May 24, 2014

playing it safe




I'm a worrier.  Have been since I was a little girl. I began to struggle with insomnia in the sixth grade. The night before my first day of middle school, I lay in bed staring at the ceiling with my hands wrung, thinking about what the next day would hold. I worried that the 7th and 8th graders would be mean to me, I worried about remembering my locker combination, I worried about bells and class periods and not being able to make friends. I distinctly remember the knot I had in my stomach all night, and my mom sitting on my bed, stroking my hair until I pretended to be asleep so she wouldn't feel obligated to stay any longer.

I sleep better these days, but new endeavors still terrify me and ignite the same feelings of dread. 

Neal and I met on eHarmony. Sometimes I forget this, because it's so bizarre, but we really did. We communicated online for a few weeks before our first (two hour) phone call. At the end of the call, Neal laid it out: "Dani, I'm not looking for a pen pal in Kansas. I'm looking for the real deal. Something serious. Just so you know, so there are no pretenses." After we hung up, my heart was beating fast and my face flushed. What if this guy was the one? It seemed impossible at the time. He lived 1,000 miles away. He was 8 years older than me. I had just started nursing school and didn't need a distraction. I felt sick. For an entire week, I was nauseous and barely able to eat. The idea of having a relationship with someone in such an unsafe, unrealistic manner was giving me major, major anxiety. But I liked him. A lot. I liked him so much I felt even sicker. We kept talking. And talking. One month later, he flew to Kansas so we could meet for the first time. He applied for a job while he was in Wichita. He actually wanted to move here. It was ridiculous. It was absurd. My friends and co-workers couldn't hide their trepidation. This guy was going to quit his stable job, pack his belongings, and move across the country for someone he just met? What if it didn't work out? It probably wouldn't work out! Worst idea ever! Red flags! Warning! Warning! I was ridden with fear. I could think of a million "responsible" reasons not to move forward with the relationship. But I liked him. I loved him. He moved here. We got married. We have a fat baby.

Our marriage is by far the best thing I've ever invested in. Neal is kind, patient, supportive, and makes me laugh every single day. He makes me feel valuable and loved. He is teaching me to be fearless. If I had been rational and put the breaks on our crazy, eHarmony, "foolish" frenzy, where would I be today? I wouldn't have the life that I am in love with. It's definitely not perfect. Our marriage is not perfect. But I cannot imagine being with or having kids with anyone else.

We are currently making a major decision, one of those life-changers. It has caused heart-racing, facial flushing, and sleepless nights for anxiety girl. I can think of a million reasons to play it safe. My fearless husband can think of just as many to follow the road less taken, to take a chance on an opportunity that we may look back on as one of the best choices we've ever made.  I'm scared.  I've been digging my heels in the ground as Neal tries to drag our daughter and I on this insane adventure. But this morning I started to think about the last time I made an irrational, crazy decision. A life-changer. When I could think of so many reasons not to. And I feel a rush of excitement and a sense of trust that everything will be totally okay. Because regardless of what we choose, I know I have the craziest, best choice I ever made at my side. 

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