My dearest, Fear,
You and I have been so close, so intimate. You have always been there to warn me and shield me from Pain. Your faithfulness is unrivaled.
It was Pain that threw me into your arms. When the kids made fun of my ears, Pain whispered, “You’re ugly.” But you, my dearest, Fear, you were there with your wise answers, ”Hide your ears. Do your best to fit in and never stand out from the crowd.”
You taught me to fight Pain by pretending I hadn’t been hurt, to laugh when they laughed, to join in the ridicule of my features. You whispered reminders to me every time I looked in the mirror, to keep my hair long, to wear a hat. Again, faithful every moment.
When I presented my creations of beauty with pride to my parents, Pain was there again to squash me and dim my joy. But, my precious Fear, came to my rescue again. “Keep it a secret,” you said. “Don’t tell anyone how important it is to you.” That was your wise advice, teaching me how to avoid the barbs of Pain.
Year after year, each time Pain attacked, you taught me how to retreat, to hide, to pretend it didn’t hurt. You told me it was worth the sacrifice of my joy. You built walls of protection and defense. You would protect me from Pain. I must stay safe and keep creations and my joy hidden behind your walls.
But I loved the beauty of my creations. They brought me the light of joy, even behind your tall walls! I wanted to share them with others. I wanted to share the beauty and increase the brilliance of joy. But each time I talked to you about removing the wall and sharing my creations, you were insistent that I must not. “Pain will be there waiting for you,” you warned me; and I knew you were right.
Here is my confession, my dearest, Fear. I ignored your warnings. When you weren’t watching, I took one of my creations from behind the wall. And I shared my creation with one person. I was careful and secret about it, hoping Pain wouldn’t find me. And you know what, Fear? Pain didn’t show up! Instead, my creation brought a flood of joy! Joy to them and joy to me. It was wonderful!
I continued this, Fear, this deception, behind your back. And yes, eventually Pain did show up and attack. But I discovered something else. Pain isn’t near as big and scary as it was when I was little. I’m a grownup now. I can handle Pain, all on my own.
Another confession. The other night, I decided to go out on my own again (without you) and I did what you told me never to do. I put my hair up in a ponytail. I looked in the mirror before I went out. My ears still stick out like they always have, but you know what? I stuck a sprig of joy behind my ear and it didn’t matter anymore.
So it’s over Fear. I just don’t need you anymore.
With a little joy, I can handle Pain all on my own.
No longer yours,
Disclaimer: These are not my own personal examples of childhood pain. My parents always celebrated my creativity. Thanks, Mom & Dad.