“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon
Fear takes on many different shapes and reasons. We all have or had fears of we needed to confront. The Fear of getting emotionally hurt. The Fear of losing someone or something you love. The Fear of inadequacy. The Fear of not living up to our own expectations. The Fear of hurting someone’s feelings. The Fear of running out of money, food, or other survival needs. The Fear of being alone. The Fear of death.
I have experienced all of these fears at some point in my life. When I was younger I learned to cope with them as they happened. Then you move on. But some of those fears never go away and as I have gotten older, I learned to deal and handle each fear in a different way. The fear of not living up to someone else’s expectations let alone my own, is something that no matter what age you are, we struggle with. I could write a whole post about that alone and I may do that in the upcoming weeks.
This post is about the biggest fear I had and that was the fear of death. In the two and a half years while going through these vocal problems, there seemed to be no medical fix or fix. I had a fear of losing my voice completely. I wasn’t sure if it would ever be the same or what the quality would be. In the back of my mind, I thought I was going to need my whole vocal box removed or what if I had some rare disease in which there was no cure. Yes, I thought about death at one point. I was not sleeping well. I didn’t want to be around people. I didn’t care what I looked like. I would sit in silence with this fear. Then I would try to snap out of it but yet when I went home, there was no one there but me. I felt alone. To all those around me, I never let on my inner most fears because of being judged or thought of as mentally unstable. There was nothing unstable about me at all. I still went to work everyday. I never once complained about what was going on in my personal life. The only people who I would talk to would be Mom and Erin. Erin knew most things about me and she knew my fears of losing my voice and my vocal box, however, we never talked about my fear of death. Mom would probably get the brunt of my pain and anger. First, I call Mom everyday. I always have done that and still do it to this day. I would yell and be angry when I would speak to her. It was not everyday but when it happened she knew. She was not able to understand me on the phone. I had to quit calling her on the streets or in noisy places because I was to tired to speak loud enough for her to understand. Mom tried the best she could to always have a positive word for me and she never once interrupted my anger or vocal frustrations.
Although I was in a dark place and wasn’t sure what the future would bring, I never once thought about harming myself. That never once crossed my mind so to me it was not a deep depression. It was just fear. I didn’t know how to channel it and what to do with it. Everyone would tell me it was going to be ok and all things would be fine but they weren’t the ones living with something that Dr’s weren’t sure how to diagnose completely or how to treat. I must say this fear was not the whole two and half years, in fact it was a fear that was building up over the course of that time. The span of time was just a few months and it was really at its peak in October and November 2016.
October was the first time I went to the New York Head Neck Institute and the first time I met Dr. Kraus and his wonderful team. He scoped my throat and said he wanted to schedule a surgery to get in there and see what was going on. I knew my body so well at this point, I knew they had grown back. I remember asking Dr. Kraus if he thought I would lose my voice completely. He said very candidly to me his purpose was to treat what was wrong and find solutions. He said he did not think I would lose my voice completely but none of us are God. It was the “none of us are God” part of his sentence that stuck with me. Although I appreciated the candor I soon became afraid at this point because he was one of the best in what he does and the NYHNI was a respected facility. Did he see something or feel something more than what he was telling me? I didn’t know and my fear settled in more.
This was at the end of October and I had not been diagnosed with cancer yet. He wanted to schedule surgery in November. They gave me a couple dates to choose for the surgery and one was November 22, which was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It was good timing for me since I was not going home to visit family.
My fear was still very real. What was it about this surgery? Why was I feeling so uneasy? Could my fear actually happen and what if it did? What could I do about it?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. –Marianne Williamson