Facing Fears (and other #Outlander ramblings)

The year I turned forty, I decided to finally stop making excuses and to start DOING all of the things that I wanted to do.  Primarily, that meant writing.  Instead of explaining how “I had three kids,” or “I worked full time,” or whatever else it was that I was blaming for not writing, I would just…write.  And it worked pretty well.  But since then, I have accumulated new fears–fears far scarier than putting words to page.  And some fears can’t be conquered…but they can be acknowledged.

In an effort to silence the fears that keep me up at night, I will give those fears a name.  I will acknowledge them, and I will let them be…because sometimes it is the things that you avoid that you start to dread the most, thereby adding to its power over you.

1.  Failure a/k/a THAT Part of Things

I love to write and, frankly, I really don’t want to suck at it.  Writers, as a whole, are notoriously hard on themselves.  About a third of the way through any given project, we suddenly decide it sucks.  Neil Gamain wrote about it this part of the process.  I think that his agent or editor or someone referred to it as “That Part of the Book.”  When he would call in a panic thinking that his latest work-in-progress was utter shit, she would simply say, “Ahhhhh, you’re at THAT part of the book.”  I really need to remember that…perhaps have it tattooed somewhere.  Maybe then I’d remember that all things have a THAT part.  Even Life.  Perhaps, looking back, I will think, “Ahhhhh, I was at THAT part of my life.”

2.  Broke But Not Broken

Some think that speaking of money (or any lack of it) to be quite vulgar.  I consider it to be part of life.  Whatever money there is simply disappears.  That is the nature of having children, and health issues, and a book addiction.  I won’t pretend that it isn’t hard, and I’ll be damned if I try to keep up with the Joneses.  We are not the fucking Joneses.  Period.

3.  Scary Health Things

The hardest fear for me to contemplate, to name, to face…is health problems.  It is terrifying to see the love of your life struggling.  But diseases are faceless bastards and even if you are inclined to try to kick their ass, they don’t really HAVE an ass, so basically it is like punching a void.  It is even more infuriating to realize that you can’t manage someone else’s health condition.  I cannot eat well for my husband.  I cannot exercise for him.  I can do those things for ME though (and I do try to), because it helps me feel stronger and  better able to be there for him.

4.  Last One Standing

Okay, I lied.  #3 is not really the scariest.  It is this one, #4.  I am blessed to have both parents still alive  and kicking.  Admittedly, my mom is on oxygen…but I’d wager she could still kick some major butt (and she can shop like no one’s business!).  My dad is strong and ornery and does more in a day than most people accomplish in a week.  My husband and brother are also still alive despite their choice of Dangerous Protect and Serve vocations (*knock on wood*).  But I am painfully aware that accidents happen, health fails, violence erupts, and days are numbered, and I am scared of watching those I love died.  Maybe it will come without warning.  Maybe they will suffer.  Yes, this is the one that keeps me up late at night.  When I try to stare this one down, I inevitably blink.

I was re-re-reading An Echo in the Bone last night…

(SPOILER WARNING….seriously, you had to see that coming, right?)

…and I came to the part where Jamie and Claire are talking about where Jamie should be buried.  (My husband and I had that talk not long after his heart attack.  It was not a talk I wanted to have, but some questions should really be asked while there is still someone around to answer.  So, yes, this part felt a bit…raw.)

He lifted the flask in salute to me, and drank from it.  “Good to know someone will miss me, when I fall.”

“I didn’t miss that ‘when,’ rather than ‘if,'” I said coldly.

“It’s always been ‘when,’ Sassenach,” he said gently.  “Every chapter must be so translated. Aye?”

I took a deep breath and watched it drift out in a plume of mist.

“I sincerely hope I’m not going to have to do it,” I said, “but should the question arise–would you want to be buried here?  Or taken back to Scotland?”  I was thinking of a granite marriage stone in the graveyard at St. Kilda, with his name on it, and mine, too.  The bloody thing had nearly given me heart failure when I saw it, and I wasn’t sure I had forgiven Frank for it, even though it had accomplished what he’d meant it to.

Jamie made a small snorting noise, not quite a laugh.

“I shall be lucky too be buried at all, Sassenach.  Much more likely I shall be drowned, burnt, or left to rot on some battlefield.  Dinna fash yourself.  If ye’ve got to dispose of my carcass, just leave it out for the crows.”

Later Claire turns the tables, though:

“You didn’t ask what I want done with my body.”  I’d meant it at least half in jest, to lighten his mood, but his fingered curled so abruptly over mine that I gasped.

“No,” he said softly.  “And I never will.”  He wasn’t looking at me but at the whiteness before us.  “I canna think of ye dead, Claire.  Anything else–but not that.  I can’t.”

(And it is only now, in writing this, that I realized that my wonderful, brave, loving husband never did ask me where I should be buried.)

These fears that find us in the dark of night are never truly conquered.  We can struggle with them and subdue then for a while.  But they remain.  Whatever fears I have, though, I find them lessened in the sharing.  For that I am grateful.

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7 thoughts on “Facing Fears (and other #Outlander ramblings)

  1. Reading your comments in section 4 about being scared, I have a stress\worry condition of some sort where I have a fear that everyone I love will die before me and I can’t bear to think of the heartbreak I know that I will go through. This year in January I have lost my dog, after 16 years, as he became so ill, and the pain I felt afterwards nearly suffocated me and then in September, my Soul Sister who had the same disease as me, which is Gastroparesis, chose to die on her own terms rather than let GP kill her and my heart just shattered. So now I really do live in total fear about anything going wrong healthwise for my parents, brother, my husband & best friends. I literally wake up everyday and try work out all the possible disasters that could go wrong that day and what I will have to do and by the end of the day I am totally exhausted because of all the worry and then it starts all over again the next day. So sorry for the long splurge but I wanted to respond as your words really struck a chord with me. XX

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    • I am so sorry that you have had to deal with so much. The loss of loved ones (whether pet or people) can leave such a void. When Hubs had his heart attack, I obsessed over it. It took a while to be able to take comfort that I still had him. I have no idea how long but, for now at least, he is mine. I hope you can take joy and comfort in the loved ones who still hold you close. But please know that you are not alone. 💕

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      • Thank you very much for your caring words on this scary subject. I am glad that your Hubs recovered but I can appreciate you going over and over it.
        My main worry is that my Loved One, D, is also my carer [and full time worker] and he prepares all my medications everyday and takes me to all my appointments. As we have no family or friends nearby it means I am totally dependant on D which means it is a lot of emotional and physical stress and pressure on D. We are in the process of setting up a emergency contacts\support tree for me with the local Council, which means if D becomes ill [or has to go out on business] we need for me to be able to ring someone in case I have a fall and as D works about an hour’s drive away, this tree is so that someone with a key can to get to me immediately, and also be able to prepare my medication for the next couple of days
        D knows that I worry about losing loved ones, and he wants me to relax as much as possible but I get stressed out and feel guilty about being at home sick all the time & so I try to take off as much of the load on his shoulders but it then sets me back healthwise and I get worn out & sick and of course D gets frustrated with me as he feels he should be doing it. We both try to look after each other with love but it can get messy and frustrating at times and with all the stress I worry about it feels like it is never ending.
        And yet again another splurge! Very sorry but I find it easy to talk here in response to your original post.
        Thank you for your support and caring words [again]
        XX

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        • That is an amazing amount of stress. No wonder it is weighing on you! I hope that you are able to get a good support system in place, and find some comfort in it. I truly believe that we find the people we need. Every time I felt devoid of hope, I have found just the right people to accompany me on my journey.

          And please feel free to talk here. It is my safe place. I say whatever I need to say here. You can, too. Whatever journey you’re on, I’m glad we met. 💕

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          • Thank you so much Terri, it means so much to know that there is someone in the front of me with a light to help me see in my dark moments. I am glad I found you, due to my\our Love of Outlander. XX ❤ 💜💜

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