The google image of the Courtney Cambell Causeway showed an aerial view. Ten miles long from Tampa right through the city of Clearwater over the Gulf of Mexico. The earth, some clouds, and a long metal blade between the two.
It was never my choice, this irrational fear I have of heights, namely bridges. A mixture of genetics, my mother’s panic and urgent huddle to the floorboard every time she saw guardrails that might even suggest a dam, and two varsity cheerleaders from high school, Melinda and Jessica, who casually confided that they rolled the windows down whenever they drove over the Lake Murray Dam in Columbia “so it will be easier to get out if I crash into the water” left an impressionable scar on my junior varsity psyche. Cool girls, the ones I desperately wanted to be, and my mother, my protector from all things scary in the world.
In my twenty nine years, not only have I successfully avoided most theme parks and islands, I’ve also managed to avoid getting blood drawn from my arm, choosing instead to have a butterfly needle intentionally inserted into one of the many blue veins of my hand. Luckily my alabaster skin displays each of them like the tiny veins in a leaf. Thin as paper. An easy bull’s eye.
Nothing happened to create this irrational fear. No complex created that should steer me away from letting anyone freely touch that part of my arm (or the center of my throat for that matter). It’s a simple “thing” that one possesses. An illogical, unreasonable trepidation created by one’s own crazy, ridiculous mind. More simply known as bullshit I created to give myself the willies.
Within the last two weeks I’m proud to admit that I conquered both of these fears. I crossed that bridge in Florida, white knuckling the steering wheel in the dark the entire three hours after I crossed the state line, never knowing what was land and what was water, the salty location of my immediate death. I rested my arm on that table, feeling the slightest pinch while blood trickled out of me into a clear, thin tube. It was odd to have a part of me outside of myself yet I could still tangibly see. The alien wasn’t so scary. Even though it normally stayed in me, pumping up and down, keeping me safe from outside harm, it appeared to be just fine out there on its own. Sitting on a fake wooden counter. Something of mine that was no longer necessary to be caged in my body. Sort of like finally seeing the monster named Fear that sometimes resides by my ear. It whispers lies like, “You should be passed out by now.”
Hearing is thought to be the last sense that leaves the body. Perhaps because it’s the last time those little incandescent sensations that live nearby like Fear or Hope or Love will ever speak to your flesh in its cognitive state. A farewell. An anticipation. A fear.
Those monsters weren’t as big as I made them out to be. After I faced them bravely by the grace of God, and because I absolutely had to, I realized the world still spun around. People still walked on land whiles others floated in oceans. People still injected needles full of drugs into their bloodstream while others extracted A, B, and O from their body to save someone else.
But there’s another fear that has happened. One that causes me to scrunch my face every time someone uses the word “fear” to describe it at all.
I promise I don’t get in heated social media debates, at least not about anything important (I swear social media is nothing more than a small town). But it’s a new year. I’m crossing bridges, giving blood, and mixing words with emojis about presidents’ wives.
My blog has never been a platform for a political tirade so I won’t start one now. Let me state one thing: No matter who is a president, they will have my respect. But only one King will have my heart. And that’s what I will try to lead with.
In the middle of millions of opinions, lies, truths, and media, I notice commonalities. Frustration. Passion. Anger. Pride. Thrill. Fear.
I too am frustrated. I too have passion for my beliefs. I too am angry. I too am proud. I too am thrilled. And I too have fear.
Fear that I am blinded by singular thoughts. That that which frustrates me about others also lives somewhere deep inside of me but I cannot cast a light on it. I fear my opinions make me immature or naive. I fear what will happen if we all feed the anxiety that lives within us by lashing out at each other. I fear a friendly discourse will eventually ruin a relationship. But most of all, I fear who I can become without Jesus. I’m haunted by that reminder.