Learning to Fly


In 1933, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is, fear itself.” Such beautiful and poetic words to live by, but not always easy.


I’ve spent most of my life worrying, and I hate to be scared. In 1997, friends took me to the movie Scream. I didn’t know it was a horror film, but found out soon enough. It was my first and last encounter with a scary movie. Why people want to scare themselves for entertainment, when there’s already plenty of terror lurking in the world (like snakes, cruise ships, and fast food chicken), is beyond me.


But maybe every now and then it’s a good thing to be scared, even for me. That’s probably why the saying, “Do something every day that scares you,” was coined. And after all, I did practice family law and criminal law for almost ten years, and, I am also the mother of three. Getting up in the morning can scare me.


I lost my mind and nearly died in 2018. Everything about autoimmune encephalitis scares the bee jeebies out of me. It’s horrible to face your own mortality, but also eye opening. A lot of good came from my AE diagnosis and the fear of the unknown.


I realized how much I love my family and friends. I saw people go to the ends of the earth for me. And, I took a serious look at what really makes me happy in life; not just surface happy, but deep down happy.


I felt like I got to read my eulogy and see my legacy. People shared stories with me about, me. Some of their stories, I didn’t even remember. Actions that may have felt insignificant or routine to me, were things that touched them deeply. People told me how they felt when they thought they would lose me, either to death or a different personality. Many in life do not get to hear the heartfelt tributes that are normally shared in their dying. I heard those stories and read my living obituary. All because I faced a young death.

In the past few years, I have confronted some of my greatest fears. It was terrifying. But, the experiences helped me to let go. I know that I can do my best to plan and prepare, but life will take the course that either fate or God desires. I understand that the control I exert over my life is small. Through this state of mindfulness, I am working to only fear, fear itself.


Except for rattles snakes. I fear rattle snakes. But, on May, 26, I overcame the fear for as long as it took to climb the Bowman Butte, to celebrate my second anniversary of remission. I hoofed it up and down at a remarkably fast pace for my weary body, to score some pictures of the beautiful view, and to say that I did it. The fear of snakes and falling on a cactus, was there. But, I pushed through. I did it for me. I did it to say I wasn’t afraid. I did it to remind myself that what happened to me on May 26, 2018, did not end my life.


Take that AE, I’m not afraid anymore.


All my best,


jackie


#StebbinsStrong

#autoimmune #encephalitis

“Well I started out down a dirty road

Started out all alone …

“Well the good old days may not return

And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn …

“Well some say life will beat you down

Break your heart, steal your crown

So I’ve started out for God knows where

I guess I’ll know when I get there …

“I’m learning to fly

But I ain’t got wings

Coming down in the hardest thing

I’m learning to fly

Around the clouds

But what goes up

Must come down.” ~ Learning to Fly by Tom Petty



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© 2020 by JM Stebbins, LLC