Fear of Change…part 2

What the heck was happening to me…

I had become afraid of everything, Especially if I was not familiar or good at it. Looking back I missed out on many, many things. I can remember being on a travel softball team as teen. We traveled in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania and played softball. I had so much fun. I was good at it, so I was ok with it. I could ride in a car for 2 or more hours traveling around and not say one word all the way there. Play the game(s) and get back in he car and travel all the way home not saying a word. No one really though much about it, Jo is just shy. No, not really Jo was afraid of you even though she wanted to be with you. She wanted to kid around, sing the songs, cheer with the team, eat what she wanted, give a hug to a friend…but my goodness what would people think? What was the proper way to behave. As a teenager in school I felt ok on the courts or playing fields. Not so much in the class room. Even walking in the hallway to my classes was difficult. I may bump into someone and then what? There were times I’d see people coming my way and to avoid them, I’d turn around and go the other way just to not have to talk to them. Then there was the kids that were over in the corner talking in a low voice…of course they were talking about me…

German class was especially hard, they actually expected me to talk and I had to do it in German. Imagine that. I could not even speak to people in English and now because it was required that I take a foreign language I had to speak the language. I did it, and like I mentioned earlier on, I must have known at one time how to fight the fear…but it was getting harder as I was exposed to more things. I remember my teacher, he wrote in my yearbook,  “sprechen lauter” which meant speak up (louder). I did well in that class in spite of my anxiety and fear everyday I may be called on to read out loud or have to say anything at all.

I remember a time too in home economics…yup I went to school when they had that. I was eighth grade and we were sewing. I can’t even remember what we were sewing but I do remember the teacher, her name and what she said to me. It was Saint Patrick’s Day. I wore an orange sweater. She said to me, “Don’t you know it is St Patrick’s Day? Where is your green, and what is with the orange….tha is the color for Protestant irish.” She shook her head and walked away. How humiliating, embarrassing. Worse yet my name was Hannigan. That’s pretty Irish. I wish I had a snappy comeback, considering I was in actuality baptized Episcopalian type of Protestant. And forget the fact I was brought up as a Methodist, a sub section of Protestant. But holy cow I didn’t know anything like that back then and I was in no frame of mind to even comment on what she said to me. In my demur fashion I put my head down, waited for class to end and couldn’t wait to get out of there…

I have many, many more instances (some that may pop up here and there in other posts)like these…the circumstances of each story change but the results were the same. The hurt, anxiety, embarrassment, shame, humiliation, feeling of powerlessness, alone, disapproved of, insignificant, judged, afraid, defensive, insecure, intimidated and so many other emotions ran through all the stories. I later learned that all these things came down to fear and if I became ANGRY that was Fear turned inside out. I was afraid of what I might not get, afraid of what I might get…I lived in fear…everything good in my  life was squeezed out of me by fear of failure, criticism, betrayal, change, rejection, loneliness, poverty, growing old, getting sick, losing one’s job, and saying what is on their mind. So there you have it once again, I was afraid of EVERYTHING!

Yet my life went on…. I was now moving on to becoming a young adult. Getting ready to go off to college…Oh my Goodness another change and I still had all these feeling and that dang four letter word FEAR in me. How was I able to continue day after day  moving forward with my life? Changing never occurred to me, how would I have done it anyway?…..what was I going to do??

*I have said before that my writing is pretty much what comes into my mind at any given time, thus the timeline may be off at times…


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