When my sister came to visit me in Florida, I was exhilarated. I made so many plans for us. I was going to take her sightseeing and shopping, out to dinner and of course the beach. I was determined to show her a good time. We haven’t seen each other in such a long time, that the thought of being able to hang out with one of my favorite people in the world gave me so much happiness… and anxiety… and fear.
My list of things to do and see, was longer than the coast of Florida. Trust me, I am a pro when it comes to entertaining. The best restaurants and cool shopping centers, not to mention brunch at the beach and so on. But all that planning came with a cost. The cost of compromising the real reason why you want to spend time with people who you love. The connection. The being humans together. And of course the shopping, always good old shopping and coffee. I exhausted myself getting my list and reservations done. I even planned to take her to a hotel in Miami for the weekend. I was on a mission to show her that it was worth her coming to Florida to see me.
As soon as she recovered from her long trip, I was all ready like an event planner, just waiting to give orders on where and what we would be doing next. She seemed tired, but I was so focused on keeping her busy, that I missed that, and took her around town for the whole afternoon, to complete my endless list of things to do. Although we did have a good time, and it was lovely to reminisce about the past and recollect our great memories, she still seemed very tired.
At the end of the day, I took her to the best steak house in town. I was convinced that all she needed was a good and robust meal to give her some energy. After the waiter handed us the menus, I saw that she was having difficulty ordering, and I immediately jumped in, giving her suggestions on which dish to try. But she gave me this long and sad look and said ” did you forget I’m a vegetarian?”. I stared at her without an answer. The truth is, I did forget. And apparently I forgot way more than just her dietary options.
On the way back home, I had a full blown anxiety attack. Sweaty palms, racing heart and tunnel vision to the point, I had to stop the car. Being the good psychologist that my sister is, she told me to keep breathing slowly, and she held my hand, just like she did, when my parents were divorcing and I was little and terrified of my future. She was there. Always there to remind me to not fear “fear”. To embrace it and go through it. To remind me that I am worth any trip.
My list ended up in the garbage and we ended up together. Embracing our fears and holding hands. Nutella and ice cream were also part of our elaborate lazy afternoons by the pool, laying on the grass, laughing and remembering who we truly were. Sisters in fear and bravery.
Stay peaceful and face fear.