I woke up from a nap today with tears in my eyes. I couldn’t believe the nightmare I had. It made me realize a few things I thought I’d write down.
Maybe there’s someone out there afraid of letting go, or maybe there’s someone out there afraid of how something will turn out, or afraid of starting the next step in their life.
Whatever it is.. Maybe, just maybe this will help someone out there.
I grew up with an abusive father, and living in fear was somewhat of a regular feeling whenever he was around. I was afraid of him coming home, and at the same time I was afraid of him leaving because I wasn’t sure how we’d get by without him. There were days when he’d come home sober, and plenty of days when he’d be on something else. One day, I remember hearing he and my mom screaming at each other in the kitchen. And the next thing I knew, he had a knife to her throat. I held my sister in the corner of the room and just screamed until it was over.
We left him for good when I was 12. That was a scary time, but it had to have been the most monumental moment of my entire life. We were alone, with just one duffle bag each, no money in our pockets, but a fresh start ahead.
Finally, it was over. And I have to admit, I have been given the most incredible experiences since. My life has resulted in something more beautiful than anything I ever imagined was possible as a little girl.
I’m free. Free to choose good, free to love, free to be the person I’m meant to be.
That’s a beautiful feeling. But today, I saw my father in my dream. Since I was a child, he’s been in and out of prison for doing so many awful things. He barely looks anything like he did when he was my dad. I even look him up on google every once in a while and his picture just proves how much evil he still has inside of him.
He looked even worse in my dream. He was following me, watching me from afar as I live the beautiful life I have now. And when I realized he was there, I couldn’t help but scream out loud again.. until I knew he was gone. It honestly makes me cry just thinking about it.
Every time I’d want to wake up, my dream would move to the next scene and I’d feel him there again. I just screamed over and over. At one point, I knew he was on the other side of a brick wall and I just screamed as if my voice had the power to push him away forever. But he wouldn’t move. He just stared at me. And all I could think about was him trying to take away everything we’ve worked so hard to have now.
Finally, my body felt strong enough to open my eyes. I kept crying and thought, “How am I still afraid of him?”
Then, one of the most peaceful voices came to my mind and said,
“It’s not real, Erin.”
Suddenly, feelings of gratitude and appreciation for every moment I’ve had to face in my life came flooding through my mind.
I was grateful for a courageous mother who sacrificed everything to protect my sister and I, and provide a roof over our heads all on her own. I was grateful for amazing mentors and counselors who have helped me to understand my true potential and what I need to do to find real happiness in my life. I was grateful for my education, and for the future I have ahead of me. And I was grateful for a strong body and soul, that has faced sickness, pain, heartbreak, and so much more, always having re-built itself again and again.
I know that there are moments when all of us will experience fear at some level in our lives. Clearly I’m still afraid of a lot of things, so you’re not alone. But most of the time, just like my dream… that fear isn’t real. Maybe you’re overthinking something that hasn’t even happened yet, maybe you’re worrying too much or assuming something about someone that you can’t let go. Maybe you’re just doubting your own power and potential for greatness.
I want you to try something for me.
If there’s something in your life that’s holding you back… a darkness that you can’t seem to understand, a negative thought that won’t go away. Or maybe it’s just the fear of failing.
Whatever it is, tell yourself, “It’s not real.” And if it is real, maybe thinking this will give you the confidence you need to at least face it with courage, hoping for a better future ahead. I’m sure my mom had to force herself to do that plenty of times.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said recently,
“Certainly our world has always been, and will continue to be, imperfect. Far too many innocent people suffer because of circumstances of nature as well as from man’s inhumanity. The corruption and wickedness in our day are unique and alarming.”
“In the face of fear, let us find our courage, muster our faith, and have confidence in the promise that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.”
That last part is going to be my life motto for the next few years.
I haven’t seen my dad in over 10 years now. It’s a good feeling to know that I’ve taken full advantage of the freedom my mom gave us so long ago. But at this point, I just want people to know that it’s possible to move forward and change your course. It’s possible to let go and free yourself from the fear that’s distracting you, or keeping you from reaching your potential. It’s okay to fail, as long as you gave it your best effort.
So whenever that fear comes, tell yourself, “This isn’t real.” Take control over your mind, and believe that happiness is ahead. Then move forward, even if you have to scream your way through it.