yikes. what a week. actually, what a year. i have been in a reflective space the last week or so. i mean, i typically live a fairly reflective life anyways. mostly because my anxiety drives me to be that way. ya know, thinking about literally every interaction, conversation and move that i make. second guessing just about every single thing that i do. ya know, casual stuff. but this week has been one of a lot of reflection. trauma therapy which happens every tuesday combined with cognitive therapy that happens every thursday combined with psychiatric therapy that happens every other monday; i mean, c’mon! how could one person not be reflective? but there’s a lot going on- in the world, in my work life, in my home life, in my body, in my brain. my brain is working hard. and i am working hard alongside it to deactivate triggers and move my thought process away from the fear mentality. and for me, my fears right now are residing in the reinfection and unknown future place. where i am not sure if i could become reinfected on a thursday buying garlic bread at the grocery store [i always use this reference because well, garlic bread is life]. i also have a lot of unknowns about my health going forward and if you know me, you know i don’t operate well under the waiting game signs. so here i am. talking about fear; and it’s weird to think that i have been blogging for over two years and have never written about fear. trust me, i went back and scrolled. i mean sure, i have written about anxiety but i am one of those people that do not find anxiety and fear to be synonymous. to me, anxiety is worrying. more often than not, it’s me worrying about shit that i can’t change or that hasn’t even happened or doesn’t even exist yet. sometimes it can look like fear, when it’s related to worrying about something that you just don’t know enough about. but fear, man, fear is something different for me.

earlier this week, my doctoral counselor called. i had been banking on her phone call for a few days and already knew what she was gonna say. academic probation. i know right, i am laughing too. only because it’s so funny how we got here. i swear the person holding my puppet strings up there has way too much time on their hands or something. but anyways, my doctoral counselor called. and i already knew what she was going to say. because even though i was sick and fighting for my life, i was taking a class and still working on my dissertation. and i missed a lot of coursework that didn’t get covered by my short term disability so i ended up with a lower grade that dropped my gpa. i started another class about eight weeks ago and i have been finding it hard to focus and maintain my studies during recovery. so this class was my last shot and i didn’t raise my gpa. and honestly, when i hung up the phone, i looked at my husband and burst into a full sob. but not because i didn’t like what she said but because it felt like failure and i had been fearing failure all along. just a lot of ‘you can’t do this; you won’t be able to handle it’ thoughts the whole journey. and so this moment felt like i had completely bombed out. just complete and utter failure. the fear of just never being good enough and never doing it right all came to a head at once. but after i threw a low budget pity party {one of my specialties}, i began to realize that it was the fear of failure that was paralyzing me; that it was self doubt that was crippling me. and that sometimes, stepping away from something for a little bit and pushing pause, doesn’t mean failure. it’s actually quite the opposite. and while there are a lot of things that are causing worry and sleepless nights right now, not a single one of those things is in my control. and i am pretty certain that my expertise in all things related to anxiety since i basically created anxiety and i create anxiety for myself and sometimes i am so anxious about ordering food in a drive thru that i have to practice ahead of time; and since my expertness is so vast, perhaps our fears of failure or doubt in ourselves is just a bigger manifestation of our anxiety. and we can control our anxiety {sometimes}. by controlling what we can control. i can control my study habits and my dedication to working on my dissertation when i return to school. therefore, this pause allows me to refocus myself and prepare for the next leg. therapists would call this reframing but i like to call it controlling what i can control. again, expert here.

because failure is totally fine and totally okay and totally acceptable. but carrying the burden isn’t. because sometimes, the failure is out of our hands. i can’t control that my body went through what it went through and i can’t control how i managed to finish school during that time. i can’t change the rules of my university or the policy in place. all i can do is be thankful for the opportunity to pause, reflect, step away and process. and move forward when it comes back around.

fear is everywhere right now. masked in anxiety. lurking in the news, on social media and even in our hearts. and it’s okay. but it can’t run the show. because we are way bigger than what scares us. we are way bigger than what keeps us awake at night. and we are way bigger than whatever life throws at us.

keep ya head up sis, otherwise your tiara will slip. xo.

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