This is not a story of triumph. This is one of the stories they rarely tell but are so common and necessary on the road to healing.
I’ve spoken about my anxiety on here before, how it chokes and paralyzes me and prevents me from living my best life at the worst times. This is one of those times.
Almost 6 months ago I planned, with a friend, to go to a music festival in New York. We bought passes, booked a flight and found an AirBnB. As it got closer to the date instead of being excited about seeing Solange, Frank Ocean, and Glass Animals, I was wracked with fear. I spent the nights before talking myself off the edge so that I could sleep for a few minutes. My stomach was constantly tied in knots thinking of what could go wrong on the flight or on the ground. At work and around people, I seemed fine. I mean, I’m generally a bit neurotic so fine for me isn’t necessarily fine for everyone else. At home, alone, I ached for someone to hold me and tell me everything would be OK. I shook myself to sleep worried death was awaiting me on the tarmac. I drove my parents crazy telling the same stories over and over about how alone and afraid I felt. And then, the day before the flight, I gave in.
At the last minute, I canceled our flight and booked tickets on the Amtrak to go from Atlanta to New York. I hadn’t done something like this in years. My decision was rash, misguided and rooted in fear. I felt embarrassed, weak, and broken. Years of progress towards peace were shattered in an instant and so was my bank account. Luckily enough, my homegirl had a fear of flying too so she totally understood and was a great sport about taking the train. That didn’t and doesn’t make me feel better. I still feel like I let everyone down, especially myself.
This is what life coaches and positive thinkers don’t tell you. Healing is difficult. It is not a straight line from fear to freedom. I wish it were but it’s not. It’s sunny days filled with hope and dark nights of the soul when you are scared, alone, and forced to figure out who you really are. This process tests your will and mental fortitude when you are in no place to exhibit either.
If you ever for a moment questioned why I write, these moments are it. The times when I can show you my light and my dark and remind you that we all fall short. We all have shit we are trying to work out and work through, some more than others. Though I feel embarrassed and ashamed, I know this was a lesson I needed to learn. This was an experience I needed to have. Not only so I can be better, but so I can teach and inspire others. Healing is difficult, it’s not impossible.