I used to be afraid. Fearful of pretty much everything. Failing a test. Losing friends. The destruction of the ozone layer. Dying. I was afraid of whatever was coming next because it was unknown. Maybe the next moment would bring with it pure joy, but maybe it would bring me pain. And so I was always afraid.
The anticipation of change could scare me like nothing else. Change was beyond my control and so I feared it. I also resisted it with every fiber in my body. Of coarse that never ends well.
Over time I have learnt to be less afraid. Of change. Of the unknown. Of things that may or may not hurt me. Of those moments you didn't see coming that change everything. Of life.
I reached a good equilibrium where I could think rationally about change and acknowledge the good and bad. I began to believe that I could handle whatever life brings me. I began to trust others and myself. I relaxed. I stopped holding my breath and waiting for the moment when things would begin to tip unexpectedly and irrevocably towards the bad.
Then I had children. At first I didn't feel it. My bliss, combined with exhaustion, stopped me from being fearful. But as my love and attachment deepened my fear reappeared. Because I would do anything to keep them safe and free from hurt. And I know I can't.
The fear prompts me to try to keep them safe. I watch them closely as they learn to navigate the stairs. I am close by as the boy swims in the wading pool and my eyes never leave the girl as she swims. I have rules about the park. I talk to her about strangers. I am careful about who I leave them with. I try to teach them that they have worth and value and can do anything so they won't believe the lies others might tell them.
I know there are going to be moments beyond my control. They will get hurt. People will hurt them. I will hurt them, however unintentional. My fear for them won't keep them safe. I will need to let them go and explore the world so they can make it their own. I need them to learn to live with their own fears and to believe that they can move past them.
Just like I do. Every day.