What scares you? Life’s Biggest Con
What scares you? Life’s Biggest Con. What stories do you make up to con yourself into holding back? What would you do if you didn’t con yourself into being scared?
I’ve done something that scared the heck out of me. But it also turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done!
Two years ago, I discovered that my Dad needed a kidney and as soon as I realized I might be the answer he needed, the voices in my head began to resist and shout!
“NO WAY can I give up a kidney! Are you kidding me!?
I need both kidneys! I can’t do it!”
Fear struck me down in an instant. I had never given up a body part. For that matter, I had never even stayed in hospital.
Despite the fear, I mentally considered the idea … and I the more I thought about it, the more terrified I became. What if I had kidney failure in the future? Would I be able to have kids? What if something went wrong and I had impaired health for the rest of my life?
Don’t we need both kidneys?
All the while, Dad never asked me or any other member of our family for a kidney. I decided to get tested on my own. I was the only one in my family that got tested and I felt isolated. I felt like Dad’s health was my responsibility alone. The fear held an even firmer grip on my mind.
And to accelerate the mental spin I was already in, there were plenty of well-meaning people ready to offer up their unsolicited opinion to help build and fortify my “wall of fear.”
These were just a few of the fantastic and ridiculous comments I heard:
• “I know someone who donated a kidney and they got really fat as a result.
You might get really fat”. (A young woman’s worst fear!)
• “Will you be able to have children?”
• “You’ll have to give up alcohol.”
• “You’ll have to change your diet, become a vegetarian.”
• “What happens if your kidney fails and you don’t have a spare?”
• “What if you’re in a car accident and your remaining kidney gets hurt?”
• “What about the yin and yang and flow through your body that they refer to in Chinese medicine? Losing a kidney will interrupt that and ruin your health!”
In the midst of all that, I decided to move forward. Dad told me I could pull out at anytime and he wouldn’t think the worst of me. But I had made up my mind and I began to rise above the fear, rise above my own con job.
By the time the day of the operation arrived, I was actually calm.
When I awoke from the surgery, the doctors had me on a drip line and added 7kg of fluid to my body – even my chicken legs were fat! And they had pumped my body cavity full of gas. My surgeons joked that I looked like I should be in the maternity ward!
But, guess what? That was the worst of it. Despite my fears and the warnings of well-meaning friends, there were no complications and my recovery was quick. I was only in the hospital for 4 days. It only took a week for the fluid to leave my body and a few short months for the swelling to deflate completely. I was dancing – albeit somewhat carefully – after just 2 weeks, and returned to work after 4 weeks.
Now, giving up a kidney should be pretty scary for anyone, right? It’s an important body part and you can’t get it back once it’s gone. It certainly was a scary prospect for me! But I did it, and the truth is that it wasn’t a big deal. It wasn’t a big deal at all! It was only my thinking that made it so.
It’s sort of like bungy jumping. The scariest part is the fear you con yourself into believing before you jump. After you jump, it’s exhilarating.
I realized that I was incredibly fortunate to have been given an opportunity to donate my kidney. With that realization, though, came an insightful question that stopped me in my tracks:
If I could give up a kidney … if it really wasn’t such a big deal … then what else could I have done if I hadn’t let fear get in the way?
I could … I CAN … do so much more! I got it! I wasn’t living up to my potential and I was 100% responsible. The only thing holding me back was me! I have since decided that I am not going to waste another minute.
I LIVE, not exist.
I’ve got massive goals and thoroughly ENJOY every moment of my life.
It’s been over two years now and I’m delighted to report that Dad hasn’t rejected the kidney. My gift has given Dad a far superior quality of life, has had zero adverse effects on my health, and the whole experience has undoubtedly brought Dad & I closer. I have realized that the joy is truly in the giving.
And I understand that fear is simply a con game we play on ourselves. It is all in our mind.
By acting in the face of fear and giving up my kidney, I received the greatest gift imaginable. I feel fantastic! My life is utterly different now, I LOVE it! From this experience, I’ve acquired a massive desire to wake people up, to let them know that they should never let fear hold them back, to inspire them to live NOW …and to make the world a better place.
I’m up for big stuff … and I’m going for it.
What are you up for? You’ll only discover what you’re capable of doing if you are willing to do it afraid!
Author:– Adrienne Rich
Auckland, New Zealand
Born in Baltimore in 1929, Adrienne Rich is the author of nearly 20 volumes of poetry. In 2004, she won the Book Critics Circle Award for her book, The School Among the Ruins: Poems 2000-2004. Rich has received the Bollingen Prize, the Lannan Lifetime Achievement Award, the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the National Book Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship. She has also authored several books of nonfiction prose.
only wild and wavering
I wanted to choose words that even you
would have to be changed by
Take the word
of my pulse, loving and ordinary
Send out your signals, hoist
your dark scribbled flags
My hands are knotted in the rope
and I cannot sound the bell
My hands are frozen to the switch
and I cannot throw it
When it’s finished and we’re lying
in a stubble of blistered flowers
eyes gaping, mouths staring
dusted with crushed arterial blues
I’ll have done nothing
even for you?
Questions for Reflection: “Implosions”
- How would you describe the mood and character of the world? Compare your ideas to those of Rich’s?
- Why does Rich feel that her words would change us? What do these words say about conflict, violence and the possibilities of war?
- How is Rich’s pulse different from how she views the world?
- How would you say that the offer of the poet’s hand in an extension of peace?
- What are the signs of distress in this poem? How do these signs relate to the title of the poem, “Implosions?”
- How does this poem signal “war” within oneself?
- What is the significance of the very last line of the poem, “I’ll have done nothing even for you?”
- How might “Implosions” be a call to rethink the mood and character of the world?