I hadn't planned on doing a second post for the Love Not Fear flashblog but this concept wouldn't get out of my head so here it is.
Long time readers and friends (and probably people who don't like me too) will know that I used to be a gymnast, that I play around on high powered trampolines when I can, that I have jumped off a cliff into freezing cold water (and can't wait to do it again), that I climb rocks, and possibly that jumping out of a plane and similar things are my entire bucket list.
They may also know that because of medical conditions, the risk of losing awareness and control are greater for me, and also that the risks that come with injury are greater for me.
What people tend to assume from this is that I don't feel fear. And that? Is not true. When I was a gymnast, I felt afraid of new skills. There are things I could do that I was apprehensive of every single time. Climbing challenging walls has moments of apprehension no matter how many times I climb the route and no matter how much I trust the person at the bottom. Jumping into Crater Lake? Was scary every single time. Skydiving terrifies me.
But I can choose to turn into that fear. I can choose to run away from it or run with it. I can fight it or I can embrace it.
Embracing the fear? It's odd. There's this thing that happens when you say "This scares me but I am opening up to new ways of looking at it. I am doing it anyway." I can run my Litany Against Fear and do the thing anyway, and find something besides terror, besides the mind-killer.
I can embrace the fear and find joy. I can see the fear for what it is and yet also find joy, find love. I can be afraid without acting fearful. Fearfulness turns defensive turns angry. I know this because there are fears that cannot be embraced, that are necessary, with little risk of reward at the end.
Many, though, aren't. And I will turn to those fears, like I spent years doing in the gym, like I do to jump off high things, like I do to climb, to try new things, to meet new people, to advocate even. To find love. To promote love.
If you have an Autistic family member, I encourage you, too, to look down the cliff at the cold lake below, or at the balance beam that is just 4" wide, or at the trampoline that can throw you a story high, or out of the plane. Whichever metaphor works for you. I encourage you to look. And then I encourage you to run with your fear. And jump. Or climb. Embrace it.
And by not letting fear defeat you, you can find joy and you can find love. It is worth it. We are worth it. You owe it to your loved one and to yourself to choose love.