as I walk

the journey to becoming me

Archive for the tag “fear”


Everything is simultaneously great and awful. A year from now, I should be done at Northeastern, prepping for grad school. I’ve narrowed my choices down to three different schools. I fall deeper in love with my wife on an hourly basis. I’m entering into friendships at school. I feel supported by people at church. I’m learning to say “no”. Those are the things that fall under great. The awful though really is awful.

On Monday I went to the doctor for a sick visit and told him I felt like I was falling apart. He looked at the past month of my chart and agreed. Friday I went to my spine doctor and he said he has done all he can for me and I need to have a consult with a surgeon. He marked it as urgent.

I’ve been down this road before. October of 2008 I had back surgery. It was a lengthy and brutal recovery not to mention costly. Just 6 and a half years ago, surgeons removed a portion of a disc that had compressed a nerve so badly it paralyzed my leg. At least then, I was working full time and was able to get short term disability during the recovery. I stayed at my sister’s for about a month after the surgery so I wouldn’t have to deal with stairs. I had a walker – spray painted with flame stickers, a horn, and tassels, because that is the type of friends I have back in Connecticut.

I’m in the middle of a semester that is really challenging me. This is the first time I’ve felt stupid in a classroom, ever. Even when I got a D in geometry, I still understood it, I just didn’t do well. In one of my classes I actually have no idea what is even being discussed. Compound that with a large amount of Norco 10s that I have to take just to be able to make it through the day, I can’t do any amount of analysis on the subject matter.

On Monday, the doctor could very well say that I need surgery, and it could very well be something that I can’t put off until the end of the semester. As it is, I don’t even know how I will be able to walk from the parking garage to class on Tuesday. I am scared. I am scared of the pain. I am scared that it won’t fix the pain. I am scared of the financial toll it will take. I am scared that it will put me behind for grad school. I’m scared that all of this medication is slowly going to kill my liver. I’m scared that I won’t even be able to be home after the surgery because we live at the top of an elevator-less 3 flat. I’m scared that I won’t be able to get in and out of our 2 door civic. I’m scared that I won’t be able to get up out of bed in the morning. Mostly, I’m scared that it will be too much of a burden for my wife to have to deal with. I’m scared that I will find myself in the same position in another 6 or so years.

The closer I get to the appointment, the more intense the pain is becoming. I wake up in the middle of the night to take more Norco and Aleve so that it won’t be excruciating when I have to actually get up in the morning. This pain is deeply affecting my life. I had to quit an amazing job with amazing people that had an amazing starting wage. I can’t concentrate on homework. I haven’t been able to leave the apartment for church in weeks. This is overtaking my life.

I found myself on all fours yesterday morning screaming in pain because I had to get up to go to the bathroom. Tears and snot poured from my face as I tried to stand. I can’t live like this. I can’t put Kelly through that again. I’m willing to do the surgery if that’s what will stop this. I just don’t know how to make it through that though.

I’m scared financially, academically, and logistically.


I don’t want to do this…

Tomorrow’s the big day.  Tomorrow morning I start seeing a counselor again.  I know that it will be different this time, and that scares me.  So much of this scares me.  I’m scared because I know that in order for therapy to work, I actually have to deal with my past.  I have to own it.  I have to remember it.  I don’t know if I can take that.  I barely lived through it, so why am I choosing to re-visit it?
I guess the answer is because it chose to re-visit me.  After that flashback, I immediately made the appointment.  It’s been just over two weeks since that night, I’ve started feeling safe and secure again.  Well, secure might be stretching it a bit far, but, I don’t feel like I did when I called up this new therapist.  I do feel scared though.  Not just about the past… but about the future.  All of the previous times I’ve been in therapy, I was miserable and made other people miserable.  I was described as a “moody bitch” last time.  I didn’t think I was then, but looking back… that’s pretty accurate.  I don’t want that to happen.  For the first time that I can remember, I’m happy.  Not just having good days… but completely content… well… except for my issues.  I just don’t want anything to mess that up.
Who am I kidding?  I don’t want to screw up my relationship.  I want to go to therapy because if I can work through this junk, then there won’t be this… thing… between us.  I don’t want to go because I’m afraid that somehow I’ll become a different person and it will ruin our relationship.  I love her and don’t want to hurt or lose her, yet I think no matter what I do… it will be inevitable.
Maybe that’s all in my head.  Maybe I’ll go in there tomorrow, just chat, and magically everything will be better and everything will be great.  I suppose the adverb “magically” implies that that scenario isn’t all that plausible.  But, this time will be different.  I’m not going because I’m forced by parents.  I’m not going because I’m trying to kill a part of who I am – be someone I’m not.  I’m going to be a better me, to process, to learn how to do life as I am.  Maybe it will be good.  Maybe it will make my relationship with Kelly even better.  Maybe.  Maybe.

a frustrating run

I decided to take advantage of the cool night and go for a run.  It’s been so hot this summer that I haven’t gotten much running in which means a couple of things – that my body isn’t as happy as it used to be and that my brain is getting a bit overloaded without much of a release.  So since it was cool (less than 80), I put on my shoes and headphones and just took off.  I didn’t have a route planned out.  I just was excited to go.  My favorite part of running is “green pepper head”.  There are a few seeds rattling around up there, but it’s mostly empty.  It’s a time that everything clears and I can just breathe.
I ended up running 2.5 miles (not as much as I would have liked, but that’s still fairly respectable) through Ravenswood and Andersonville.  I started running north and ran past a lesbian wine bar I keep thinking would be fun (scary) to go to, except I don’t care for wine.  I’ve run past it several times, but this was the first while it was open.  There were a few couples at the tables on the sidewalk and I felt a pang of loneliness.  I shook it off and kept going.  When I hit Clark Street, I started to think about how much I love Chicago.  I ran past the 48th Ward’s showing of a movie in a shoe store’s parking lot.  I ran past beautiful people sitting outside having drinks.  I ran past beautiful people coming out of a gym.  I ran past the Cancer Center on Ashland – beyond their fencing, I saw a tranquil landscape with benches and a fountain.  I wanted to hop the fence and sit there with my thoughts, but not being a law-breaker, I kept going and eventually ran to the church that I’ve been sort of attending.  On a Tuesday night, it’s just an entrance to the Methodist hospital.  Figuring it was as good of a place as any to catch my breath, I bent forward with my hands resting on my thighs and thought back to my previous post.
It may not so much be the post itself – it was a comment.
Leaving the church.
I didn’t leave THE church.  I left A church.
It’s not that I felt I had to leave it.  I know I could have stayed there and gotten something out of it.  Part of me really wanted to.  It was really hard to leave.  I left friends and a community that I had grown to cherish.  Then there was my ego.  I didn’t want people to think that I stopped being a Christian, that I gave up on God.
The truth of the matter is I left because it would be a one way church relationship.  I’m not comfortable with that.  If I wanted my religion to go in one direction only, I’d be a Buddhist.  I’d be interested in myself and enlightenment.  I want to serve and to lead.  I want to be in community.  I want a real relationship.
So, I left.  I started going to a new church.  An inclusive church.  A church that I never once within its walls felt shame.
Yet, it still doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t feel like home.  I keep thinking something is missing – that’s why it’s just not clicking for me.  Tonight while taking that pause, I for the first time wondered if the thing that’s missing has nothing to do with the church, but with me.
What’s missing in me?  Or better yet, what’s replaced what it is I’ve lost?  Skepticism.  Doubt.  Fear.  Inability/desire to engage.  There are many things that have taken up residence inside that I just don’t know how to shake.  Some of it is a defensive reaction to wounding.  Some of it is just a result of not being in community for a while.  So, I force myself to go back again and again hoping something will change inside, and nothing does.
I tell myself if I try another church things will be different, but Fear says I won’t find one, and if I do, they won’t accept me.

I don’t know what I need to do or where I need to go.

My brain wouldn’t shut off and now I’m more frustrated than when I took the first step last night.

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