Tuesday, December 13, 2011


There are times when we allow fear to run our lives.

Don't get me wrong, there are times when fear is very useful. Fear can save our lives. Fear lets us know when we are about to do something potentially dangerous. But there are also times when fear tries to hold us back when we should move forward. If we give in to it, if we choose to let it run our lives, we can end up looking back and regretting the opportunities wasted.

After I graduated 8th grade, my parents sent me to a christian boarding school. They had a work study program, meaning all students were required to work and the money earned was put toward their school bill. The summer before my freshman year I worked in the greenhouse. I had a coworker whose name I will change to Eden. She had long red hair, glasses, and, I have since discovered, she was my type. She was attracted to me as well, and we started hanging out outside of work.

That's when the teasing started. People teased her for being overweight, and they teased me for spending time with the "fat girl". Looking back, I should have stood up for her and myself. But I didn't. I was afraid of what my peers thought about me. I chose to let that fear make my decisions for me. So I stopped hanging out with her. That choice hurt her so much that she got her parents to take her out of that school.

I have regretted that decision ever since.

Why am I writing about this now? Because I work with an attractive woman who reminds me a lot of Eden. More importantly the situation feels very similar. This is the first time since entering a polyamorous relationship that I have wanted to ask someone out. I was afraid to ask her though. I was afraid of rejection. I was afraid of how she and others might react to finding out that I am poly. And so my subconscious dug up this memory and shoved it in my face.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone does things they are not proud of. The important thing is that you learn from them and make better decisions the next time that situation comes up. So I asked her out. She didn't freak out. But she did turn me down. And I am ok with that. She needs someone who will be only hers and who she doesn't have to share with anybody else. I respect her relationship needs and I am thankful that she considered my request and gave me a reasonable and well thought out answer. The point is I didn't allow my fear to make my decision for me.

Now when I tell this story to my daughter, I can be proud of the choices I made. When faced with the same decision to follow my heart or give in to fear, I chose to follow my heart. And that is all we can do.