I have always loved stories about people who are, shall we say, quirky. I love peeking in the window and seeing a bit of how their minds works. Obviously, I am not alone as evidenced by the explosion of reality t.v. showcasing the signs and symptoms of any number of mental health issues. Let’s table the discussion for now of whether or not we should even be watching these shows.
What I am always struck by in these shows is the fear. These poor people are terrified! Never mind that what they are afraid of is throwing away a Wendy’s wrapper from 1982. They are completely stricken. I watched one of the bravest women I have ever seen walk herself through that fear to get to the place she had been dreaming of. I actually witnessed the progression of her dreaming of a clean home for her family, dipping her toe into the idea of what she would have to do to get there and shutting down. DENIAL!! No way, no how was she going to get rid of anything. End of discussion. But that lady walked right back up to her fear and faced it down. It is not a pretty process. It generally involves a fair amount of crying, swearing, foot stomping and raging. But, it is a beautiful thing to behold. It was made all the more special because she was able to allow others to help her. How hard is that? I have to admit to myself I have a problem and now I have to tell other people?
It’s enough to make the bravest among us run for the hills. To lay bare your fears and failures to others is to make yourself completely vulnerable and helpless. Or is it? By owning up to these deep dark parts of ourselves we begin to take away their power over us. By staying with the scary bits and working through them we can come out on the other side to something beautiful. By allowing others to share in the experience we gain their wisdom and support.
I can think of nothing more amazing than those magical times when one person allows another to cheer them on to reach their goals or extend an act of kindness. Perhaps you’ve seen someone like me with tears in their eyes at a marathon when the fans are cheering on that runner who is so desperately fighting to go on. I was driving with son when he pointed out a group of three elderly men. “Mom, look. That guy is doing up the other guys zipper.” Yep, water works. How sweet is that to allow your friend to help. No words. No embarrassment. Just love.
Be strong. Be brave. Face down your fears and ask someone to hold your hand when you do.