I was on a day trip with my friend and we saw a kid who had climbed up a tree. My friend told me she used to climb trees when she was a child and then one day she stopped. She had climbed a tree, as she had done many times before, but this time she was overcome with fear of falling. She called out to her dad to help her, which he did. That was the last time she climbed a tree.
I didn’t understand. Why would she stop climbing trees because of that one time she felt afraid of falling? She had climbed trees numerous times and not once had it resulted in her experiencing pain. The fear of falling was greater than the joy she experienced from the climb.
I guess that is how fear works. It is so strong at times that it paralyzes.
I have never climbed a tree. Well, there was that one time I shimmied up a huge branch to take a picture while visiting my sister. I don’t think that qualifies. It was pretty close to the ground.
No. I have never climbed a tree.
But I know what it is like to take a risk. To open myself up and become vulnerable to the unknown. To learn to love and be loved. I did not learn how to express my emotions as a child. I was too busy surviving. I was well into adulthood when I began to identify my emotions. I only accomplished that as a result of being given an emotions chart; my therapist helped me begin the journey of connecting to myself. I had no idea what it meant to be vulnerable. To be seen. And while I have been on the journey of healing, restoring and reconnecting to the beautiful and broken pieces of me for quite some time, it is still very difficult. Have you ever been around a child who is meeting you for the first time and instead of coming fully into the room, they just kinda peek around the corner first? That is how I feel sometimes. That five year old me is peeking around the corner of human relationships trying to get a glimpse but too afraid to enter fully.
I don’t want to be hurt. I am afraid if I show you my soul, you will hurt me. I am afraid that I will uncover my scars and you will dig into them. or you will leave. or you will judge me. or you will leave. or you will betray me.
Or you will leave…
I am like my friend. So afraid of falling, that the thought of climbing that tree one more time feels paralyzing. I just want to stay on the ground where it is safe. Where I am safe.
I have taken many risks with my heart. I have allowed people to see me. I have chosen to trust and believe and experience true intimacy. And I have made wonderful connections with people who love me. I have also been hurt. Each time I am hurt, I want to stay on the ground. I want to hide. And that is where I am at this moment. My anxiety and fears are at an all time high and I really want to retreat behind my walls. At least they are familiar. I know what to expect from them. They have never let me down or betrayed me. I don’t want to pick up the phone. I don’t want to go to happy hour. I don’t want to go hang out with people who I call friend or people I barely know. I don’t want to go to that trans group or reach out. I don’t want to do these things because I am SCARED.
but I still do them. I push through my fears of rejection and abandonment. I lift my feet up off the ground and risk falling. The thing is, unlike my friend, I have fallen many times. But not EVERY time. I have seen things that my eyes would never have seen had I stayed on the ground. I have felt things my heart would have never known. and I have experienced the beauty and healing of connecting with other human beings who see me and allow me to see them. I think it’s worth the risk.
I will keep climbing trees. Scared. Hurt. Vulnerable. Sometimes still bruised from the last time I fell. I will climb. Maybe slower this time. But I climb.
#love and be loved