By Lisa Mason ©
The creature trapped beneath my skin scurried across my thigh as I tried desperately to grab it with both hands using my fingernails as pinchers. It looked like a flattened, two-inch lizard whose frantic movements seemed to mirror the terror I felt. My panicked mind urged me in loud whispers to cut this thing out of my body as quickly as possible before it buried itself further. I mean how did it get in there and who knew what else could happen? I opened my mouth in a silent scream as blood rushed to my ears and pounded at my temples. My eyeballs strained against each hapless lid, lightheadedness threatened to overwhelm me, and then suddenly, I was awake.
As the adrenaline receded, my erratic heartbeat evened out, and reality slowly unscrambled my foggy thoughts. I realized that I had fallen victim to my subconscious fears which had manifested themselves into a nightmare. For the past several days I had barely slept as I pondered the future, and my dreams, my big dreams. My dreams didn’t scare me. I was petrified instead by the sacrifices I knew I needed to make in order to step in the direction of making those dreams come true. The uncertainty that lay ahead frightened me even more. What if I failed?
I am, and have been for a long time, the anchor in the lives of certain members of my family. These people I love more than I even understand sometimes have depended on me to carefully navigate the blind turns and hairpin bends I’m bound to come across along the highway of life. What if I struck out and missed? Even those who say they’ve got my back and have told me repeatedly to pursue my passion now hesitated. I didn’t exactly have a safety net. The goals I aspire toward were caught in a wrestling match with my fears, and my inner struggle was compounded by the voices in my head reminding me of others who have taken the plunge and made it. I’d been bombarded with images and stories on social media of the unlikely successes, as if the forces, whoever they are, were somehow calling me out. I attempted to reassure myself, at least temporarily, that I’m no coward, just a cautious, logical person – until the next time I closed my eyes and became an unwilling drifter across the dark waves of my anxieties.
But there’s always that one moment of clarity when the proverbial fire gets lit under one’s derriere. It hit me when my plan B looked me square in the eye and bluntly summed up the way it was going to be if I made any sudden moves in a certain direction. Ah, beautiful epiphany. Even as the chasm between what was and what could be yawned menacingly before me, I knew I had to act. So I stood on the edge of now or never, clad only in fierce determination, and leaped. You’ll be happy to know I’ve landed safely on the other side of new beginnings with my sanity intact. I had accepted that I couldn’t just sit there scared, and doing nothing while I tried to figure things out. I had to make the first move. I’m not where I want to be and the journey to my destination will not be without the challenges of many complicated pit stops, unexpected speed bumps, and unpaved roads. Nonetheless, I don’t plan on going backward, only forward.
I understand today what I want others to understand, that is, your fears are only as powerful as you allow them to be. You have to approach your dreams with a focus on excellence and always be prepared to work harder than everyone else. You have to know that while you may lose occasionally, or fall short of your target, or often stand alone, if your drive matches your desire you can strike gold. Do not allow your fears to consume you; look beyond them, and take control of your destiny.