I’ve Been Afraid of Changing

Anxiety has become an unwelcome chore on my heart’s to-do list. On the cusp of potential change, possibly change for the better, I find myself holding onto what I know until my knuckles are clenched white and nails have left a scarlet trail of indentations in my palms. Each morning, a new day, I awaken having forgotten the worry that plagues my nights, keeping me up like an undesired visitor. My dog barks and I jump out of my skin. My cat scatters across the floor, chasing her own shadow, and I react as though surviving the bombing of London during WWII. And as I vow to write away this plague of fear, I get distracted by my lack of distractions from my one constant fear: a future of uncertainty.

For whatever reason, perhaps a cocoon of safety, my teens and early twenties were full of adventure and constantly unpredictable. I went with my heart, not anchored by terror but soaring from a seductive mix of restlessness and excitement. I chose the path of dreams, instilled in me when I was eight or nine and looking to the night skies and waiting for a star to fall so I could wish on it for a better life; for something that called me away from all that was familiar. But with an adult life full of uncertainties of the next gig or opportunity or disappointment, I firmly invested my gratitude in what little I had. I spent ten years in tiny dwellings, filled with my energy and secret hopes and dreams, allowing me to feel safely contained and able to nurture myself. It never took much for the candle to stay aglow. I cried over lost lovers and friends, I wrote my musical babies looking out onto the courtyard from the corner of my tiny room and processed life.

With the possibility of leaving this little apartment that has ushered me through my early adulthood, I feel like I’m not just leaving a little attic-sized apartment; an almost afterthought atop a spacious townhouse. I feel as though I’m abandoning my precious vessel that has navigated me through each day of gratitude for it’s protection. Expansion, no matter how healthy, and abundance, no matter how wonderful, is frightening to the core. I attended the “You Can Do It Ignite” conference in New York a few weeks ago, hosted by Hayhouse and Wayne Dyer. The conference covered two entire days, with one unique speaker after another talking about abundance and manifesting your dreams and the often hard paths in life that school us and force us to grow. The overwhelming consensus was in order to live your fullest life, you must make strides towards whatever you desire and fear the most. And one of the speakers, Mastin Kipp, spoke of how his greatest growth in life occurred when he was bunkered down in a tiny guesthouse, where his bed nearly touched the four walls, and he reconstructed his life. 

Tonight, past midnight, on my dark, almost silent street, I looked across Broadway and watched the moon glow brightly in a clear sky while I walked my dog. As we approached a neighboring building to mine, two men in suits were carrying a stretcher and crossed our path. We waited for them before we could continue and I noticed an inconspicuous hearse, this  black, boxy SUV, only identifiable as such from the placard in the window that read “Emergency Funeral Services.” I rounded the block and found myself returning to the hearse, for some un-Godly reason, compelled to watch the body be ushered away. I peered into lobby of the building, where a cluster of family members had gathered and were waiting just the same. I wondered about my own mortality and the day when I too will be ushered away. And this thought of me perishing, if only for an instant, was a stopper on the overflowing bottle of fear that I have become. Much like Laura Nyro at 19, hammering away at the piano with fiery passion, I do not fear my own death. Yet I have not found the remedy for a fear of life’s tide of change and growth. And only with the scribbling of words, the creative explosion of lyrics, and blogs such as these, am I reminded that I have the blessing of writing as the best coping mechanism this life has to offer me.