Monday, June 27, 2011

The Fear of Being Fearless

As a child it was easy to admit fear. I was afraid of the corner of my grandparent's basement where no natural light ever seemed to infiltrate. I was afraid of Nola... the claw-less attack cat. I was afraid of falling off of high towering objects. Yet, I always ventured into the basement, I tried relentlessly to get that damn cat to like me and I was always climbing on top of things.

As I grew up, though, I stopped conquering my fears by means of facing them. In fact, I steadfastly avoided them at all costs. When I was in school, and I had a crush, I would avoid that crush and hope to God he didn't find out liked him. When I was afraid that my father would disappoint me I'd mask it with a smile and pretend to not be bothered by it. When I was afraid I wouldn't be able to lose weight, I wouldn't even try.

Now as an adult I've come to realize I'm ruled by fear. And, admitting that is scary business. Admitting fear is admitting weakness. It's leaving myself exposed and vulnerable... and that alone is a huge fear of mine.

So why am I doing it? I recently realized that when I'm afraid of something, it seems to come true.

For instance, a couple of years ago I was afraid that the man I was falling for wouldn't ever return my feelings. That fear came true. Then I was afraid he'd find somebody else. That fear came true. Then I was afraid he'd fall in love with her and take a serious step of commitment with her (like moving in together)... that fear also came true. Now, I fear he'll marry her (something he said he had no interest of ever doing). And, I fear that because I fear it... it will come true as well.

I know logically that just because I'm afraid of something happening doesn't mean it's actually going to happen. But I also wonder if being afraid of it isn't the same as knowing it's going to happen but secretly hoping it doesn't. Am I just really bad at accepting things as they are, or am I really, really unlucky?

For a long long time I was afraid of the number 13. My childhood dog died on a Friday the Thirteenth. My grandfather died on November 13. I took a date to a party once, on June 13 (many years ago), and he had sex with somebody else in the bathroom. On another Friday the Thirteenth, my boyfriend showed up to a girls' night out drunk off his ass and embarrassed the hell out of me. The more and more I was afraid of the number, the more bad things started to happen in and around that number. It was as if my negative energy brought on the negative activities.

So, I faced the fear. For the first time since childhood I took an irrational fear and head butted it. I, Destiny Fritz, got the number 13 tattooed onto my body. There's no escaping it now. I even got the tattoo on FRIDAY THE 13TH! I'm surprised I didn't contract a communicable disease, given my fear of the number. So far, it hasn't brought me bad luck. In fact it feels freeing to say "I had this fear... and now I don't. See? I can't be afraid of something tattooed on me." Because no matter what, that number is in my life every day now.

I want to be fearless. I want to love fearlessly. I want to go through my life knowing there's fear, but saying, "Fear... you don't scare me anymore." Because what kind of life is one ruled by fear? How will I ever accomplish anything if I'm afraid of what people will think, what people will say or how it will look? I've come a long way in being a confident, self assured person... but I still have a long way to go.

I think admitting the fear is the first step. When you say you're afraid of something, then you have it out of the way. You've expelled part of the fear and you now have the opportunity to come up with a solution against it, move past it, and just maybe... conquer it.

So what am I afraid of? So many things. I'm afraid I'll never finish a book. I'm afraid I'll never get that book published. I'm afraid I'll never find somebody to fully love me for who and what I actually am. I'm afraid I'll never lose this weight. I'm afraid I'll always be distracted from accomplishing my goals.

Now that I've said all of that out loud, I'm going to work on ways to solve those fears. I'm going to take them, crush them, and prove them wrong. Who's with me? Who wants to get rid of the fear?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day

When I was 6 years old my mother and father split up. It happened in the Spring of 89' and my mother found herself acting as both parental roles in my and my brother's life. It makes sense that on Father's Day that year we went to a St. Louis Cardinal's game instead of a cookout where fatherhood is celebrated. It would be the first of many Father's Days to come where I didn't see my father or get to wish him a Happy Father's Day.

Despite my dad's general lack of a presence in my life, I never really went without a father figure. For many years I looked to my grandfather to fill this role. He was a very funny man, and he was gifted with colorful word choices. If I spilled food on my shirt while eating he'd tell me to "eat like I'm riding into the wind." He was a biker, and this phrase was his way of telling me to lean over my dinner plate. If I choked on something or had a coughing fit he'd say, "Block her Henry!" I never quite figured that one out, but it was usually accompanied with a swift blow to my back to help me survive the moment. When he watched the news he called it "Library hour," and when he took a nap he called it "Happy Hour." Both phrases were his way of telling me to pipe down and be quiet for a little while. He also had the uncanny ability to assign outlandish nicknames that stuck for people he was fond of (I was Junior or Rerun). I find myself with his sense of humor inside of me. When I say something witty or give somebody a random nick name I think of him and silently thank him for his genes and his remarkable influence on my life.

When I was 12, my mother met my step-father, Terry. Through the years I've never started calling him Dad, but in a round-about way... he has become exactly that. When I'm talking to friends (or even random people) and I use the term "my parents" I am referring to my mother and my step-father. I've even referred to him as my dad or my father when talking ABOUT him. For some reason, though, I've never felt the need to actually address him as such.

The time when I first felt like he was taking a fatherly role in my life was when I was 13. I came home from a dance at school bawling my eyes out. I can't remember the name of the boy I liked back then, but he had been at the dance with another girl. It devastated me. Terry took me to get ice cream (always a good call) and he told me I was beautiful and that boy was a jerk for not seeing this about me. He said not to worry, there will be more boys. He made me feel better. He took my broken little heart and put a band-aid on it. At the time he and my mom weren't even engaged yet, but I hoped he would stick around forever.

I was there when he proposed. My mother, Terry and I were laying on a blanket in my grandparent's back yard. It was late August and we were watching the meteor showers. Only the crickets made noise as we lay in silence watching the sky. Then, out of nowhere, Terry says to my mother, "You're going to marry me, aren't you?" My mother simply said, "Yes, I am." There was no excitement. There was no ring. He didn't get down on one knee and make a speech. He simply said what was on his mind, and my mother simply replied. It took a moment for me to realize what just happened and I shot up and said, "Did you just propose to Mom?" He said, "Yeah, I think I did."

That was that. Within a year or so they were married. I was the maid of honor, and my brother gave her away. On that day our little family of three grew sizably. Not only did we gain a step-father, but we also gained two step sisters (one of whom had a baby girl) and a step brother.

Through the years Terry has been my rock more times than I'd like to admit. He taught me how to drive. He taught me how to fish. He participated in lengthy discussions about life with me. When I was 16 he helped all of us get through my grandfather's passing. He's fixed my curling irons, my car, and numerous other objects when they broke down. He went with me to the vet's office when I had to put down my childhood pet. And when I got my heart broken as an adult, he was there again with words of encouragement. In all senses of the word, except the biological sense, he has been my dad for a very long time.

In the meantime, my biological father and I had a rather rocky relationship. We had arguments and falling outs. We said things that I'm sure we both regret. We went years without speaking to each other. As of right now I haven't seen him face to face for 14 years. That's half of my life. But, as of last summer, we are communicating again.

As an adult I can look back and see the mistakes I've made with him. I was a child then, and many of them can be excused or explained by age. I also manage to see his mistakes in a clearer light. I've forgiven him completely because I know he didn't realize the monumental mistakes he was making as he made them. And holding onto that anger only makes me an angry person. I can honestly say that I love him... but he's never been a permanent fixture in my life. He's never been who I ran to when my car or my heart was broken.

This year, for the first time in over 20 years, I told him Happy Father's Day. I left it as a message on his Facebook wall. It was posted there right next to another salutation left by a young woman in his new life with his new wife. This young woman, I assume, sees him as a father figure in her life. And even though I have an amazing father in Terry, part of me is insanely jealous that my dad obviously got it right with somebody else. Where was that for me? Am I being selfish to wonder that, and wish for it a little bit? Because, you see, when I was deciding on a picture of my dad to post as my profile pic, I chose one of me and Terry. I'm sure that caused a twinge of jealousy in my father's heart. For that reason, alone, I have no right to be jealous... yet I am.

Buck up, Destiny. I tell myself that, because when I look at Terry I'm amazed at how good of a dad he is. He has excellent relationships with his daughters. He's currently helping one of them out who is coping with her own broken heart. She's like a sister to me, and I love being able to say that. This year on Father's Day he stepped up in a way that no father is required to, and in a way that some fathers never do. The thirteen year old inside of me is beaming because when I wished he'd stick around forever... that wish came true. One day when he's dancing with me at my wedding I'll thank my lucky stars that there are men in this world who are fathers to girls who don't share a shred of DNA with them.

Happy Father's Day... a day late.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Repeat Offender

Oh how nice it must be to have all that attention from him. He treats you like a goddess doesn't he? He calls and texts you regularly, and he takes you out and shows you a nice time whenever you ask him to. He probably tells you that you're beautiful, and sweet, and funny, and sexy. And I know you love it. What woman wouldn't?

He's not the first, though. He won't be the last. There is something about you that draws men in. They want you. They need you. They have to have you. Normal, upstanding, goodhearted men turn into dumb, ignorant, cavemen around you. You must put out some sort of pheromone to get this attention. I can't figure it out, but you'll never be lacking for the attention of a man.

The downside to always being the recipient of male attention is always being the recipient of negative female attention. Most of the women I know can't stand you. I think part of it is jealousy. They wish they received the validation that you get from men. Or you are receiving the validation from the man they want, or the man they had. That can spark rage inside any woman's heart.

The jealousy turns into disrespect quickly. Women talk, and, before you know it there are rumors about you floating around. Some of them are true. Some of them are not true. Still you hold your head high and you continue your path of destruction. You go from one guy to the next. As long as there is a line of men who are willing to show you the attention you so badly crave, there will be a longer line women ready to discredit your name anytime it's mentioned.

I've found that it's not always women who are quick to bad mouth you, either. You tend to infiltrate groups of guy friends. When one of them doesn't work out for you, you float to another one... and then another one. Before you know it you've made your way through the group of friends, and they all think bad things of you. They tell their friends, who tell their girlfriends. And then half the population of an entire town knows about you without actually knowing you. It's sad really.

It all reads as insecurity. You leave yourself open to this interpretation. It makes sense, though, because what self respecting girl would spread herself around like that? The proof is in the pudding sweetheart. It wouldn't be so negatively put upon you if you seemed to have standards, or morals, or remorse for when you actually hurt people.

You do hurt people, you know. You hurt a lot of women who date these guys. Although, I kind of think you do these women a favor by showing them how much of a dog their man can be. Sure, he can smell the scent you're putting out there, but if he were seriously committed to another woman then he wouldn't fall for your charms. When he does... that other woman should see the light.

But, you also hurt guys. Because not all of these guys who go after you are dogs. Not all of them are previously attached to another girl. Some of them are really good guys at the core. They're hard working. They are genuine. They aren't assholes... not all of them. And you lead them on. You make them believe you are in it to win it. But then somebody else picks up what you throw out there and you can't turn down that attention. You'll either cheat on that good man or toss him aside with the evening trash. And then he's devastated. He never saw it coming.

Well, he might have seen it coming if you had been honest from the get go about the kind of person you are. But you're never honest from the beginning of anything. You pretend. You figure out what it is that they are into... where their passion lies. Then you pretend their passion is your passion. You don't have an opinion of your own (not one you'd actually say during these preliminary periods) and you certainly won't show them anything that's real about you. You only put on this little show, which makes them think they've struck gold. Finally... a woman who is exactly what he wants... only because she makes herself appear that way, fellas.

Eventually those true colors show, though, don't they darling? It's hard as hell and exhausting as fuck to keep all that up. You might wait until you have another man waiting in the wings to let these real facets of your personality shine through, or you find yourself slipping and showing them too early. However it happens, he will start to see he was duped. You're not the girl he thought you were... instead you are an immature drip of a person who can't take responsibility for her own actions. And when he calls you on it, you will call him an asshole and blame him for everything wrong about the pretend relationship the two of you just had.

Never fear, though, sweetheart. There's another man waiting to woo you. And it doesn't matter that you were only thinking of him as a friend just a week ago. He's here now... and he's giving you that attention. He's distracting you from the last guy. He validates your existence... and he starts the process all over again.

The real bitch of it is, you're not a bad person. You actually do have a good personality. You just decide to shelve it and swap it out for whatever it is you think this guy wants you to be. I wish you'd be honest with yourself... for once... you might find somebody you don't have to play games with or be fake with. Then it won't matter what anybody says or what you've done in the past, because you'll finally realize that it's not about them... it's not about pleasing them, getting them to notice you... it's about making you happy and respecting yourself enough to stop this very destructive behavior.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Over the last week I have found myself among some pretty influential company. My dearest friends.

The unfortunate event of a death in the family brought home Rob. He recently moved out east and had been enjoying coastal living when he was informed that his cousin died in a drunk driving accident. He made his way back to Illinois to pay his respects. While he was home I had the pleasure of spending a couple of evenings with him. As usual, these evenings were soaked with alcohol, long conversations, laughter and insight.

He and I have never lacked for conversation, and we've never been afraid to delve into ourselves during these conversations. We will talk about anything from broad topics like religion and politics to more focused points such as personal growth and internal struggles. Through these rather therapeutic discussions I've learned more about myself, and my own capabilities. One of the things he said this week was "Let go of your ego."

I don't consider myself to be terribly egotistical, but, I suppose everybody is to an extent. Letting go of one's ego is probably an entirely impossible task. I'm sure even the most silent monk will still think of himself more than he thinks of others. It's a natural instinct. However, Rob had a point. If I let go of my ego, I will essentially make myself more useful to others. By making myself more useful, I become a better person. When that happens I can think of myself in a better way... therefore boosting my ego. Does that make sense at all?

Rob wasn't the only friend challenging me in my journey called life this last week. My friend, Jessica, unknowingly joined him. She recently obtained her Master's Degree in Social Work, and she's a victim of the economy. She's keeping tabs on how many resume's she has sent out and she's rapidly approaching the number 50. Surely she's also doing a lot of her own soul searching.

I told her I have a new outlook on life. I've decided that no definition can be applied to me. I've observed that people tend to define themselves, each other, and their situations. They say to themselves, "Am I better than he is because I have a better job?" Or they assign definitions to those individuals who they feel threatened by. Through doing this we limit ourselves and our peers. So I've decided I have no definition, and if you want to define me I will defy your definition. I will not fit into your category and you can't make me.

As I explained this to her she played devil's advocate and said to me, "If there were one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be?" I came up with an answer quickly, though I won't share it here. It's private. She said it wasn't society that wants this from me, it's me. And changing myself won't change my definition since I refuse to have one. She's a smart one... and she managed to get me to do even more thinking.

As you may have noticed I've changed the look of my blog. I am no longer mundane and predictable. I'm revising my life and taking power over it. These changes are happening and they will take place. I'm not resistant to them.

Thank you, my friends, for being who you are. You push the limits and dare to ask questions. This is why I love you. Don't stop doing it, because through your bravery and your insight I am propping myself up and moving forward. I love you all so so much.