My Night

Most of my decisions are ruled by fear.  Who am I kidding.  Most of my thoughts are ruled by fear.  At any given moment at least 3 worst case scenarios are running through my head.  I tell myself that is is so I will know how to react if those things ever happened.  That by some miracle, I wouldn't be the one frozen in fear when the things in me head actually go down.  I just noticed I said "when" not "if".  very telling.
There is a lake I have to drive over every time I go south of Denton.  I always stay in the far left lane so my car is as far from the water as possible, with one hand on my life hammer (thanks Matt), while planning out how many steps it would take to get me and the girls out of the car. I do this every time.  Whenever I hear someone behind me I look around for anything I could use as a weapon.  I always check the back seat before I get in.  I try to not go out alone after dark.
Sometimes my fear planning goes to far.  It's really hard to stop my brain once it starts down a certain scenario.  It's my very own horror movie.  I think of what I would do if someone hurt me or my kids.  This of course leads me to how I would feel knowing they had been hurt.  Everyone who knows me knows I constantly say I don't like how emotions make me feel.  I have no fantasy filter.  If I see it or think it it feels like it really happened.  So for that sick moment I think my child has been molested, cut, stabbed, beaten or kidnapped.  I try desperately to stop the scenario from playing out.  It is kind of like trying to look at a word and not read it.  Nearly impossible.  So I quickly try and fill it with another "word".  The damage has already been done though.  I can't get it out.  I just have to keep reminding myself that it didn't really happen.  We are all fine.  We are all fine.  Right?
At first I thought this was a mommy brain thing I had developed along with forgetting how to add fractions.  But when I thought about it I realized I have always done it.  The first time I can really remember I was probably 6 or 7.  My mom used to walk around our neighborhood to exercise.  It would be light when she started but I knew she wouldn't get back before the sunset.  That was the magical evil hour for me even then.  That is when the bad people ran wild.  The people with no parents or home.  That only lived to torture us good people.  You know the type.  I was sure they would take my mother.  They would wait for her in that wooded patch of the neighborhood and drag her into the darkness and we would never see her again.  I would lay on the couch trying to tell myself these people weren't real.  That there were lots of our good neighbors out in their yards and they would see her.  I always told myself that if someone else could see you then you were safe.  no one would take you then.  It was the only way to talk myself down.  Every time she walked I would wait there on the couch until she got home.  A tiny nervous wreck.  I am still a nervous wreck.  Just not so tiny.
I never cared for forests.  I think it was brought on by watching "The Watcher in The Woods"  when I was a kid.  Just the intro pushed me over the edge.  I knew that whatever was watching them was no good.  It wasn't real though.  I know that. 
In college I had a friend who was beaten, raped, stabbed and left for dead in woods by a friend of a friend she had given "a ride home".  This only solidified my fears.  They would take you into the woods.  It could really happen.  It wasn't just in my head or just in movies.  Bad things do happen to good people.
My friend however, wasn't afraid.  My nightmare had happened to her.  She had a permanent reminder in her outward scars, nerve damage, and memories.  It was real for her.  But she pushed on.  She refused to let her fear cripple her anymore then that terrible man already had.  She didn't want to let him win.  She participated in several "take back the night" walks on campus.  I was too afraid.  It was the night and they were waiting.  She marched on, not allowing them to "take her night" as she would say.  She inspires me.  Granted it didn't help with my overactive imagination or my desire to "plan" but it let me know that if my plans didn't work it wouldn't be the end.  But it could be if I let it.  That I had to do my best to make the best of what I had.  Whatever that might be.  So here I am.  Taking back my night.


Matthew said...

Hooray for trying to take back the night. I hope you will consider meditation as part of your strategy. If you would like any tips on what types might work best for you, I would be happy to help.

Terra- Give me a Tail Wind said...

I suggest meditation and peanut butter:) (yeah, I"m reading your posts backwards)

When I'm out running I think about what would happen if someone jumped me...It's one reason I would take Scottie (he ws just so scary, right?) with me when I ran. I figured he would at least let me know if anyone came near so I could run away or turn and fight. I took a self defense class and the officer asked what we should do if the attacker stood in front of our car and wouldn't move. I said I would run them over...and then call them an ambulance. I have some empathy. She seemed a bit surprised. I always check under my car (sorry for adding to your pre-drive list) as well as in the back. If I dont' think I got a good enough look I turn the dome light on.

Brittany H. said...

I read this post soon after you wrote it and thought that I totally do the same thing--maybe not quite as extreme, but I go through scenarios all the time and feel the heartache of the imagined aftermath. Anyway...I really have started getting such anxiety when I am driving all the kids over a bridge because I know it would be near impossible to save everyone. I guess I didn't realize how bad I had gotten about it until last week when I was driving up to the hospital (to switch shifts with Kevin) and I drove over the bridge and felt the biggest relief. I had no idea why I felt so calm and then realized it was because I was alone and if something happened I only had to save myself... I really hope this isn't taking years off our lives as they say...

Chernobyl said...

For me it's gas stations (how do I get everyone out if my car explodes?) and overpasses (if it collapses and we fall, how many cars will slam into us after we smash into the ground? Go, car in front of me, GO!) It's a sickness. I try to block out the ones about the girls. I can't handle those.