Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Fear is a normal and healthy feeling. Everyone is afraid of something. On a trivial level, I am afraid of monkeys, spiders, and bees. I also have some worries about drowning. Water makes me nervous because I am not a strong swimmer. I wouldn't call it a real fear, but I am afraid enough of it to make sure and always remember that water is in control, I'm not. Everyone knows the story of why I am afraid of monkeys, and that is a legit, lifelong fear. Hate monkeys. So much. On a bit deeper scale, I am also scared of embracing someone for just who they are, only to have it backfire in my face when I learn that they are someone not to be trusted. But I think, as I said, that fear is normal. You are scared of things based on past experiences. I am scared of monkeys because of a traumatic zoo experience as a child. I am afraid of bees because one stung me once and, well, it hurt like a bitch. And I am afraid of giving more than I am getting, because that's how a lot of my relationships have gone. None of this is anything but regular; fear stems from experience, it is part of who we are. 

Prompt: Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety?

Despite having had a boyfriend who controlled me with the threat of physical harm, for the most part, our fights didn't escalate to that. I knew when to shut up and when to walk away, and on a few occasions, when to lock myself in a bedroom. But there was one time in my relationship that I do recall being actually afraid that I was going to be hurt. 

It was before we bought our house, so it was not too far into our relationship. Kalib, Rylie and I were at home, and for whatever reason, Kalib and I were arguing about something. Probably because he was an ass hole and we were always arguing about something. Kalib was sitting on the couch in the living room, and I was in the kitchen, and we were bickering. Rylie was only four at the time, and she was running around the apartment playing. Probably trying to get her dad to pay attention to her. I feel like this was around Christmas time, so we were most likely arguing about me *gasp* wanting to spend time with my family...oh, the horror! Anyway, so I don't remember a lot of the specifics, but what I do remember is that I walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room, and was headed down the hallway, and Kalib threw the lid to a Tupperware bowl at me. Now, I don't know if any of you have ever been hit in the face with a hard plastic lid, but you'd think it wouldn't hurt that bad. Wrong. When a plastic Tupperware lid hits you in the face, it hurts. Bad. It makes your eyes sting and your cheek hurt, and then it gives you a black eye. And then the scariest part is having to think of a way to explian that. But that's not a fear of physical safety, that's a fear of getting caught by someone who won't let it go that you're showing up to things with a black eye.

What I remember the most about this experience was feeling guilty, as though I had somehow brought this on myself or given myself the shiner. I remember very specifically Kalib saying that he would kick me out if the red mark on my cheek became a bruise. And I remember very specifically hiding what did turn into a big bruise, even from him, because at that time I was honestly afraid of what he would do if he saw it.

What the fuck. Even typing this story makes me just shake my head. What a manipulative ass face to have the ability to instill guilt in the person you just hit in the face. And to do all of that in front of Rylie. What a dick.

This day was the most scared I ever was in my relationship. There were other incidents towards the end, most of them circling around Thor or Stacey's weddings, which were bigger blow outs that ended more physically than this, but that's the one that really scared me the most.

In any case, what I have taken away from this moment specifically in my shitty relationship, is that if ever I find myself in any sort of fear from someone new, I am out the door. Immediately. No hesitation. And I know girls say that all the time, but I have really followed through with my red flags and gut instincts in the past two years. I don't put up with shit from people anymore, and the minute something happens or is even said that alarms me, I am done.

Don't fuck with me. I'm stronger than you may think.