"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do." ~Eleanor Roosevelt
I'll let you in on a little secret -- I'm petrified.
I think that sometimes people look at me, and what I've been through, and figure that I must be stronger and braver than I really am. I also think that people look at how I have moved forward with my life and assume that things are now "easy" for me -- I am now happy, so everything must be all better. None of this is really true -- not only have I never felt strong, nor brave, nor particularly good at dealing with hardship, but it's not always all better either. No, I just keep chugging along because that is all there really is to do. Sure, life has gotten easier, and I am a whole lot happier, but this doesn't mean that I am (or ever will be) completely ok. I don't know if anyone who has not been through this can really understand what I am getting at, but I don't really ever think there will be a moment where what I have been through will no longer affect who it is I have become.
I have been experiencing a bit of panic lately. Not because of the usual wedding jitters one might expect, but because the reality of the whole thing is so much more to me this time around. Sometimes I have to stop myself, because the fear of it all can really get a hold of me until I can start to feel my heart race and breathing becomes difficult. You see, I really am aware of what my wedding vows will mean & I am really, no, I'm hyper-aware that all marriages eventually come to an end. It is hard for me to sort out the emotions involved in the happiness and excitement of a beginning, from the fear and panic of the ending. And sometimes, even if I hold him tight, it feels like no matter how much I want to hold on to my fiance now, that I know there will come a day when he won't be there for me to hold.....
Maybe it is because I have been through it, that I am so afraid to go through it again. Having loved and lost already, also seems to intensify the emotions and love I have now for my fiance, and maybe the fear of losing him is also intensified because of it. I don't know. On one hand, I know it is irrational to worry about losing him to the point of a panic attack, but on the other hand, I don't know how I could be expected not to. I don't really have any answers.
One thing I do know, is that I made a conscious decision to not let the fear hold me back from being able to live again, nor allow it to stop me from finding love again. I made that decision when I first let him walk into my life. And the simple truth is, we don't know, and can't know (and I wouldn't want to know) what the future holds, but I do know that no matter what happens, I will deal with it when it comes. And in the meantime, I will hold my fiance as tight as I can, and together we can have the courage to go forward-- deep into the unknown.