Roaches. They haunt my first memories. In Lubbock, TX circa age two, my twin sister and I both woke up from bad dreams. We set out to seek comfort. Reaching our parents required a journey across the house.
We knew endless dark bugs waited for us. We scanned our passage, convinced that any dark spot in the room must be a roach. We knew we needed to get to our parents, so we bravely took to our closet for appropriate footgear. We put on the only shoes we could wear without parental support: Jellies. Jellies are plastic slippers with holes. Looking down, we both realized that our feet would not be safe from the bugs multiplying by the minute.
Rachel and I had a fear vs. fear decision to make. What was scarier? Braving the living room to battle terrifying roaches? Or our nightmares without comfort? Additionally, returning to our dreams risked nightmare continuation.
Rachel and I ultimately found comfort with each other. We slipped off our jellies and braved the bed vs. facing the tiny beasts that claimed the living room.
In west Texas, roaches are a reality. But probably not as much as we remember. During the night of nightmares, I remember “marking” one in my mind. The next day, I discovered a non-roach in the daylight—a black hinge of the sliding glass door.
Without contacts, I still “spot” roaches and discredit my sightings once vision is restored. On a retreat, I was convinced a bathmat tag at The Writing Barn waited for my feet. I couldn’t put my glasses on fast enough.
Facing fears is a constant. As we get older, we acquire more and more skills to face them, including tying our shoes.
I think back: in toddler trepidation, we were pretty brave. We had a tough decision:
1. Do we face the army of cockroaches and ultimately receive comfort
2. Do we face our current bad dreams and the unknown fear of, potentially, more nightmares and comfort ourselves?
We went with the later.
For my writing, I went to school for my Masters of Fine Arts in Children’s literature. But I’ve also struck out to create my own, un-genred work. Just like I made up that word, I’m making up the rules to my creative life: unchartered territory with certain challenges vs. known terrain, covered in scaries. However, I’m loving it and having more success with fresh creations.
Potentially, I have some fairly big decisions to make. The decision of stepping forward into a pretty big transition or staying planted. Both hold fear. Both require mentally marking dark spots only to uncover, in clear thinking, that my mind has created more “roaches” than possible.
Do y’all relate to roaches vs. nightmares? Do you have times in your life where you’ve had to make a fear vs. fear-could-be-even-worse decisions? What helped you navigate them?
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)
-Take courage in delight. Discover power in small moments.