Fear

I’ve never put much stock in things like astrology. (Nor for that matter have I been that into religion. I believe in a God because I can’t conceive otherwise and because doing so somehow makes me feel safe.) That being said, I’ve always had to begrudgingly admit that – being Taurus the Bull – I am a very stubborn man. For instance…

I resist change. At least, life-altering BIG change. I’ll randomly change the layout of my apartment or simply shave off my beard for a few weeks as a small way of shuffling the deck, but in reality it’s all a cover-up to avoid doing anything drastic with my life.

I insist on figuring things out on my own. To this day my parents are amazed that I taught myself how to ride a bike, screaming at my dad to let go of the seat so I could find balance on my own.

And probably worst of all, I am reluctant to ask for help.

Part of it is sheer stubborn pride. Quite simply, I don’t like asking for things. No matter how minor the request, no matter how reasonable it may be, I always feel like I’m putting somebody out by asking them for something. When people come out and offer me things, I gladly take them, but I will very rarely ask for the assist. At times this trait can be noble, but just as often people will find it annoying, because I suppose, it puts the impetus on them to find out what I need with very little help from me. The flip side to that is that I very rarely *need* anything, and would just as soon go without than call in a favor for something I deem trivial. Not that most people understand that way of thinking.

Anyway, one of the ways this manifests itself in my personality is that I try to quantify any request that I make with a “when you get a chance…”, or a “if possible could you…”, or even “it’s no big deal if you can’t, but…”. I also tend to catch myself saying (or writing) something that may seem like a veiled “cry for help” and immediately draw attention to it so that people won’t think that I’m passively looking for assistance. I’m not a big fan of subtle hints. If I ultimately want something, I will ask for it, and consequently I tend to be clueless when other people are being subtle with me because I’m not familiar with the signs. It is not lost on me that this view of living is a major reason why I have never succeeded in maintaining a long-term relationship.

All of which is a REALLY roundabout way of saying that I have something I need to get off my chest, something I want to send out into the void, but I’m not 100% comfortable sharing for the simple reason that it feels like some desperate plea for sympathy. Sympathy I do not want. (Nor empathy, for anybody who feels like arguing semantics.) I just want someone – anyone – to know, without me having to ask permission to unload my problems on them. I guess I just want a guilt-free way of saying that I’m currently scared. Really, really scared.

You see, I just got an email from my mother. It appears that after years of battling cancer in many forms (and evidently winning), she is heading into the hospital tomorrow for some tests which may ultimately wind up with her having to have by-pass surgery.

I love my mom. More than anything. For reasons I can’t explain outside of “she’s my mom”. And while the last ten years with her living half a country away and battling that awful disease have been frustrating, I can honestly say I was never really scared about it. Somewhere deep inside, I knew from the first day she told me about it that she’d see it through.

But today I don’t have that feeling.

And I don’t know why. And it’s scaring the living crap out of me.

I admit that for the last few months I’ve been feeling more than a little apathetic about life, or more specifically, about my approach to it. And there’s a part of me at this very moment that is thinking that that state of mind is what is causing me to now fear for my mom in ways I haven’t previous. Call it a branch of the Misery Loves Company phenomena. But there is also a part of me that can’t dismiss those fears, regardless of where they manifest from. They will stay with me for at least the next 32 hours while I wait for my dad to call with an update on how things went. And while I will most certainly be praying for her health from now until then, I can’t help but feel helpless at the same time. And feeling helpless makes me feel selfish, because I shouldn’t be helpless. Because I can ask for help. Even if I’m not comfortable doing it.

So I guess that’s what this is. A request for help. Whether it’s a silent prayer that my mom is well, or a phone call, or a simple response to this stupid post. Whatever you can spare. You know… if you get a chance.

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