Fear that Paralyzes

Fear keeps me doing what I shouldn’t be doing and keeps me from doing what I should.

I am pretty good about fear – I realize there’s nothing to be afraid of really. If I face the fear, I get through it. And I’m fine, one way or the other.

Considering the life I’ve lead and the fact that I’m in one piece and pretty happy, joyous and free, I’d say there’s nothing much left to be afraid about.

There is one fear, however, that still PARALYZES me. It’s the fear of going back to school. Since I graduated from college nearly 30 years ago, I have wanted to get a masters degree and have applied many times. I get in, but then I get too scared to attend.

Today, much of the fear of school revolves around money, of course. I’d be 56 when I graduated – who wants to be saddled with huge loans at that age?

Time scares me too. I’d have to continue working full time, while attending classes and DOING HOMEWORK. I live for down-time. I love reading and resting and wandering and daydreaming. Work plus school wouldn’t allow for that.

And perhaps that which scares me most – my past experience with school. College was a nightmare.

First of all, I didn’t want to go. I was scared beyond death. Before leaving for the University of Michigan, I went on the food binge of all binges. I was so sick and stuffed, I’m surprised I could move my body well enough to get on the plane.

That first year, I thought almost exclusively about my weigh and food. And I worried that I worried – I had no outside life. I didn’t go to parties, for fear I would eat. I didn’t go to all the great concerts my friends went to – I missed Prince at the height of his fame, because I didn’t want to leave the house and be tempted to eat!!!

Sophomore year was worse. I began to binge constantly and couldn’t stop eating. I gained 70 pounds in six months. All I did was eat. I didn’t sleep and I certainly didn’t study. Panicked, the night before papers were due, I’d pull all nighters getting prepared at the absolute last minute.

I really couldn’t sleep at all . After a full year of bingeing around the clock and chronic insomnia, I dropped out of college and moved back home to my mom’s in NJ.
From there, I dropped in and out of college four more times before finally completing my degree eight years later.

These are miserable memories. And somewhere inside, I guess this is what going to school looks like to me – panic and bingeing. It’s odd, because I don’t ever worry about bingeing these days. Ever. And I don’t live in fear about anything else – I face the fear and get rid of it.

Looks like I have more work to do!


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