The Fear of the Tunnel

Kiroli Park at pamelapetrus.comThe house (read: temporary duplex) is quiet around me. It’s somewhat of a somber day, cloudy with very little sunshine coming through the windows. I’m half way through my cup of coffee have a general plan mapped out for the day. I find myself lingering at the table, knowing that I should start getting ready for the day. Something holds me in my seat. Something other than laziness. I just don’t feel like the morning is finished. I decide to try writing, something that once felt like a regular part of my morning routine and now feels a bit foreign and unfamiliar.

Usually when I write, I have a particular goal in mind. I’m going to flush out a story or share some sort of self-discovery. I determined a bit ago that writing is what I do to clear my mind and process my thoughts. I usually do this writing via an app on my iPhone so that I can curl up somewhere comfortable. Today, I bring the laptop to the table. I suppose I feel the need to call more attention to this time. I need to do something to force the words out of me.

I haven’t written freely in months. Before the flood, I wrote something nearly every day and shared a post on the blog twice a week. Like clockwork. I hadn’t missed a Monday or a Thursday without a post. The rest of the writing just lived there on my phone, either to later be merged into something else or to just live there and maybe be reflected on later. Since the flood, I’ve posted here a couple of times and nothing other than a few mere paragraphs have been forcefully put into that iPhone app.  I’m nearing three months of not writing regularly. It’s no wonder that my mind feels a little clogged and confused.

So today, realizing that this therapeutic habit of mine has both unintentionally and intentionally been abandoned, I sit down to write. It feels a little foreign and yet like home at the same time. I’m able to string together sentences more easily today than I was a month ago. Still, the sentences seem to have no purpose. Nonetheless, I continue to write. Maybe a purpose will come. Maybe it won’t. Either way, I need to get reacquainted with the thoughts in my head. I need to be reintroduced to my true self. Myself before the chaos ensued.

I think back to a photo I took in Kiroli Park. I believe this area of the trail is called the Swamp Walk and a tunnel of sorts presents itself along the path. I’ve found great therapy on these trails lately…walking both casually and with fever for exercise. I listen to podcasts and unplug from the world around me for a bit. Being in nature has always centered me, and I’m thankful to have Kiroli Park to help diffuse the chaos right now.

Back to the tunnel. I snapped a photo of the tunnel, as I’ve done practically every other angle of the park. And today, as I think of that photo, I conjure up a bit of symbolism for where I am today. I think I even made reference to a tunnel in one of my last posts. I see myself standing on the outside of this tunnel, knowing that I want to go on through, but maybe being afraid to take those first steps. The tunnel at Kiroli Park obviously isn’t dark and scary, but for now it’s serving as an example. Right now, as we’re wrapping up the last few weeks of the rebuilding process (hopefully), it feels a little scary. I know that by simply taking the steps and pushing through the dark tunnel, we’ll come out on the other side. However, I’m afraid of what might be waiting just outside those tunnel walls.

Within the next few weeks, our vision for the rebuild will come to life. Good or bad, it will become a reality. Within the next few weeks, we’ll retrieve what we saved from storage to finally know what we were able to salvage and what we weren’t. Within the next few weeks, we’ll have to come face to face with the quantity of what was lost. Or what was damaged in the hurried move. And within the next few weeks, if our home doesn’t actually get “finished,” we’ll be homeless again.

As I sit here, writing about seemingly nothing, I realize that while I’m eager to be home again, I’m also afraid to step into that tunnel of the last stages. I’m afraid of everything listed above and in the back of my mind, I know that some of the hardest struggles of this process are still yet to come. So I resist the tunnel a bit. Even though I want to walk through, I find myself standing forcefully on the other side…just needing a little push to go forward. I need to shift my thoughts to the positive ones. I need to focus on the good. I need to be brave instead of fearful. I need to take one, tiny step at a time and just go. I can’t actually delay the passing of time or reframe reality, and I don’t even want to. I just need to move. I think that’s how you survive in life, after all. You bob and weave, dodging the punches and you move. You can’t stay still. It’s in the stillness that the negativity will consume you. You just push forward, no matter how badly you want to stop. And that’s why today, I’ll begin that journey through the tunnel in my mind. And within weeks, I’ll be on the other side, facing a new reality.

2 thoughts on “The Fear of the Tunnel”

  1. You are inspiring and beautiful inside and out! Thank you for sharing this. I needed to read these words. In case you need a reminder: being afraid is human and natural, but not everyone has what it takes to be courageous, and you, my friend, are walking through it like a total badass. Sending you lots of <3 from Vancouver!

    1. Thanks, friend! Several times I’ve looked at this crazy situation as an opportunity to become more courageous, less of a perfectionist, and more appreciative. Of course, I’m always looking for the positive spin on things (thankfully) and I appreciate you noticing my progress!

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