Super Fox Sauce: Happy New Fear! What will you conquer this year?
“5…4…3…2…1!” And just like that, 2018 makes its grand splash with whiskey kisses, sloppy dancing and good intentions. To me, New Years is a sign of hopeful beginnings–an end to a crappy relationship, a dream job in Durango or an opportunity to create a cellulite-free rump. People just can’t wait to declare their New Year resolutions.
Comments are blurted in ATM and grocery lines: “I’m starting ‘yogapiletics’— the only fitness class Scarlett Johansen endorses.” “I’m developing a new app for runners that locates the nearest toilet.” Regardless of what you envision for your new year, resolutions force me to reflect on previous life choices and, more importantly, recognize, take action and (hopefully) conquer my fears.
Even though New Year’s Eve is a popular time to showcase your drive toward making a change, I have never followed through with my list of “resolutions.” I’m not sure why. For me, when winter solstice is seducing the sun, I like to focus on the light and warmth returning as well as conquering a meaty list of fears.
During the last couple of years, my meaty list of fears has morphed into a meatloaf packed with heartache, courage and victory. A few years back, my boyfriend of four months was diagnosed with a grade two glioma. In other words: a brain cancer that slowly invades healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. Unfortunately, in most cases, this type of tumor cannot be completely removed. Over time, it will continue to grow and present symptoms that deteriorate your body, mind and spirit. Even though I had only known him a short period of time, I chose to support, encourage and love him.
My boyfriend was the epitome of a type-A personality—motivated athlete (ice climber), engaged intellectual and driven professional. He had just turned 40 when he had his first grand mal seizure. We were heading out of Durango, and he was driving about 70 mph. He asked me if I heard the music that was playing outside next to the rainbow. “How did they get that music to play next to the rainbow?! Thit tid amazing! Do you skip skamp till tot scholt…?” He looked surprised, as if his jumbled words came out of someone else’s mouth.
His voice faded. He tilted his head and his mouth straightened. I noticed his eyes—obsessed on the landscape (and not returning to the freeway). A terrible screech came from his mouth. His wrists left the steering wheel and curled into tight fists. His violent jarring pulsed in a steady rhythm, blood eased from the corners of his mouth and his leg slammed on the gas pedal. We proceeded into oncoming traffic.
To this day, I have no idea how we survived that situation. It’s amazing how quickly you can think when your life is at risk. Visions of my kids laughing and Mom teaching me how to tie my shoes flashed in my head. I was not going to leave my kids with a tragic memory. Suddenly, I instinctively felt for the brake pedal, but I couldn’t reach. As we approached a hill, I desperately grabbed the wheel (to avoid over-correcting) and miraculously made it to the shoulder. The rest of the story is for another time. However, the year ahead would present to me challenges that tested every fiber of my emotional resilience.
After his seizure and diagnosis, I started to view life differently. Life was not only short but unpredictable. Life could end just as quickly as it began. I enjoyed every simple moment I could with him. We slow danced in the kitchen (to Journey–what can I say, I’m an ‘80s kid.) We bird- watched. We enjoyed the Milky Way.
After his surgery, his speech and memory were affected. He was full of fear and decided he didn’t want a family. He made the best decision for himself at the time—and left. At first, I was devastated. However, as time passed, I thought about all the fears holding me back from following my dreams. “What if my story is rejected?” “What if I bomb at stand-up?” “What if I make an ass of myself during karaoke?”
Suddenly, I came to the conclusion that these thoughts held no validity; they were just stories my brain created to support my fears of failure. I would never regret following through with submitting a story. On theother hand, I would regret not trying—except for karaoke. You can write me a “thank you” note for that one. This year, camping alone is a goal of mine. So, I challenge you: What will you conquer this year?