My future is shrouded in dark wilderness
Sunshine is far away, clouds linger on
“How’d you sleep, Sidneypie?” I asked as the squid and I began the short walk from the elementary school parking lot to her kindergarten classroom.
She quit playing with her loose tooth, took my hand, and said, “I had bad dreams.”
You and me both, I thought, the words long distance friend resonating in my mind. I asked her to describe them to me, and she told me about monsters with whom she wanted to be friendly and ghostes, which she has been afraid of lately.
“Ghosts aren’t real. They can’t hurt you,” I replied in my best nurturing motherly tone.
She tightened her grip on my hand and said, “In my dreams they are.”
For years before Sidney came along, the child in my life was a blonde haired, brown eyed boy who only existed to be put through every imaginable torment and death in a series of recurring nightmares. This beautiful little boy was mine, I knew that much, but his origin was a mystery to me. At the time, it frightened me enough to have written off even the very idea of having children. Now I see it as a manifestation of thoughts and fears that have plagued me and shaped my very existence for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t the child or even his nightly losing battle against mortality that stuck with me. It wasn’t even about my own mortality. It was about a fear of being alone, despite my natural propensity toward solitude. It was about the fear that nothing is real, that everything good and beautiful will be torn away from me, and that nothing gold can stay.
I never really let go of that fear. I don’t think anyone really does, but if properly harnessed, that fear can be a powerful motivator. There are times like last night when I just lie awake until the sun rises, crying silently while lost in the thoughts that can only lead to a major bout of depression if I’m not careful. For the most part though, I am able to remain positive and not let myself be overwhelmed by the fear that I’ll never be more than what I am now. I do it for myself, for Sidney, and I do it for him. They give me both purpose and the motivation to keep my head above water and continue to move forward.
The fear is real, but can’t hurt you if you don’t let it.