’t going out there. Why risk limb and life? You are certain fear will devour you like a Beast. But eventually, you realize you cannot stay in the cave. Not only that, you don’t WANT to stay in the cave. All the things you love and desire are OUT THERE. Yes, fear walks around out there too but those are the risks required to LIVE. You can’t live in the cave. There is no living in the cave. There is barely an ability to survive in the cave. In the madness of fear, you almost accept that survival isn’t all that important or even wanted. Fear sucks the energy right out of you and it seems easy to just curl up and quietly stay in the cave. Forever.
But I am BOLD, he says. I AM BOLD. And I have faced fear before. Fear has trapped me in this cave before, sadly I must admit more than once. It is more fair to say I have allowed fear to chase me into the cave when usually I am willing to square off with fear, stand up to it and kick it in the balls. But something about all of this has clobbered me right where that Sucker Punch, Kick Ass warrior girl resides. And she is a scaredy cat, a shinking violet and tired of being so tough. But BOLD is a different word than TOUGH.
I am BOLD.
Bold crawls out of the cave. Bold goes out and weeds the beard wall. Bold makes dinner like the Iron Chef from what’s in the pantry. Bold wakes up and listens to the voice in her head that says WRITE. Bold fills the bird feeders with seeds. Bold digs up the dead redbud tree, the one that symbolizes her and accepts that the other two – the two that symbolize her sons – might be better able to thrive with a little more room. Bold transplants the first-bought olive trees that are still so scrawny with the other six to make a nine-patch formation. Bold goes to the Linkin Park concert. Bold understands fear is around and about but Bold isn’t trapped by fear.
Bold doesn’t have to be tough. Bold just is.