Fear is…Frightening

a-to-z-letters-fFear is not my friend. Somewhere along the line that enemy of an emotion, I’m sure serves some purpose. But, I for one do not seek it out on purpose and I can’t understand why anyone would want to. I will be the last person you’ll find watching a scary movie. I’m the girl who thought Charley and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz were scary. I can count on my hand the number of actual “scary” movies I’ve seen in my life – none by actual choice.

I saw  Halloween (you may have heard of it) in grade school at a girlfriend’s slumber party. I was afraid to be the only one that was too big of a “baby” not to watch. Unfortunately for me my vivid imagination replayed scenes from the movie preventing me from restful sleep for months (just ask my mother!) Poltergeist and Nightmare on Elm Street were two more peer-pressured movies I witnessed. Both led to more sleepless nights, where I humbly admit I pressured my younger sister into sleeping with me. What I thought she would do if we were actually attacked by Michael Myers or Freddie Krueger or that crazy clown under the bed, I don’t know. But I felt better having her there.

These days my fears are less about being stalked, haunted or murdered (although maybe they should be given the news on any given day), but more about the kind of fear that keeps me from being the best that I can be. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not being liked. The fear of conflict. The fear of not moving forward. The fear of hurting someone’s feelings. The fear of failing my children. The fear of my dreams never coming true and the fear that they might actually come true and then what?

I hate that stomach-churning, sweat-beading feeling I get when I face something I don’t want to do. When it comes to fight or flight, my brain tells me to run as fast as I can and not look back. Yet deep down I know there is a time to fight and push that fear way forever. I find that courage more and more as I gradually venture outside my comfort zone. To pursue my dreams and not be afraid to be the woman I’m meant to be. To open my eyes going down the biggest hill on the roller coaster and see the track before me. To eat in a hotel restaurant alone instead of ordering room service. That’s they only way I’m going to be able to look at the fear reflected in my daughters’ eyes when they can’t sleep at night or are fearful that something they touched might make them sick. I want to tell them everything is going to be OK, and mean it. I want them to know it’s OK to fail and it’s OK to be afraid, but its not OK to let either stop them from their dreams.

What are you afraid of? Would you go to a scary movie on purpose?

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Quest To Be a Morning Person

As I reflected on my need for more me-time to focus on achieving my goals and making my dreams come true, I determined I needed to carve out that time and take it back for myself. As I looked over my busy schedule, the answer became clear to me. As I know Santa won’t be bringing me any extra hours in my day nor will he be bringing the magic hand that automatically puts everything in its place that my youngest daughter imagined, the next best thing would for me to become a morning person.

I reflect on how wonderful it would be to wake up at 5:00 AM refreshed and ready to start my day. I would have two peaceful, wonderful hours all to myself to do whatever I wanted — no children, no husband, no phone calls or chores (that might wake someone up). In the early morning hours when everyone else was a sleep, I could work on my writing, edit my photos, do a little Wii Fit… The possibilities are endless. I could get so much accomplished with no interruptions.

The only problem? I am the snooze queen. I typically set my alarm 20 minutes earlier than I actually need to get up, just so I can push it at least twice. I am not going to let that little fact deter me though. I did a search on “becoming a morning person.” Believe or not I found hundreds of hits and quite a few good tips. Of all the articles I read there were three tips most sleep experts agreed on. 1. Go to bed at the same time every night by no later than 10, if possible. Even on weekends. That didn’t seem too hard.  I could do that. 2. Get up at the same time every morning. Even on weekends. I can do that too. Although, sleep-in Saturdays would be a thing of the past, it wouldn’t matter because I would love the morning anyway, right?  3. No snooze bars. None. You have to get up as soon as the alarm rings. Move the alarm across the room if you have too. Hmm. #3 is not so easy. I have been known to walk across the room to push the snooze and then get back in bed. But, this time however, I am determined. I am going to do this; I can do this. I won’t be long before I will be enjoying beautiful sunrises as I sip a hot cocoa and work on the latest revision of my book. Yes.

So, last night, I set my iPod touch for 5:00 AM. I was tucked into bed by 10:30 and asleep by 11:00 PM. I was only an hour off my goal, not bad. It seemed like my eyes had just closed and I’d nodded off to dreamland, when my alarm started to go off. I stumbled out of bed and went to turn it off, when I glanced at the other clock on my dresser. It read 2:00 AM. How could that be? What time is it anyway?  I checked the setting on my iPod. The timezone was set to auto-locate. For some odd reason, it thought I was in San Paulo where it was in fact 5:00 AM. I still had three more hours to sleep. Hurray I thought to myself. I turn autolocate off and selected the correct time zone. I went to the bathroom and then snuggled back under the covers and laid awake another 30 minutes until I finally feel back asleep.

Another five hours and fifteen minutes later I heard the keys in the door. My husband is on night shift this month and was just getting home. “Crap” I think to myself, what time is it? I glance at the clock and it reads 7:15! Great now I overslept. I check the alarm settings, somehow in my grogginess at 2:00 AM, I turned the alarm off. Sigh. The mad morning rush is off again (while my husband is home from work, he is busy doing well I’m not sure what. I try not to get angry at my perceived unfairness in life (as in why do I always have to get three people ready in the morning and he only has to get one ready?) as life isn’t fair you know. So, I wake the girls up. Shower, dress, hair, make up, brush teeth pack lunches, help the little one get dressed, sign the older one’s school planner, find the missing shoes and library books…I manage to get it all done and no one missed the bus and I’m on time for work. Success. Everything is good.

Tomorrow is another day and my alarm is set for 5 AM and the time zone is set to Eastern. I’ll be a morning person yet. Zip-pity Doo-dah…