It seems that all the major events and experiences in my life have been marred by some form of worry and anxiety. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, whether it be my love life, my finances, or my future aspirations—I am always waiting for something to go wrong. So, when my mother made an unexpected trip into town and said she wanted to spend the night at my apartment “to talk,” I immediately expected the worst.
For context, my mother and I have had a difficult relationship over the years. In the past I often stated how I got along better with my family when we lived in separate cities, and I had longed since I resigned that I wouldn’t have the relationships I desired with my family because we were too different…and too hurt. My mother wanting to talk sent my body and mind straight into defense mode. Then, I found myself frustrated that I had to give up space and time for a meeting that I assumed would only inflict hurt on me in the end. One text from my mother had sent me emotionally spiraling to the point that I had to stop and ask myself…What is this really about?
It boiled down to me operating in an old narrative of fear. I felt like the little girl I was once was who never felt good enough or loved enough and was always ready to fight and defend my identity and personhood. For several years I had existed in a comfortable bubble nursing my mother-daughter wounds on my own; I didn’t want anything to trigger any old pains.
Then, a moment of honesty came–isn’t this what I said I had wanted?
After spending years praying and crying over wanting to (re)build a relationship, the opportunity was presenting itself and I was seeking a way to escape. I had a decision to make. I needed to move away from fear and into a place of courage as it related to my healing--and what turned out to be my mother's as well.
My mother spent the night and our “talk” was more than I would have ever imagined. We got into the conversations regarding my childhood and her motherhood and she shared her own fears and hurts of her childhood. The following morning she watched me as we did yoga and rolled out a mat beside me and she did something that left me speechless. My mother, a woman who had once stated that she didn't "believe" in meditation sat through a ten minute guided session. Our time together felt like a long held exhale. This was the shift in the relationship I had been praying for and it was slowly but surely coming to fruition. All it took was for me to make a decision to create a new narrative for myself and having the faith to move forward.
Too often we pray for things and expect our lives to shift without our participation. However, the change we want to see in our lives takes our consent, our creation, and a little bit of courage. It’s so easy to talk ourselves out of life changing experiences because of fear, worry, and doubt. We talk ourselves out of our boundaries. We find ways to escape hard conversations. We settle for toxic relationships all because of fear.
It’s a courageous act to silence the negative thoughts and choose something different.
Courage doesn’t have to come in a sweeping wave. It’s the seemingly small acts and decisions that we make for ourselves that change the trajectory of our lives and others in the long run. We can’t simply pray, hope, and wish for things to change around us; we have to have the courage to create that movement as well. We do not have to operate in “What ifs” and worse case scenarios. We do not have to wait external forces to give us our power to transform. We can choose it. We can have the faith that just as we believe everything can go wrong, so many more things can go right.