Of Fear and Apologies

Fear is a powerful emotion. It literally causes changes in body and brain chemistry, prompts visceral, physical reactions, and can provoke us to react in ways that are less than, well, rational and kind.

Sigh.

Sadly, I know this firsthand.

After the election, I was terrified. Not just by the direction the country had chosen, but because of some very tangible, local threats against me personally. My tires were slashed. Nasty letters were written. Slurs were scrawled across my car.

I was scared out of my mind.

People who know far more about intelligence than me have said that people react in one of two ways to fear – the fight or flight mechanism. Typically, my response is fight. But not on Wednesday, November 9th.

I’m sad, and slightly ashamed, to say that THAT day, my response was flight.

I ran.

Went into hiding for a few days.

And worse than that, I ran from someone I cared about without regard for her feelings or trying to have a rational conversation.

Yes, she agrees with what I consider 100% counter to an inclusive, kind worldview. Yes, she made comments that made me cringe….but the reality is that those things aren’t ALL she is.

She was also incredibly funny.

Supportive.

Thoughtful.

Generous.

Fun to spend time with.

Caring.

Sigh.

I fucked up.

Badly.

I allowed myself to react in fear instead of love, and ran from someone I care for deeply. And I did it in a way that was just messy and hurtful.

If my heart hurt, what must hers be feeling? To just be dropped like she didn’t matter? Like all the good things were negated?

True, our relationship going forward probably would have looked a lot different, post-election.  But I didn’t even give it a chance.

And that was wrong.

It’s been three months, and I still miss her.

Still care about her.

And more and more, I’ve realized that my knee-jerk fear-reaction was the wrong one.

Who knows if we’d even still be friends today, what with my resisting, protesting, and very vocal speaking out….but she deserved the chance for us to try.

I denied her that.

And that was so incredibly wrong.

So today, I wrote her an email. I don’t expect to hear back from her. I was a jerk, and don’t deserve to just waltz back in to her life, but SHE deserves an apology, so I sent it, knowing full well I may never hear back.

Sometimes, fear-reactions lead to colossal fuck ups. This is one of those times.

Apologies can’t always fix things…but  when I realize that one is deserved, it’s time to fight the fear and give it, no matter the outcome.

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