The Other Side of Fear

In November 2021, I sold my house and moved.

Now, that’s a very generic statement, for the extremely complicated and intricate dance of events that took place.

I’d been wanting to move for years.

Living where I was, in North Dakota, had so many painful memories and so little joy left for me. Yes, I have many good memories there as well, and I treasure those; but you can’t live in memories.

I struggled everyday to find a reason to get up, to go forward, and couldn’t find enough reasons to stay.

So – I made a lot of choices that ended up with me moving to Washington, to be closer to my ElderDaughter & my grandbabies.

And, my life has changed so much, that I’m still amazed on the daily that I actually live here now!

Pre move-in

I bought myself a used RV, & hooked it up in my ElderDaughter’s backyard.

It’s perfect for me & Sal.

Front window wins!

It’s big enough for the 2 of us, without being too much for me to handle.

And, I haven’t been this at ease in a long time, if ever.

My anxiety has dropped to the point where I’ve been able to lower my meds in half.

I’m finding myself having moments of pure contentment and joy out of the blue. It’s been years since my depression has been this minimal.

I’m finding a new balance, here.

Everything you’ve ever wanted, is on the other side of fear ~ George Addair

Run, Runaway

I’ve had this feeling for a while now.

Call it nerves, call it anxiety, call it fear, it all comes down to the same thing.

My heart is screaming at me to “GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN!”

While my head is telling me “Stupid, you have shit to do, people to care for, a house, animals, friends, blah, blah, blah… You can’t just up and leave. Figure it out, psycho.”

And all the while, this phrase keeps playing over and over in my head. (Panic at the Disco’s song Nicotine is where this came from)

“It’s better to burn

Than to fade away

It’s better to leave

Than to be replaced”

Obviously, the anti-anxiety meds aren’t completely doing their job, or this wouldn’t be freaking me out this bad…but I’m still here, so they’re helping somewhat.


I need to figure this out.

Dark Matter

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been afraid of the dark.

Nope.  That sentence isn’t quite right.

For as long as I can remember… I’ve been afraid of what’s hiding out there in the dark.

The unknown.

When I was a little girl, I used to sleep with my feet on the pillow, and my head at the foot of the bed – UNDER the covers.  Because my brother once told me that it confused the monsters under the bed, and then they couldn’t drag you under there with them. 

He also used to delight in turning off the lights when I got either half-way up or half-way down a flight of stairs, so I was stuck – in the middle – in the dark – and was paralyzed with fear, screaming for my mom or dad to come rescue me.  He got in trouble for that many times, but kept it up until we were teenagers, and I popped him in the mouth once for it. 

Did you know that braces will turn the inside of someone’s lip into so much hamburger when you hit them in their closed mouth with your fist?  Hunh, ‘magine that.

Anyway – even today, I don’t like to be in total darkness, without some source of light, even a small source, like a lighter, or a flashlight, or night-light.  Even just the blinking lights on my tv, and computer are soothing, in that they help me orient myself in my surroundings in the deepest recesses of night.

When I was little, I simply said I was scared of the dark.  Because it was in the dark, that all the bad things happened, it seemed.  And all of the scariest stories happened after the lights went out. 

Now, I know that it’s not the darkness itself, and it’s not even really the things that could possibly be out there in the darkness that gets to me.  And the paralyzing fear I felt as a child, is more of a chill up my spine, maybe a crawly sensation on the back of my neck, now.

It’s the  lack of control that really irks me and gets my heart racing.

Because, in the dark, someone can sneak up on you.  There are no real shadows traipsing along in front of them to give them away.  Sounds are magnified in the dark, so every leaf that skitters across the sidewalk sounds like someone shuffling down the street, and I turn to look.  You can’t see well in the dark, you strain your eyes, try to peer silently around corners; hold your breath, even, to try to hear the smallest whispers.  It’s anxiety-inducing for me, because my senses are dulled in some ways, and heightened in others.

Even right this minute – I’m sitting in my living room, on a sofa in front of a dark picture window.  And I can feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up whenever I hear a sound outside that seems to be near the front walk.  I sat here on purpose, to test myself, and to stretch myself.  Because I hate letting fear get the better of me.

I mostly have this fear of the darkness, and what lurks within it, whipped.  I don’t become that paralyzed, terrified child anymore when I go to the basement, without using the lights.  I slept in the basement bedroom for almost 2 months, in almost near-perfect blackness, broken only by the glow-in-the-dark paint on the walls and stars stuck to the ceiling.  I can go outside, without a flashlight, to fetch the mail, take a walk, talk on the phone to friends late at night, without feeling like I’m about to be yanked under my vehicle or rushed by some homicidal maniac.

But, I continue to push my own boundaries, my own comfort levels, just to see how much farther I have till I can truly say that I no longer fear the absence of light.

Because I’m a control junkie.  I have to conquer the things that frighten me… uh… to a certain extent, anyway.  There are things that I’m afraid of, that I don’t think I’ll ever conquer.  But that’s not what I’m talking about today.

I think that’s one of the reasons why I like to write a lot of “dark and moody” stories, horror, etc.  If it scares me, I want to put it down on paper, get it “out and gone”, so to speak.  I also like to watch a lot of horror movies, and read scary stories.  Stephen King and Dean Koontz are 2 of my favorite spooky authors, because they can really bring the creepy. 

And, watching scary movies and reading spooky fiction, help me to desensitize myself to that which scares me.  “Flooding” is the official term, I guess.  You take all you can handle of what makes you the most afraid, and then toss on a little more, till you’re about to scream….. then you back off, just a little, catch your breath, and dive back into it for more adrenaline.  You’re supposed to continue this process until you see that there really is nothing to fear out there, and your body loses it’s need for the flight/fight response every time you encounter that which sets off your emotional response.

And now, it’s officially Friday.  Midnight.  The “Witching Hour”, or so they call it.  So, this witch is off, to wander down the darkened hallway (with a tiny LED motion-sensitive nightlight about halfway for late-night bathroom breaks), and cuddle up in my comfortably-shadowed bedroom for some sleep.

The darkness – is useful, in it’s place.  And I’m learning to not let it matter so much in the places it doesn’t need to. 

Maybe I’ll take my friend’s suggestion next, and write a horror story, in the dark, with only the glow of my computer screen to light my way.  *Shivers*  Uh, maybe not just yet….. I’ll work on it.

Ready… Set… Rrrrrrrrrip the Bandaid Off

A friend sent me this picture not so long ago. 

And, over the last several weeks, I’ve circled round it, always coming back and reading – and re-reading it. 

There is truth in this little square of words – if only I can dig it out of myself, somehow.

I ask myself the question, over and over:

Just what IS it, that lies at the center of my being?  I can feel the answers there, like a small, golden orb, glowing with a steady light, and yet… I’m afraid to pull back the layers of protection, to knock down the walls of self-doubt and fear that I’ve put up over the years. 

Just what am I afraid of?

Well, the same things that everyone’s afraid of, I guess.


Because if I pull back all the layers, and finally discover who I really am, and start actually being that person, then if someone rejects me… they’re rejecting the real me.  Not a stunt-double, not a stand-in, not a construct or a mask that I’ve projected for their approval.  I can’t hide anymore, nor can I blow it off as “Oh, they don’t know the real me, or they’d love me.” 

I have to be honest, though, and say that, for the most part, I am the real me, here.  Even under an assumed name, I am more “Me” here, than I am in most of my everyday life.  It’s easier to show the raw emotions, the darker, scarier stuff, when you have the anonymity of the internet to hide behind. 

And some of you that read this, know me in real life.  Which… kind of causes me to be hesitant when we speak, to say the same things out loud, that I say here.  It’s like there really are 2 completely separate personalities… one is Brea, and lives here, in the computer… one is the legal-name me, and lives out in the mundane world. 

So, for those of you that know me, especially those that I see day-to-day, please know, that when I start to whisper, or my eyes slide to the side, hesitant, it’s not because I don’t want to talk… it’s that it’s harder, face-to-face, to be that raw, that vulnerable.  Because I fear the rejection.

One of my blogging friends… you know who you are… said that it’s so much harder to say things in person, that he was telling his blog-readers things that he had trouble telling his family.  And it’s true.  Just that touch of anonymity… makes it easier.  A little distance, a tiny wall of protection, and you can fool yourself into believing that you’re just “writing in a journal on the computer”. 

I’ve been using a phrase a lot lately… That I’ve always been a kind of “rip-the-bandaid-off-all-at-once” kind of girl.  I don’t like limbo, I don’t like prolonging the agony or the anxiety, any longer than I have to.  I like to do things in a certain order.

1.  Do my research on any given subject – whether it’s choosing a hair style, choosing paint to go on a wall, choosing which e-cigarette I’m going to use to quit smoking, or choosing to get a divorce – I research.  I haunt the web, reading sites, checking out what other people think about any given thing, and asking people at work, and friends, what they think of a thing.  I try really hard not to walk into things blindly.  I might make a wrong decision in the end, but, it’s still my decision, so… lesson learned.

2.  I make a decision – one way or the other.  And once the decision is made… there really isn’t much going back.  I have a very stubborn streak.  Ask around, everyone who knows me, even the slightest, knows about my stubborn tendencies.  It’s genetic – take my word for it.

3.  I act… and I want results.  I hate limbo, even with the game of limbo, I always ended up on my butt, because I was in too much of a rush.  I hate waiting.  I want it over, and behind me.

Right now, my life consists of this irritating limbo- waiting- between one place and another, between one life and another.  And I hate it.  I really, really do.  I know that there is a certain order to things, and that I have to wait for them to occur in that order… but I still hate it.

I don’t care right now, if the wound bleeds… I’ll wash it off.  After a certain time, wounds need the oxygen to heal, just as much as they needed the bandage before.

So, at the center of my being… who am I?  And what do I want?  Hang on, and we’ll find out.