Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fear

Fear is a natural part of the human existence.

Fear tells you to be afraid of things that could harm your well-being, be they internal or external stimuli.  Some fears trigger your sympathetic nervous system, preparing you to fight or to take flight. Other fears can be more insidious.

I have an insidious fear.

I am afraid of becoming unhealthy and overweight again.

Like most fears, it's one that's been learned from a hard lesson.  From about age 16 to age 24, moments of true unfettered happiness were few and far between for me.  My health cast a long shadow over almost everything I did.  I felt as though I lived under a rain cloud, that on the best of days merely shrouded me from the sun, allowing the occasional ray of sunlight to peek through. Perhaps I was depressed, though never clinically diagnosed.  I had no sense of self-worth, nothing I did felt like it was enough.  At my lowest of lows, I would always design grandiose plans about how I would eat or how I would exercise and how losing weight would fix everything.

These plans always failed.  They were always missing one key element.

I remember seeing the photograph that triggered the final realization of what the missing element from my plans had always been.  It was a simple element, but easy to overlook because I wanted to be thin so desperately. Every single one of my previous plans had failed because they lacked a base; they piled too many bricks on top of a shaky and unstable foundation.

I took the time and built the base I needed, and I've built almost a years worth of health and fitness on top of it.  Yet, I'm still afraid that some day in the future, near or distant, that I'll slip back into that place of unhappiness.

I believe, however, that you can take the measure of an individual by their response to their fears. Allowing your fear to cripple you and prevent you from partaking in something enjoyable is no way to live life. I will have to walk a finely tempered line between fear and living. I will not allow a piece of cake to make me feel guilty.  I will not allow missing a workout to make me feel guilty. This is life and sometimes goose crap happens.