Armed for life

Standing at a safe distance, I watched this little woman, armed only with a napkin, fearlessly walk up close to a spider large enough to cover the center of an adult’s palm, and pick it off of her curtain.

Seriously? Only two minutes before I, a woman who stands a full four inches taller, stood ready with a bottle of bug spray plus a spray bottle of pepperment oil/white vinegar mix. Had someone handed me a gun to put that eight-legged nocturnal nightmare out of my misery, I might have considered it.

I believe in arming myself …

…but no, not with a gun. That was just to illustrate my intense fear of spiders. Having to tell my grandchildren that Nana is in jail because she fired a bullet at a spider – inside someone’s home – is not the three minutes of fame I’d want to claim. There are smarter and more powerful ways to stay armed for life.

Life’s journey is a mixture of streets, waterways, hills and highways, curving, dipping, and snaking in and out of adventure and a veritable smorgasbord of experiences. Inevitably, fears will arise and block life’s journey if they’re not conquered, or at lease well-managed with a suitable coat of armor.

One of my main fears, other than the aforementioned, is public speaking. I labored to get out of it in high school and prayed for natural disasters to cancel classes in college. The advice I got never worked. I was too preoccupied with  forgetting my words, or that I’d choke on the mint I’d tucked under my tongue to be able to imagine my audience in their underwear. Still a work in progress, I’ve learned that building my self-esteem is likely my best coat of armor to protect me against verbal paralysis.

Writing is an ongoing fear, born primarily of my rejections issues. Will anyone read what I write? And if they do, will they judge me harshly? Do I have enough to say to fill a blog? Oddly enough, considering that my socializing challenges would likely have me holding up a wall at parties, social media continues to arm me well to handle much of my writing fears. The more I post, tweet, and ‘gram, the easier it has become to find my real voice.

Being well-armed in relationships – all kinds: family, romantic, work, or casual acquaintances has helped me to handle difficult relationships, save the ones I can, and ditch the ones that mean me no good.

Prayer, maturity, patience, common sense, a sense of self, and a sense of humor, are just a few coats of armor I’ve worn to handle relationships. For instance, as a health care worker, I arm myself with patience and a sense of humor in patient care. Both served me well when one of my dementia patients hit me with a carton of milk when I made the mistake of turning my back on her. Patience and a call system within reach was my saving grace the day a usually calm psych patient backed me into his room waving his cane. Prayer has tightened my loose lips when it comes to challenges with my daughters; a strong sense of self erased intimidation from troublesome nurses; and armed with maturity, I’m able to forgive.

I’d give anything to be able to slip on any one of these coats of armor against my arachnophobia. A sense of humor perhaps? Nope! Nothing funny at all about those eight, hairy, long legs on that monster I saw earlier. Maturity? I’ve been afraid of spiders since childhood and now I’m 55. I’m thinking forget about maturity.

For now I’ll stay armed with my sprays so I can keep on living.






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