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    Gone In Sixty Seconds

           There’s this fear I have. It’s one of those ridiculously unreal fears, the kind that are completely irrational; like the adult equivalent of the Boogie Man. Unlike, say a fear of flying, where the possibility of death may be very remote but statistically possible, my phobia is not based on anything except some deep seeded dysfunctional neural programming.
           I work hard at keeping myself fit. Lots of sacrifice and discipline involved. Hours of exercise. Constant vigilance regarding diet and nutrition. In other words, it doesn’t happen overnight. Yet my fear is that, if I miss just a few days, or if I’m not constantly on top of it, one morning, I am going to wake up, and, literally, it’s all gonna be gone. Overnight, my body will have morphed into something soft and unhealthy and unrecognizable.
           Now, I’m aware of the reality that, if I had an accident, in one moment, my body could be permanently transformed. I’m not talking about that kind of fear. I’m not talking about the fear of having something instantaneous and horrific happen to me so that I would be mutilated or paralyzed. I’m talking about the kind of completely impossible notion that I’m going to have a lapse of proper eating or of working out, and, all of sudden, I’m going to look like Fred Flintstone because of it.
           My rational brain knows this is not remotely possible. But this fear does not reside in my rational brain. It resides in that part of me that has been traumatized and not completely let go of the trauma. We all have areas in ourselves like that. Some of us, more so than others, and more intensely. But we’ve all got that shit floating around within.
           Because I’ve gone inside and gotten to know myself better, even the parts that are sort of fucked up, less than stellar, flawed, and completely insane, I know what this particular fear says about me, and I know where it comes from. I know that this kind of fear points to something bigger and deeper. They always do. That’s the nature of really bizarre fears like this. They’re signposts to parts of ourselves that are still holding onto trauma and pain and constantly reliving it. It’s where these certain parts of ourselves hang out. The question becomes how often do we hang out there with them. And what do we do about that when we do, because spending too much time there can really interfere with our lives.
           This particular fear of mine has to do with a kind of emotional volatility that I grew up with, and with abandonment; shit that I experienced as a kid, in enough doses and/or with enough intensity, that they left marks. They left scars. As I’ve said, we all have scars. Both inside and out. But do I let my scars define me? If, for example, I had a big scar on my body, would I let it define my physical appearance? Would I experience myself as a scar with a body around it, or would I experience myself as a body with a scar on it?
           It’s the same thing with internal scars. There are times when I over-identify with those scars. When I do, I’m coming from fear. I’m coming from inadequacy. I’m coming from pain. From a place where I’m not operating on all cylinders. How quickly do I catch myself when I’m there, and how do I get out of it? Sometimes I’m very good at that. Sometimes I'm not.
           Support networks are very important. If we have people in our lives who know these dark places in us, we can look to them to help dig us out of those trenches. One of the worst aspects of being in a place like that is the loneliness and isolation we feel. We feel like, not only are we the only fucked up person on the planet, but that we are the most fucked up person on the planet. At least that’s where I go when it’s really bad. And let me tell you, it's a shitty place to be.
           But I have people in my life I can turn to when I’m there. But I don’t always do that. I don’t always reach out. Sometimes I keep it all inside, mind fuck it to death, and make it worse. Why the fuck would I do something like that? Part of it is shame. I’ve attached a lot of shame to feeling like that, so the last thing I want to do is cop to it, even to somebody I love, somebody who I know isn’t going to judge me. I have to be on top of that. Keeping all that shit inside is an old habit, and a bad one.
           Writing about it, and posting it for anybody on the planet to see, really helps me though. It doesn’t feel so bad, or so heavy, when I share it. Posting is one way I share. Talking to people close to me is another way. I encourage you to find your ways. There’s a saying that goes “Your mind can be like a bad neighborhood. Don’t go there alone.”.
           Right On.

    ©2015 Clint Piatelli, MuscleHeart LLC, and Red F Publishing. All rights reserved. 

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