This week I’ve noticed that a lot of blogs are chatting about love with Valentine’s Day being just around the corner. I wanted to write about fear this week. I know, not exactly conducive to love, or is it? I was going to write about fear and writing, but fear is fear, so I thought why not write about fear and love? They can go can hand-in-hand, and I’ve definitely had some experience in this department, so why not!
“Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, but trusting them not to.” ~ unknown
The day I nearly never got married
It all started a long time ago when I was still living back home in Scotland. Well actually, it probably started way further back, when I was little, when I was forming my beliefs about love, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Anyway, I was minding my own business, living my life; productive, happy, single and free. Working on my coaching business, and traveling the world to attend seminars on how to take your life to the next level.
Then I met a man.
It all started innocently enough, you know how it goes; we connected, started chatting, sharing small details about our lives and the things we enjoyed. Then we got closer and began sharing deeper parts of ourselves and the things close to our hearts. Next thing you know, we’re spending hours together as time started losing its hold on us—hours slipped past like minutes.
We’d meet each other at various conferences around the world and then spend endless hours chatting on the phone when we were apart. Everything was going great, then my future husband dropped the bomb—he mentioned the M word aka marriage—and that was me running scared and literally running for my life.
He’d call—I wouldn’t pick up—there was no way I was going to marry this man. Yes, I enjoyed his company, yes I may even be in love with him, but that didn’t mean I should settle for something as totally and completely final as marriage.
A Fear of Commitment
They say men are afraid of commitment, but I was definitely a card-carrying fully-fledged member of the group, and I didn’t want some man clipping my wings.
So I did the best thing I knew how—I hid—for ten days. I know very grown up and mature of me, but it was the best thing that my inner quivering ten-year-old fear-filled kid could come up with at the time.
You see, from an early age I was brainwashed into believing that marriage equaled death. Being a product of the seventies and eighties, and watching most of my friends’ moms and dads splitting up and finally getting divorces—including my own parents. And, growing up in Scotland probably didn’t help either, as those around me considered marriage a relic of the 50s, and as something that would probably be better off being left there.
Without going into it too much, I had an old record that went around and around in my head, that played louder and louder when any man got near that seemed even a little interested. The old record played; you don’t need a man, you can’t trust men, you never want to get married. And round and round it went.
Ten Days Later
I was still hiding; avoiding the phone calls, not replying to emails, and generally falling off the face of the planet. On day ten, I got an email from my future hubby; it had ten songs attached, with the instructions that I should listen to them. Having my interested piqued, I listened to the songs, and they started to melt the ice around my heart. I’m a very emotional being and music can do things for me that words never could. I thought, a man that can love these songs, is a man worth getting to know better—we started to talk again.
We chatted everyday on the phone for hours, this went on for several months, though we never really talked about the M word again.
My Date with Destiny
I was scheduled to go to a conference in the Bahamas, the long awaited—Date with Destiny—even the name gave me goosebumps! Upon booking my air tickets, my future hubby told me he had managed to secure himself a ticket for the event. It had been sold out for months, but he had pulled some strings, so he would be joining me.
I arrived in the Nassau, and he met me off the plane. We spent the week together. Our early mornings were spent playing in the huge waves on the sun-soaked beach. And our intense days and nights were spent at the conference, helping ourselves and others have massive breakthroughs.
Everything was going great, or so I thought, until the last day. We got up nice and early, which had become our custom for the week, so we could enjoy a few fleeting moments on the beach before it was time for us to head indoors for the rest of the day. As the next day, we would be getting up and jumping on separate planes to return to our own respective countries. And we would not be seeing each other again for months.
On our last morning together, we walked down to the beach just after sunrise, and ate breakfast—we shared a tropical fruit platter on a wooden deck in front of the water. It was beautiful. Then we went for a stroll along the beach, enjoying this glorious morning before returning home to rain and buses, at least for me. The turquoise waves crashed relentlessly against the sun-bleached shore. The breeze tugged on my hair, as the sun began to warm my skin. I realized in this moment; I had never felt so alive, so wonderful, so free…
I took my toe and started to write in the sand the one word that had always made me feel so vibrant and alive, it represented everything that I loved and aspired to. The word was FREEDOM, and being the queen of exclamation marks, I drew one, putting my toe in the sand to complete my statement. Suddenly, my future hubby dropped to one knee and took my hand…
“Will you Marry me?”
Huh wha?… I don’t even know what I was thinking; I don’t even know if I was thinking … It was more of a physical reaction … I ran … Yes totally and completely; I took my hand back in a split second and was tearing off down the beach. Sand under my feet, wind in my hair, running away as fast as I could from the man who had just asked me to marry him.
My husband said he knelt there for a second not knowing what to do next, then he did the only thing he could think of, he chased me.
Finally, he caught up to me and grabbed me by my arms. He looked deep into my eyes. “Well, will you marry me?”
I kid you not … I looked over at the freedom I had written on the beach, and a huge wave obliterated it!
I looked back at him and said in a quiet voice. “But my freedom, it’s washed away.”
He looked at me and touched the center of my chest with his fingertips.
“Honey, your freedom’s not out there, it’s in here.”
Then he repeated his question.
“So, will you marry me?”
Not one for making life easy, I replied, “I’ll tell you later, by the end of today.”
I had a lot of thinking to do. So we left the beach and got ready to step into the last day of the conference—relationship day, of course!
At these conferences you don’t sit to together. If you came with someone, you’re split up into different groups, so you can take part without feeling like you have to act a certain way around a spouse, a sister, or whomever you chose to come with.
My future hubby was sitting near the front, and I was sitting near the back. One of the exercises was to write down everything you wanted in your mate and write a letter to them. All these exercises I had done before having been around the block a few times in the world of coaching.
I knew the man I had found was the perfect embodiment of everything I had wished for—and yet—I was still terrified. I went looking for help; I needed some one-on-one coaching to help me process all the crud that kept floating to the surface.
Getting to the Truth
I found a good coaching friend of mine and hoped that she could help me clarify my want over my fear. The two questions I remembered the most were these:
Q. “Why don’t you stop spending time with him for the next six months, let things cool off?”
A. “Arrrgh no, that’s not an option, I have to see him.”
“Okay,” then she asked:
Q. “What was the first answer that you felt in your body before all your BS (Belief Systems) started showing up?”
A. “Yes, I said to her. “Every cell in my body screamed yes, but then my thinking mind screamed back no.”
She said, “That’s your true answer. Go to him.”
I walked back down the isle looking for his seat. The conference was beginning to wrap up when I saw him.
He says that he kept turning back to look for me, but my seat was empty. And he thought. Where is she? Is she even here still? Did she go to the airport?
I made my way across the tangle of legs, finally arriving at the convenient empty seat beside him. I sat down and he leaned in close to me.
“Well?” He whispered in my ear.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and whispered back. “Yes, I’ll marry you.”
And they Lived Happily Ever After
I know this whole thing sounds cheesy and I couldn’t make it up if I tried. But it’s all true. At that moment slow music started to play, and couples got up from their separate seats around the hall and were reunited. We stood up, walked into the isle, and slow danced.
Now I’m not going to say the next few months were very smooth before we finally tied the knot, I did try and run a few more times, but maybe that can be a story for another day.
Suffice to say, that fear nearly got in the way, and robbed me of my wonderful husband, and all my completely amazing children.
So the next time fear tries to stop you, don’t be fooled. Stop. And asked yourself, what is it I really want? Then sit back and listen quietly.
What are your thoughts?
I’d love to know what you think! Has fear ever made you do something crazy? Is it standing in the way of your wants and desires? Or are you living your dream already and going after the things that you want? What tips and tricks do you have for conquering fear and overcoming obstacles?
Please share your comments in the comment box below, along with any other ideas you would like to share, I’d love to hear from you!
Oh and don’t forget to enter my giveaway for Neil Gaiman’s 3-Book Box Set: Coraline; The Graveyard Book; Fortunately, the Milk
Is fear holding you back?
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• Fearless Writing – How I Write with Wild Abandon