grief is [procrastination and] the fear of being loved

It’s been over a month since I posted the title to what I thought would be my first blog post – “grief is a stolen pocket knife.” Each day I come back to it wanting to expound on my fury, anxiety, and feelings of utter bereavement, but find myself held back by what I now believe to be a fear of being loved. I make excuses (“I’m writing a novel for National Novel Writing Month so I shouldn’t have to write about my grief!”) and push it off until the date is so far out I become embarassed that I even thought anyone wanted to read my writing in the first place. Then I remember: people do want to read my writing in the first place. Is it that I’m afraid they’ll like it, or even love it?

I received three texts from my good dear friend Sally a few weeks ago:

Sally: Where the content!

Sally: *where is

Sally: Just excited to see what you will write 

How was I going to tell her that the night before I sat crying at my keyboard, wanting so badly to share yet felt completely paralyzed with the fear of being loved? She, a blossom of wisdom, would tell me how silly I was being.

Why does one fear being loved when they have experienced loss? 

The answer to this question undeniably varies for each person experiencing grief. In my case, connecting with others made me feel vulnerable and afraid that I’d sully the strong image I’d made for myself. Could I be stoic if I let people know what a mess grief could make me? I knew I had great plans for my blog – that eventually I’d write about the habitual everyday things like brushing your teeth or binging on Netflix because life doesn’t stop after you lose someone you love. I wanted to normalize grief and create a space for sharing the undiscovered crevices of this robust and inescapable part of life. To do that, though, I couldn’t overlook the harder parts of grief.

What was so triggering about writing about the pocket knife?

How could I express how robbed I felt the day someone broke into our car and took one of the very few earthly gifts that my mother gave me before she died? The easy answer would be to write unconditionally – to drown out the editor in my brain that hates this very sentence (and the ones before it). The best way to do that, I concluded, would be to let myself make mistakes.

Grief is [procrastination] and the fear of being loved. For there to be procrastination, though, there needs to be an end product (otherwise it’s just not doing anything at all). This first post is what I’ve postponed. I leave behind a crack in my fortitude by refraining from deleting my incomplete first post. I spurn my inner editor and press publish without abandon.

I leave you with one question:

What fear do you have right now, and what is it preventing you from doing?

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