One of the Diva's latest school projects was to create an imaginary character. (I love these creative projects.) She excitedly told me that she created the "scaredy Cat." I immediately pictured a scared cat with tail stiff and fur puffed in all directions with back arched high.
I was completely mistaken. Her Scared Cat was not a cat at all but a creature that took a fear and made it a part of its body. The creature had a spider for an ear and clown type hair and nose. She took the fears of her friends and incorporated them into this creature whose purpose seems to be to scare people thus, it has the inside track as to a person's fears.
"What is your biggest fear?" she asked as we walked along.
Fear is a difficult concept for me as it may be for most adults.
Phobia is different than fear - but I don't have any of those so... I thought for a few minutes as to what it is that leaves me feeling the most fear.
I responded that I am afraid of something happening to her, which is true in a sense but it is not the fear that she had anticipated. She wanted an answer like heights or spiders or clowns. She didn't want a speech on my not wanting anything to happen to her or for anyone or thing to hurt her.
I have given more thought to my answer, as often happens. Fear is not a part of my life. I like to nip it in the bud or break it down so that I can turn it around and see it from another perspective.
Thus, I am not actually afraid of something happening to my daughter.
Life happens; people get hurt; and we learn and live and hopefully find a way of loving life and ourselves all over again.
Do most people fear something? Can we fear spiders or water or heights and yet still live our lives from a point of love? Are they two different fears?
I remember fearing the end of the world. I grew up at the end of the Cold War - is there anyone who didn't think of the end of the world via nuclear war? My plan was to move to San Diego as it was, at that point, a prime target and the end would come quickly. A friend told me that this was committing suicide... oh the way kids view the world!
I never moved to San Diego, rather I looked at my fear and hit the lecture halls and the books. The fear I felt resulted in education, knowledge, and my professional goals. I moved from a place of fear to an understanding that people are people and diversity is amazing.
Being different is something to appreciate and cherish; it is nothing to fear (unfortunately, so much fear in this regard remains to date though not in my house)
My fear now - if I have to consider "fear" to be the term used... is that my daughter lives her life and makes her choices based on fear over love. It is that one day she will make choices that are easy or allow others to make choices for her instead of actively living her life and making active choices that reflect her dreams and self.
How to explain this to a 9 year old? I am not sure I understand what I just wrote or that anyone else will... but I would say that this is my fear. So often we don't take risks, don't change, allow others to choose for us because it is easier or we don't want to create waves or we are afraid of change... the unknown is scary. I want my daughter to choose; I want her to understand that with change comes possibilities; and I want her to live with integrity.
"We have to make choices," she tells me another morning as we approach the school
"Not everyone likes to choose. Some would rather not choose, which
is, in itself, a choice. Some people are afraid of hurting people or are afraid to make the hard choices."
"But you have to make the hard choices." she declares
I want to hold her close to me and engrave her statement in her brain and in her heart. Yes, we have to make the hard choices. We have to actively live our lives. We have to embrace life over fearing it - love that we can make choices and make more choices... rather than fearing the outcome of our choices. I want her to remember her words and live her life making the heart felt choices even when they are the hard choices (as they often are) understanding that they are made with love.
Whatever way she chooses to live her life - I will love her!!