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What I know About Fear – Part One

This post has actually become so gigantic that I’ve decided to separate it into two parts! My goodness, that’s a lot of fear Sarah! True true, but I hope you will find a lot of nuggets in my long-windedness. So here is part one….

I have been thinking a bit about fears this past week in relation to living the life of our dreams. We’ve all heard the question “what would you do if you knew you could not fail?”. I remember trying to answer this question in the past… and I was always wishy-washy. Really, I didn’t even know what I would want to do. That’s a lie. I did know, I’ve always known. I’ve known since I was probably 5 years old. I want to be an artist. I want to make beautiful things and inspire others to do the same. This is me… quite simple. But it has taken a cataclysm in my personal life for me to see it and get true about it.

My own History with Fear
I’ve spent most of my adult life being pretty cloudy about what I want because of fear. It came from the fear that I am not worthy of living my dreams… that I do not deserve to live the life I truly want. And so, whenever asked that question, my answer was always some sort of compromised not-so-bold version of the real answer. Looking back now, I realize that I truly did NOT believe it was possible. And since I didn’t believe that I could have it or that I deserved it, I got in the way of my own voice a lot (and seriously did not even know I was doing it!). I imagine this is what many people struggle with… the believing a thing is possible for us and that we deserve to have it.

In the 3 years I spent with my fiancé, a lot changed about how I see myself and my relationship to fear. We both saw what each other was capable of, and we were always encouraging each other to follow our dreams and be our best selves. In doing so, we both went out of our comfort zones, faced a lot of fears, took a lot of chances and learned a whole lot of new stuff. He got me to shoot guns and go skydiving – and I love both! I got him to take dance lessons, dress up for a cheesy 80’s night concerts and a myriad of other ridiculous things that put him completely out of his comfort zone as a calm, reserved, small town guy. He was the one who bought me my camera, and was my photo assistant to every intimidating photo job I went on. He read every blog post enthusiastically and brainstormed on each art project with me (in fact, quite a few of my 12 month projects from last year were his ideas… including the Reclaimed Window Coffee Table, and the Ukrainian Egg Survival Kit). I played the part of flight student as he practiced hours and hours of lesson plans on everything from the the mechanics of a helicopter to aerodynamics. We each knew the other was capable of achieving our greatest dreams (even if we didn’t always believe it for ourselves) and it showed in how we made space for those dreams to grow.

Replacing Fear with Excitement
With him at my side, I learned to replace the fear of what might go wrong with the excitement of what is possible. That has been a huge shift. I started and successfully completed last year’s 12 months of creativity (which in turn lead to the creation of this blog!), I took a welding class, I started up and organized a wonderful creative group in Dallas – one which is still living on even now that I have moved out of town. None of these things were ever things I’d done before, and they all brought with them fears of their own kind. But what I found as I began to take small steps towards my dreams was that the rewards always greatly outweighed whatever fears I’d had – every time. Hands down.

Facing Fears far Bigger
Losing Drew was like the universe hitting the reset button… only I NEVER asked for a do-over. The life I had was the one I wanted. I’m now faced with years of learning how to live again and a lifetime of grieving his loss. This thought alone… this idea that it will take years to feel even halfway normal again, and that I will cry for him for the rest of my life, has scared the shit out of me. Along with the fear that I will never be able to fall in love with anyone again – that I will always be looking for him. In the first couple of months, I was terrified that I would not even survive this… that I would become some shell of a person that turned bitter and hard because of so much awful in her life. So far, thankfully at least that fear has not come true.

Fear, Passion and Creativity
To attempt to move forward in a way that would make Drew proud and keep me sane… I talk (and write) to everyone I can about what I’m going through, and spend a lot of time nurturing myself – so that I never feel alone and always feel taken care of. I spend as much time as possible living in the present, because living in the past or future is too scary and painful to go into for very long. And I make art. I paint, write, photograph, build, sketch, design, read, and brainstorm. I fill my days with as much creativity as I can. It used to be something fun to do, but now it has become vital. When I am creating or even thinking about creating, I’m able to replace all my fears with excitement again. I’m able to fully feel all my emotions there – both the good and the bad – without the fear.

I now realize that art is to me what flying was to Drew. The first time he flew a helicopter, he wrote that he could not imagine doing anything else with his life. And now I understand that feeling. Art is my lifeblood and the thing I was put on this earth to do. There is something beautiful in being able to experience that level of passion. Now I know – when I am totally lost in creativity – what flying felt like for him. It is like getting to experience a piece of him I never knew before – and maybe even a piece of myself I never knew before, too. This is a gift I am grateful for every day.

How one fear Helped Another
So as I’m writing all this out, I’m realizing that my new set of fears – these much bigger fears – have made all my old fears obsolete for the most part. Comparatively, the old fears about not being worthy and not believing I can live the life I want seem pointless to even be concerned with any longer… particularly when my mindset now is that today is all I have. I know I’m worthy of having the life I want to have, because I am living it every day now instead of waiting and hoping and planning for it. No, it’s not the life I wanted and dreamed of… it’s not the life I planned with him, but in this present moment, with what I have to work with right here, right now, I am living each day uncompromised and I am following my heart. I have made the choices yesterday that put me where I decided I wanted to be today, and I will do that today for tomorrow. The rest of it… is all faith. But I will way this, I 100% believe that living our dreams is possible now… even if I am nowhere close to being a successful artist myself, i know it will happen. and I know that there is more than enough room for all of us to do so.

To be continue…..

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Thanks for the inspiring post. I like the shift you mention before and after you fiance’s death. I’ve noticed that death puts fears in perspective in my life. There’s always, “What would you do if couldn’t fail?” But when the question is, “What would you do if your time was limited to try?” I found that death cuts away a lot of the dead wood–only the productive stuff is left. My priorities shake out and stuff makes sense.

    Death straightens out my priorities so that they don’t follow my fears. After 9/11, after my father died, after my father-in-law died, each time my thinking became clearer because so little was worth being afraid of.

    Good luck moving ahead!

    Saturday, October 6, 2012
    • I love that last thing you said, so little is worth being afraid of. Thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment!

      Monday, October 8, 2012
  2. Your blog is a blessing to this world. I can so so so thoroughly understand every single word you say. Thanks for sharing.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012
    • Thank you so much Maru, for reading and for your lovely comment! I am so glad it resonated with you. =)

      Sunday, October 7, 2012
  3. Tell us more! Fear is such a big obstacle for many of us in our creative endeavors. Thanks for sharing your inspiring perspectives. I love how you described living the life you want now, each day making those choices, with what you have, wherever you may be along the path, not waiting for sometime in the future. I look forward to Part 2!

    Sunday, October 7, 2012
    • Oh gosh, thank you Laura! I think i could write a whole book about fear, haha, there really is so much to say about it isn’t there? Will be posting up Part 2 tomorrow my dear friend, be on the lookout! =)

      Sunday, October 7, 2012
  4. It’s funny that I was just writing a bunch of posts about fear earlier this year. It is a big deal in our lives but seldom talked about.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012
    • i remember those! i’m gonna have to go back and read them again!

      Sunday, October 7, 2012
  5. Blessing your world is very simple. Simple words. . Great touch. Your words are not only inspiring but also carries the indept nature of who we should be. It gives me a new step to do something everyday towards what I love. Living the life I wanted was compromised, I wanted to be everything everyone wanted me to be. Now choosing my own path and sometimes it seems the path is dark but keeping faith that light would certainly appear. I must really say I’m having great fun.

    Sunday, October 7, 2012
  6. Beautiful writing! ~ Certainly add that to your list of gifts and talents! : ) Thank you so much for sharing! It reminds me of lessons I learned when I lost my dad instantly in a car accident back in 99. It has been so long that the sadly importance of the message has faded some. So much of the bravery I acquired afterwards from having survived it has also faded, as well as invaluable realizations about the passage of time. Thank you for sharing your unique experience and reminding me of some of my lessons and badges of courage I have earned that I should not forget. Many blessings and much peace to you!

    Monday, October 8, 2012
  7. I smiled and cried both during the reading of this post. I was beaming with warmth when I read about how your fiance helped you to reach your dreams and be who you were meant to be and then, a jolt of shock, when I realized that he was taken away from from you. I am 47 years old and have yet to experience that kind of grief in my life. When it happens at a young age, you attain wisdom and strength before your time. I can already see that you have that.

    I am anxious to read more about your life, Sarah, and LOVE your craft of both writing and your art.

    Don’t stop dreaming and believing.

    He’s up there guiding you. . .

    A soulful flyer,

    Shari :-)

    Monday, October 8, 2012
    • Thank you soooo much Shari for reading. All you ladies are giving me so much strength right now, you have no idea. I’m kind of a hermit right now too – finding it hard to really even to go out and be social like normal folks my age… so our group has really kept me feeling connected to others (and is probably way more positive than going out to bars and crap anyway. lol) *hugs*

      Tuesday, October 9, 2012
  8. Thank you for this lovely post. So honest, so true. I see myself in some of what you wrote…thank you so much for sharing. I’m eager to see part 2. keep taking care of you. xo

    Monday, October 8, 2012
    • sarah treanor #

      Thank you so much for reading!! It makes my heart smile to know it connected with you.

      Tuesday, October 9, 2012
  9. Thank you Sarah for sharing your story and fears. I can feel the depth and honesty of this post, and yet I find that I cannot connect to it, not because I don’t believe it or anything like that, but because I can feel within me a strong desire to disconnect from my own fears. You know what they say, that people are reflections for you, and that what you see in another is a reflection of what is in you. So as I read your story I feel disconnected and that just shows me how disconnected I am about my own fears. Having said that, I feel that your story is going to be super important to me, just to sit and truly feel it, and then let myself be honest about my fears too. Even just expressing that alone I can feel the tears welling up. Angels come to us in shapes that we don’t always recognize, yet the messages are always divine. Thank you.

    Monday, October 8, 2012
    • sarah treanor #

      Hi Janine, I am so so glad that this connected to you (or dis-connected to you perhaps? ;) Thank you so much for sharing this.. it means so much to me. And it is very courageous of you to admit where you are at with your own fears – that’s a wonderful thing to do for yourself! Stick around for part 2 i’m posting soon, I happen to think some of it will really resonate with you. So glad you have stopped in.

      Monday, October 8, 2012
  10. a lovely heartfelt post and thanks for sharing the hard edged parts of trying to recover from the grief you have experienced. You talk about fear but your courage shines through so beautifully as well

    Monday, October 8, 2012
    • Thank you so much for the kind words Josephine, and for stopping in to read a little of my story. It means the world to me. <3

      Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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