Yesterday I posted about some of my fears about having a baby.
In retrospect, I almost feel like a bit of a boob. Almost.
I know that the things that are freaking me out are either superficial or statistical anomalies. My brain knows this. Truly, it does.
But other things sneak in. Little tidbits, like barbed seeds, they stick in my brain & begin to grow.
Every time I hear some tragic story about death, loss, or great pain - usually with a tag line akin to "appreciate what you have, because at any moment it could be ripped away from you!" - I feel the monster stir.
I am acutely aware of this. That there are no guarantees.
A meteor could plummet to Earth obliterating us all in a fiery maelstrom.
The end of the Mayan calendar.
I understand that life as I know it? Could be gone in an instant.
And most of the time, I ignore this and go on about my day. Living in the moment. Enjoying the little things. Occasionally blowing stupid things out of proportion.
But ever once in a while? Those nasty, prickly little seeds grow. They spread thorny vines of worry and fear through my mind and my heart.
The thorns scratch and poke until they rouse the monster.
And the monster takes over. Pushes out all thoughts of reason. Drives me to obsession with my fear. Fuels the obsession with worry and "what ifs."
It shows me all the myriad possibilities of what could go wrong. All the awful things that could be.
And I can't argue it into submission. Because all of those things could come to be. Even if there is a .02% chance of something happening, there is still a chance. I cannot conclusively exclude it from the realm of possibilities.
And that .02% of people to whom that thing happens? Don't suffer any less because of the rarity of their circumstances.
I am not special. There is nothing that precludes catastrophe from happening to me. Nothing at all.
The odds of a plane crashing into my head on my walk out to my car? Are minuscule. Laughable, even. But there is nothing unique about me that conclusively prevents this from happening. It could happen to anyone.
Safety is an illusion. And the monster never fails to remind me of this. When I say goodbye to my son in the morning.
As I drive to work every day.
As I pass by people, not knowing their state of mind.
As I eat food of which I am unaware of its origin.
A million things could go wrong. At any moment. And that's where the monster gets a foothold, because I can't argue that it's wrong.
I am not in control. It's not up to me what happens.
And those little "always appreciate what you have" lines attached to horrific stories just piss me off.
I do not need to be reminded that life is fragile.
I do not need to be reminded that my heart could be ripped out, literally or figuratively, at any moment.
Those things just rouse the monster.
I already appreciate the little things. Because losing myself in those little things, forgetting about what could be? Is the only way I can drown out the monster.