I couldn’t sleep last night. I laid in bed for hours trying not to think about someone breaking into my home, while I planned what my response would be if someone did. I thought about barricades I could make and possible escape routes. It was totally irrational, and despite repeated attempts to convince myself of this, I laid shaking with fear anyway. I knew that old fears had been reawakened. I knew what was causing my paralysis was a ghost of the past. And yet, my fear was very real and very present.
I live in a world in which people commit acts of violence against other people. I wish I didn’t. I wish I lived in a world in which I could feel utterly safe. I don’t. This is part of the truth.
I don’t want to live my life afraid of what could happen, what might someday happen. I don’t want to live my life in fear of people who choose to instill fear.
I want, instead, to live my life. I want to find a way to come to peace with what I cannot control, so that it does not control me. I want to be braver than the perpetrators of violence, the instillers of fear. I want to be free and open in a world in which they would have me paralyzed and quaking.
This, is the other part of the truth.
I want to be the one who chooses how I live. I don’t want to hand that power over to an attacker, be it the ghost of one fifteen years passed, the one whose devastation was all over the news today, or one I might someday encounter. I don’t want to succumb to being a victim of fear. I don’t want to let it shape me into something smaller, something less than who I am. I don’t want to walk the world in armor, keeping life at a distance lest it hurt me again. I want to be one of the brave ones. I want to be someone who chooses to love.
All that said, I’m nervous about turning out the light tonight.