Fear in finding Joy
What is fear? Is it a delusion of our past experiences that we were not sure of? Or is it our psychological views on what we have not accepted, or choose not to accept? I have a lot of fears. But, mostly regrets, regrets of not being successful, of not pushing my inner limits. Then I have the fear of pushing too much. Becoming obsessed with who I was, instead of whom I want to be or where I wanted to go. I have an inner desire to be the person who leads by being an example. The one person who takes that first step and allowes myself to leap, my first step needs to be just that first step and then... just leap.
While I was in basic training, I did just that. I took that first step and leaped in almost every opportunity I had. As were going through the tough course at Fort Jackson, I heard fear of others. I was so driven to hide my fear and jump. A deep breath, a tight grasp on the ropes and one step in front of the other, I accomplished it. The first female through, to what seemed impossible. Shortly after others followed, they swallowed their fear and began their first step.
That was the beginning, one experience after another, one success after another. My whole military career was based off of that. Fear was still present it was just muted from the overall achievements, successes I have encountered, I feel like it was shortly lived. After leaving the military I learned that fear stepped into where my success lived.
My marriage, an illusion of what I believed was a happy bliss was filled with lies and heart break. I took a young man’s life who I saw so much potential, someone courageous.
There was this one time where he was in a field exercise. He called, we spoke of him being cold and tired, we discussed the fact that the Army always changed schedules. So later that night, my twin sister and I went and bought everything in the small gas station. which was located down the street from where I lived. I packed up my car, with a sleeping infant in the back seat and we drove for 45 minutes. I sent a simple text telling him to look on the dirt driveway of the range. Slowly the tent canvas door open and out walked a meek and frozen soldier. With a smile, I said, “I bring gifts”, and held up two large bags of food, and foot and hand warmers. A smile sparked his face as he walked across the driveway.
I knew he had a soften heart. As I slowly drove away that night I had hope that our future would be long and steady. As our relationship developed I learned more and more about him. His past, his future goals, and his fears, then slowly his fears became my fears. I didn't see what my responsibilities were, or are. I became we, I was lost in hidden lies, mental abuse of never being good enough, the huge struggle with money and control. (he wanted it all.)
Then our relationship became more of a demand something he expected. I was at my breaking point and I left him. I knew that he was not what I wanted. With constant reminders of never meeting my potential, hidden backlashes of just being a "soldier’s wife", But, I was a soldier too, everyone forgot that. I was never good enough to be me. I was never looked at as a soldier, as a mother, or as a human. I was just someone who was there with a bag of goodies and hand warmers on a cold dark night.
I had no regrets that night, I packed up my belongings; I knew that in my heart he was just not for me. My fear came later that my strengths wouldn't exist. When he returned home from yet another field exercise, and he saw that I had moved out, I feared that I would not have the strength to say no. I was afraid that I wouldn't see the man who was standing in front of me however I would see the man who had potential. The young man whom I had always seen. True to it be, I let down my guard and I took him back.
My freedom was short lived, at night I laid staring into the darkness hoping, and praying things were going to be different. They became different, very different. I wasn't his partner; I was someone he was ashamed of. I would boast about all of his achievements, and I slowly stopped existing. He wouldn't introduce me to his friends, I was the one that would extend my hand, giving my own introduction. After living in his shadows I became comfortable living in fear of even existing.
So comfortable that I allowed a wedding to happen that his mother planned, I didn't even get to pick out my dress or the flowers. It was a wedding to please his mom. He never purposed to me. I had always wanted to tell my children the night I was purposed to. A story that would just be ours. My wedding ring was a cheap choice that was made hours before our wedding. He made a promise to make it up, a promise that hasn’t happened.
So where is my fear now? It stood across from me as I said my wedding vows. It laid next to me in my bed. It haunts me in my filing cabinet from the letters that he and his father wrote to have me discharged from the military so that I could stay home and get harassed, yelled at and blamed. My fear is in the reflection of my family that I didn't have the chance to create. These choices are unremarkable the best events that happened in my life. But, my freedom of making the choices were not mine.
My now husband looked me in the eyes everyday and lied to me. At times I was confused and at times I could comprehend. I was pregnant with a beautiful little girl. How, could this happen? I was taking birth-control I couldn’t understand. Shortly after the wedding, my twin sister was cleaning his car out and found a large handful of small colorful pills in the side panel of his door. She brought them in and showed me. They were my birth-control pills.
Early in the morning he would wake up and would take that daily dose of my pill and would rush off to morning phyaical training. I would wake shortly after him and get ready, rushing out the door I would grab my pill dispenser to find out that I had already taken that morning's pill. Long and behold the pregnancy. The night I left him was the night I found out I was pregnant. I didn't tell him, I didn't tell him out of fear. Fear that my gut feelings were right.
He was not present of the pregnancy he wanted. 30 weeks in I fell down some stairs and had the fear of losing our child. I was hospitalized, and a red cross message was sent to him. My Chaplin showed up with hurt, as we discussed his recent behaviors. I was told that he chose to stay sitting 8 hours a day cleaning a weapon then being present for the wellbeing of his new bride and child to be. That night fear crept in hard and deeper than before. I had just settled in for second best.
This is where fear started to reflect in the mirror. I lost myself to fear. Now I am finding joy, joy without fear.