I’ve always been fearful.
As far back as I remember I was worried about this and worried about that. I could never quite breathe easy, I could never quite let my shoulders down. Looking back even as a child I felt I was on guard, ready at any moment to go into battle. The word we use for it today is “anxiety,” but back in those days I didn’t even know what the word meant.
The fear settled in when I was a child, expressed in severe panic attacks and crippling stomach pain. It would feel like someone had poured acid in my stomach but no matter how many doctors I saw, each of them let my family know that there was “absolutely nothing wrong with me.”
And so it became the norm, panic attacks, worry, shortness of breath, stomach pain. Sometimes I would go without it for a few weeks, sometimes a few months, but I always knew it was going to return.
Through this time I learned a technique that I call my “survival technique” and this was to disconnect. I could disconnect from my body, disconnect from my feelings, disconnect from a conversation. I could tune in and tune out exactly as I pleased and no one knew it but me. This disconnection was how I kept myself organized, it was how I kept my grades up, it was how I showed the world what a perfect human being I was. Only…I wasn’t.
The cracks below the surface were ready to break at any moment.
The fear was so strong, it had taken a dictatorship role in my life. And after years of pretending, I finally admitted that something was wrong and entered a therapists office.
Here was where the tears came flooding out. Years of unexpressed emotions laid out at the therapists feet. I talked and talked and discovered and uncovered things about myself I didn’t even know I had hidden. Like the fact that I was still angry about my parent’s divorce, and how I hated their fighting, and that I really didn’t know who I was, I was just existing.
This was the beginning of my awakening. The beginning of a journey that would take me through the ups and the downs, the extreme highs and the extreme lows, to find my place here on the ground. Here on Earth. The Divine Mother Earth that I had forgotten about.
You see, when I was a child, I had a love for the Earth that was overwhelming. I would sit in my favorite tree, perched on its smooth branches and I would sing with the birds. It was here that there was no fear. Here that there was no pain. I was comforted by the soothing sounds of nature, I was cradled by the big, strong trees.
I grew up surrounded by real nature, the kind you only see on TV.
This was the real wilds of Africa. The home of the lion, the giraffe, and the wilder-beast. Here in Kenya I learned what it was to be a human, I saw the animals, plants, trees, stars, and I realized my connection to all of them. I appreciated my place. I appreciated the gifts of this earth. It could not have been a more perfect backdrop to my coming of age.
But as I got older, I forgot this connection. Instead I focused on the disconnected. I delved into what it meant to be a girl by society’s terms. I tried to be the perfect person, the perfect daughter, the perfect student, the perfect friend, the perfect girlfriend, and when it came down to knowing who I was, I had no answers. I just knew what it meant to be fearful and scared. I allowed my fear to be stronger than my faith.
The funny thing about disconnection is, it doesn’t work in the long run. You can only disconnect for so long before your emotions creep out. They can creep out in panic attacks, or emotional breakdowns, or endlessly streaming tears. They can creep out in addictions, in obsessions, in toxins, and in disease. Your emotions will come out, whether you want them to or not.
Dis-Ease and Anxiety
For me holding my emotions in meant they would come out (or release from my body) in the form of panic attacks. When I still didn’t listen, they came out in disease.
The trifecta, that’s what I call it. My diseases came in threes. I was first diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Sydrome, then Endometriosis, then Cervical Dysplasia. Back to back to back. It came at me like a snowball turning into an avalanche. And soon I was sick, very sick, surgery sick.
Looking back I am so thankful for this pain. I am so thankful for this wake up call.
I really don’t know where I would have been without these DIS-EASES. I would probably be on the exact same path of fear. But when your body says, “no more,” you have to listen. You don’t have a choice.
And so I began on a new path. I started doing yoga, learning about Reiki and energy healing, consulting a Chinese herbalist, and writing. The writing was the truest expression of my soul. It led me to create this blog, Sookton’s Space. Writing led me to share my truth and allow people to see my imperfections – something I had never done before.
Writing afforded me the opportunity to go to a Hay House Writer’s Conference and learn from the masters about what it takes to write and publish a book. I came home from that conference with a new found determination and I wrote my book and my book proposal in under five months.
The book I wrote was about FEAR.
It could not have been a more perfect divine intervention, because writing a book about fear allowed me to confront the fear even more. It showed me how to move through the fear and come out stronger on the other side. And above all, it made me realize that fear is such an important part of life. We all have it. We all have struggled with it at some point or another, but without the darkness, how could we ever see the light?
That’s why I am thankful for fear. I am thankful for anxiety and pain and panic attacks. For insomnia and sleepless nights. For broken words pouring onto a page through painful poetry. I am thankful for ALL of that.
Because it made me who I am today. And honestly, I wouldn’t have changed a thing.