The truth is that I have lived my life in fear.
Afraid to break the rules – spoken and unspoken
Afraid to say what I thought, what I felt, what I needed.
Afraid to think about life without Daddy.
Afraid to grieve, to open the flood gates.
Afraid to be first clarinet and play the solos.
Afraid to be Valedictorian and make the speech.
Afraid to write in freshman English.
Afraid I would not get out of freshman English
Afraid I would get pregnant
Afraid I had to tell my mother and grandparents I was pregnant.
Afraid I would not have enough – enough money, enough security, enough love..
Afraid, afraid, afraid . . . . until I wasn’t.
Until I had experienced and survived some of my worst imaginings. Until my body started speaking to me in ways I could not ignore or push away.
Daddy died when I was 13.
Our first baby, my feared pregnancy, was born dead.
Decades of financial insecurity, near bankruptcy.
My teenage daughter depressed and wasting away.
I survived. I learned. The fear monster has been moved to a small room in the attic.
Thanks to Valley, Jean is no longer afraid to write.