Updated: Feb 4, 2021
I thought that my biggest fears when I moved out of my married life into my single one was the fear of safety. I realized that it was not about locking the door or carrying pepper spray when I went out at night. Some of the most fearful moments I have are making the big decisions I once deferred to the “man” of the house. So, this week when faced with challenges of not knowing the answers, I was paralyzed in fear of not knowing what to do next.
Feeling incapable of making a decision because the elements that encompass it all are daunting and overwhelm my thought process, leading me to paralysis. That paralyzation feeds into questioning my own assessment, intuition and knowledge in the moment.
I moved into the familiar, and phoned a male friend, who could calmly assess and guide my thinking. As I got off the phone, the disappointment in myself grew and fed into a feeling of dependency on someone else. Calling him was a sign of my failure and inability to address something when I needed to. Why couldn’t I solve this problem myself?
Fear is the root of blame in most circumstances. I was fearful of the unknown and unfamiliar. I questioned my own intelligence because I wasn’t an expert. The truth, provided as a small reassurance by my friend, was that I don’t know what I don’t know. If what I am approaching is not a problem I dealt with before, it’s new and requires me to go outside my comfort zone while also giving myself grace to falter along the way.
Granted, not knowing enough about car maintenance has now left me in a bind and gave me one those hard lessons in life. But I didn’t know. As a married woman, I placed my faith and control into someone else’s hands to relieve myself of one more responsibility. In my journey of empowerment and reclaiming my life to be what I want it to be, I have to embrace that truth. I don’t know about fixing or buying cars, being handy with tools, filing my taxes by myself, and sometimes how to raise my boys into men. There are gaps in my education of taking care of life on my own.
The good thing is, those gaps can be filled with steps. If fear stems from not knowing, I can learn and take note of this moment to know what to do better in the next. Fear comes from perceived weakness. Leveraging my strengths empowers me. What I do know is how to strategically tackle a problem. I know how to find sources of knowledge through individuals or online. I know how to control my emotional response from anxious to calm.
I am now in the next phase of the car drama, buying a new one. The moment the tow truck driver shared this nugget of reality, it took me right back to that fearful state of paralysis. However, this time I had the power to wake myself up and am ready to put into action steps to solve the problem. I still have much to learn about things I passed on to my husband’s charge, but now I also recognize the tools and steps I possess on my own that allow me to approach those head-on without losing my feeling of control and sense of empowerment.