I have always said that my two greatest fears are the very reason I will never get a tattoo.
For the record, I think tattoos are awesome. I think girls who can rock a sleeve are, to quote Marty from Grease, the living end. (Have you seen Grease? Because you have to say it the way she says it, all chomping her gum with that weird American 50s accent. Okay, thanks.) Anyway, they’re the epitome of cool. Girls with good tattoos somehow perfectly mix art and badassery like nothing else can.
I will never be that, and here’s why:
My two greatest fears in life are pain and commitment. (And bugs but that one’s stupid, I just can’t help it. Also sort of murderers, but now I’m getting off track.) Not great for the tattoo situation.
In Terms of Pain: I think fear of physical pain comes from the fact that I’ve not experienced much of it. For being such a clumsy, scrappy kid, I was somehow able to keep my injuries to cuts and bruises. I’ve never broken a bone, had a wisdom tooth taken out, or endured any type of horrible illness. I used to tell people that I sprained my thumb once but I’m 87% sure I just made that up in my mind. So since then, I’ve escalated pain to this massive horrible experience which will cripple me physically and emotionally til the end of time. Maybe it truly is that bad. I don’t want to know.
Pain in the mushy gushy feelings category I have experienced. None of those have been pleasant experiences, thus I would rather not have them again.
Unfortunately, I know I will experience pain again, both physically and emotionally, because that’s a part of being human and I am definitely one of those – thus, fear.
In Terms of Commitment: Ah, here’s the good part. Let’s hang out here for awhile, shall we? I actually don’t think “commitment” is the best way to describe what I fear. I fear getting stuck. I fear getting stuck because so many people seem to be there and I’ve never once met a person who desired to be there. It seems to just… happen.
You’re so pumped about life and then suddenly you’re perpetually “blah” about everything and you look up and you’re wearing khakis and far too interested in a People magazine. How did this happen? You don’t know.
This fear escalates during graduation season. I envy graduates. They have so much new in front of them. Up until graduation, my life plans had been pretty straight forward:
- Get through elementary school in five years. Check.
- Get through middle school in three years. Check.
- Get through high school in four years. Check.
- Get through college in four years. Check.
- Get a job for HOWEVER MANY YEARS OR ALL THE YEARS OR WHATEVER GOD WANTS IN TERMS OF YEARS. NOT CHECK. NOT CHECK. MADAY MADAY.
For me, getting the job and being in the real world was initially very exciting and interesting. But I remember looking forward at one point a few months in and thinking “This is it?” Going to work, coming home, social activities here or there… this is it? Like, sure it’s all cool for now but…forever? The same, the same, the same, and BOOM suddenly I had a new fear: the fear of getting stuck. (Interestingly enough, I specifically remember developing this fear while in the bathroom, which is also where a lot of my bug fear came from – cockroaches in Mexico have no sense of decency – and where much pain is dealt with. I am quite possibly currently developing a deep-seeded fear of bathrooms which will be very inconvenient for my life. Throw that on your prayer list, will ya?)
Obviously this fear has to be dealt with. I can’t just live my life hopping from job to job and town to town and relationship to relationship, now can I?
And maybe there’s one single answer to this fear to make it go away forever; some deep-seeded passion or life-altering purpose I haven’t yet discovered which will make my fear a thing of the past. But I don’t that’s it.
I don’t think that’s it because 1.) No matter how deep-seeded your passion is, I think life (and even individual days) are made up of seasons. Good times and bad times. Bitter and sweet. Super pumped about following your dreams and fed up with the blandness and predictability of life. And 2.) I think we’re made for more than this life. So no job, no person, no city is going to magically fill the subtle longing we have to be with our good Father, up close and personal, forever.
So how do I deal with the fear of getting stuck?
I have to deal with it every time it flairs up. First, I hold to the idea that if I am very aware of being stuck, I will probably never actually get there. God’s told me what he wants me to do “Get off your butt, live your life, and make disciples” (slightly paraphrased) but he’s pretty chill about the how and where of it all. We are blessed enough to live in a time where things can change quickly. Situations, jobs, cup size – most anything can change over night. I won’t get stuck.
Second, I do cartwheels in art museums.
Yes. The other day, I decided to wander through Knoxville’s art museum. While I would love for you to think I am an awesomely cultured young woman, I think it is important for me to add that I first researched if I had to pay for parking or entry. As both were free, I energetically said, “Eh, okay, why not.” (However, I did go to an art museum on my own for fun, so if you want to think I’m cultured and sophisticated, no one’s stopping you. Seriously, no one. Plz think that. Kthxbye.)
One of the exhibits was in a small, dark, enclosed room. I was in it by myself. It was carpeted. A little squishy. Suddenly I realized it had been awhile since I’d done a cartwheel. And suddenly I needed to do a cartwheel more than anything I’d ever needed in my entire life (besides foodwatersheltersecurityunconditionalloveeducationsalvationetc.)
I threw off my purse, kicked off my shoes, checked for cameras even though I had no idea what I was looking for and did a stupid cartwheel.
I giggled and ran out of the room like I had stolen the freaking art.
(Aka I was obviously super rebellious and cool in high school.)
And I’m honestly not entirely sure how this relates, but for some reason, I think that as long as I still do cartwheels in rando places, I probably won’t get stuck.
And I think that as long as you’re doing metaphorical cartwheels in rando places, you probably won’t get stuck either.
And maybe, if you feel stuck, you should go to your metaphorical art museum and do a metaphorical cartwheel.
Or maybe being stuck isn’t really that bad at all and this post has been for nothing.
In that case, so sorry you read all the way to the end. 😉 Say hello to your mother for me.