Fear will always find you… So you might as well go where you want to.
Fear’s a funny thing. Whether it’s leading us down one path or steering us away from another, fear has an inexplicable ability to drive us. You may, at this very moment, be considering the pursuit of your own wellness… but are you feeling shackled by the “what ifs” where fear resides?
- What if I fail?
- What if I get hurt?
- What if I can’t?
These are fears. Real fears. But there is no journey without fear.
My journey was one of such fear that I almost gave in to never allowing it to take place. What follows is the story of how that journey began:
There was one thought that was perpetually on my mind: One more bite and then I’ll get up. The one bite always turned in to… more than one bite. And I can’t honestly say that the whole “getting up” part of that thought ever came to fruition. But regardless, the thought persisted.
I had stopped purchasing what you might call “real food” a while ago because I couldn’t afford quality at the quantity I had decided I couldn’t live without. And so, you can guess what happened: the weight piled on with a vengeance. And as my weight got the better of me, my world got the worst.
My life consisted of the following:
- Eating a ton of fast food because they were open late and I didn’t have to stand up at any point to get it (thank you, drive-thru).
- General inactivity. I could count on zero hands the number of times I had exerted my body in the last seven months.
- My skin looked awful. It was oily, porous, pale and I fought (or, more accurately, helplessly surrendered to) sickness once every other week.
- Days went by where all I did was sit. Literally, I would sit on the bus to get to class, sit in class, get tired and fall asleep in class, sit on the bus to go get lunch at Wendy’s, sit and eat Wendy’s, ride the elevator up to my room where I would lay down, fall asleep, wake up to order a pizza, eat pizza and then fall asleep watching The Office.
There was one moment that I remember during this part of my life more clearly than any other. Not because of the deliciously non-dairy cheez nachos I was scarfing down. Not because of the self-prescribed sick day #4 because I didn’t have the energy to go to class. And not because of the almost unbearable discomfort my zipper was causing by splicing into my stomach.
I remember it because it was the first time I truly saw myself. The chair I was in was adjacent to the bathroom and at just the right angle, I could see a mirror. On this particular day, I caught my own reflection and my entire body went stiff. I looked at myself. Really, truly looked. I’m not sure why, but my heart decided to start feeling that day… and a million emotions ran into my body as I stared at what I had become.
I was gross.
But more importantly, I was lost. I was unhappy. Disappointed in myself. Alone. Afraid.
The bags under my eyes were no longer a tribute to an unforgettable evening. They were a symbol of sleepless nights and endless tears. My overweight frame didn’t say, “Take that America! I’ll show you for objectifying the female form!” Instead it said, “Take that, Rebecca… And with it, take insomnia, bouts of pneumonia, bad gas, zits, a sore throat, a never-ending crick in the neck, the voice of an old smoker and back pain that feels like a hundred boulders crushing your entire body.”
I didn’t feel trapped in crummy circumstances and a futureless present. I felt trapped in my own useless body. I hated everything that I had done to myself but I was consumed by the cowardly desire to do exactly what got me here in the first place: nothing.
And what was the reason I wanted to do nothing? Fear. Cold, harsh, helpless, unrelenting fear.
The fear of not being in control of the outcome of my efforts. The fear of failing. The fear of looking like the gross chick in the gym. The fear of not finding what I was looking for… of giving in to the desire to be healthy and never seeing the fruits of my labor. All the what-ifs of an unknown weighed on me almost as heavily as the certainties of my present situation.
So I sat in my own pile of leftover Doritos and deliberated over my own fear. Here I was, doing nothing, feeling the fear of doing something.
The fear was powerful. It was angry. It was gnawing and clawing at me in every way I could imagine. But it was already here… and I hadn’t even gotten up. It was present whether I sat or stood, walked or slept, sought health or sank deeper into my La-Z Boy.
And then, there was a glimmer… of –dare I say it- hope. Out of nowhere came the tiniest little “what if… I didn’t fail?” I realized that, no matter how I looked at it… right here and now, I was unhappy, disappointed, alone.
So I had to wonder, what if I got up… and didn’t feel that way?
Getting up, making the effort to be healthy… that could go either way. But staying still and letting fear soil my optimism was destined to keep me shackled to what I already knew I resented. Yes, I was afraid.
But fear had found me whether I stood up or stayed still.
So I stood up.
I felt my heart beat quicken, my fists clench, my chest tighten and my legs shake. I was afraid. But I was up.
I put down my cheez based diarrhea nachos and pulled up my pants. I took one step. Then two.
Ten steps and I was out the door. One hundred steps and I was down the street. One thousand and eighty four steps, and I was around the block.
I let the breeze blow tiny beads of perspiration from my forehead, down to the ground on which I stood so proudly. My chest was no longer tight and my legs felt heavy… but strong.
“I’m doing this,” I thought. “My fear can’t stop me,” I thought. And no, I didn’t walk long that day. But I walked.
And this was the first time in months I felt like I was going somewhere.
Now don’t let my triumphant jaunt around the block fool you, I was not suddenly healthy. I did not miraculously overcome my daunting fear of failure. Months of inactivity and a lifetime of consuming primarily processed junk don’t just go away. I had more pain and fear and sweat than I’ve ever seen in my life.
But that fear didn’t own me. Yes, it was intrusive. It even consumed me at times. But it did not decide how I lived my life.
Had I done nothing that day; had I taken the “easy” way out and let fear dictate my fate, I might very well still be sitting on a La-Z-Boy eating nachos. But instead, I stood up. That was the single greatest triumph I have had on this journey… standing up that first time.
Today, I’m a healthy, 130 pound woman in the best physical and mental shape of my life. Yes, I totally succumb to the desire for nachos and lazy afternoons sometimes, but I trust myself not to dive right back in to binge eating and constant sofa-sleeping. I am where I want to be. And each day that I remain here, I am at peace. I’m still afraid of things like calcium deficiencies and not being in complete control of my body’s metabolism… but I’ll always be afraid of something.
The difference is whether fear overpowers you or empowers you.
- Overpowered, we let fear contain us in the path of our own familiar “niceties,” ignoring the possibilities of what might be nicer.
- Empowered, we acknowledge fear as a part of our existence. We realize that this fear is present whether we stand up or do nothing… so we stand up.
What’s a fear you’ve encountered? Was it overpowering? Or empowering? Please share with us below.
This post was written by former KinetiCore client, Rebecca Reid. Read about her experience with KinetiCore here. If you would like to share or discuss the fears, struggles and triumphs you have faced along your journey to wellness, you are warmly welcomed to contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org