Every MONDAY (or Tuesday, if you are always behind like me, but, whatever) join us. Write, post, link-up, share your story and your voice. Be part of carrying the weight of confidence, empowerment and share our mission to empower, inspire, and remind women, parents and children that the time has come to celebrate ourselves! This week we were asked to post a Just.Be.Enough moment based on this question: What Fuels You?
I wanted to be profound, write an amazing anecdote about courage and strength, maybe even suggest that I am driven by some sort of spiritual connection, by community or my family and friends or a passion for the arts. But the truth is, there is only one thing that has been consistent in my life, and really motivates me.
The one thing that really fuels me is fear.
Growing up, my grades in school were a combination of natural ability and fear of being grounded. I didn’t want to miss going out with my friends or dating. The idea of caring about my future truly was not a thought, other than the fact that I knew I didn’t want to live at home with my parents for the rest of my life. I was afraid of being looked at as a “loser” so I went to college, because that is what you do. Dressing nice and keeping up with current fashion trends was out of fear of being “uncool”. I was afraid of not being liked. I was afraid of not being pretty enough or smart enough. I was afraid of not being funny enough. I was even afraid of not being creative enough. A lot of what I did, said, and even wore in my youth was motivated purely by fear of what other people thought of me.
As a young adult, I’d like to say that suddenly changed. But it didn’t. I got married too young, the first time, out of fear of being alone. I dropped out of school out of fear of not being able to finish. (Kind of backwards thinking, I know, but if I dropped out, then no one could say I failed.) I had my first baby out of fear of letting my husband down and maybe even a little fear of letting my family down by not giving them a grandchild, niece or nephew. I stayed in my first marriage way too long out of fear of being a failure, and again, fear of being alone. I went back to college out of fear of not being able to put food on the table as a single mom and I picked a job that was “easy” or “safe” because I was afraid I wouldn’t be good at what I really wanted to be, a teacher.
In this season of my life I am still fueled by fear. Fear pushes and pulls me to make decisions or not make decisions. Sometimes, it still creeps around in ways that keep me from experiencing life to the fullest, or doing things I don’t really want to do, but mostly, I am fueled by the fear of what kind of example I am to my children. I want them to work hard, be kind to others, serve their communities, take responsibility for themselves, have pride in their appearance, and make healthy choices both physically and mentally. My drive to keep a clean house, be organized, volunteer, eat healthy, exercise, play my instrument and even write is hugely based on this fear. A fear of not being enough of someone to look up to and emulate. I fear being “just a stay at home mom”.
My life has had many blessings even though I will never be the perfect wife, mother or friend. Sometimes, I fear that if I sit too long, and stop engaging with the world, that I will become complacent. It is good to be reminded that others do not have the same comforts. Perhaps, it is okay to be fueled by fear as long as you let it empower you to work hard, and drive you towards something productive.