Friday, November 26, 2010

Full of Fear

Full of fear...fear of dogs that is.  There are some caveats: only dogs I don't know and dogs that are barking aggressively.  Ever since I took my jogging habit to the neighborhood streets shortly after college, I have realized this fear pretty regularly.  My gauntlet, (cue creepy theme music here), is a long straight stretch of fence lined path in a suburban Colorado area that is bound to have a medium to large sized dog in at least every other yard.  Holy moly - I feel the anxiety rising even as I type.     

Over the years, I have sought to confront the fear through a variety of tactics: flooding, systematic desensitisation, meditation, deep breathing, singing hymns, all with variable levels and lengths of success.  And yes - all while jogging.  But the truth remains - I am afraid of dogs I don't know.  (Okay - even those that don't bark aggressively). 

And have I even mentioned invisible fences that give this white girl a heart-a-stroke every time I encounter one.  Startle reflex does not even begin to describe it.

Enter my sister.  Meredith and I took a run last Saturday while visiting my parents home in Maryland.  I was enjoying the benefits of lesser altitude and she was hating the time/exercise constraints of being a mommy of two, full time employee, and MBA student.  Enter dog - snarling, woofing, foaming, hunting - Lizzy - FREAKING OUT!  ...on the inside ... or so I thought.  I swear, I didn't even flinch.  And my sister calmly gasps, "Liz - they have have an invisible fence.  See the way the dog is running along the perimeter...its fine."  It's fine.  It's fine.  It really is fine.  I could have cried.

Some fears linger, get stuck, return, no matter the effort, surrender, or softening.  But their power dissipates surprisingly quickly when someone sees the fear and the truth.  Especially when they know you and can detect it as you do...for you.   Especially when you know they would kick the bloodthirsty predator's booty if it even got close to you.  (Meredith is 5'2" and as feisty as they come).

BTW - I really do love dogs I know.  Maebe, Zeke, Bailey, Angel, Sakari, Radley, Charlie to name a few

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Wow - my life has been full recently!  Normally I would say I have been busy, (and my schedule has been that at points), but it is more than that - and better than that.  I am thankful. blogging.  But I am recommitting - once again.  And some of this fullness needs to be shared.  I am brimming over.  More to come.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hope and HIV

If you have a chance to read this short article:  When HIV babies become adults @

These young people are so inspirational to me.  They have had to deal with realities far too early and have been shaped by things outside of their control that most of us spend a lot of energy trying to avoid: illness, pain, death, loneliness.  Their snapshot stories carry grit and hope. 

This story hit me hard on several levels:
1.  Hope.  Over the last handful of decades the stigma, cruelty, and judgment of HIV/AIDS patients is being chipped away at.  At least to the point where our newspapers run stories about these brave young people. And there is money and time being invested in treatment and cures, and in turn babies born with HIV worldwide.
2.  Awareness.  Public Health Education makes a difference.  I mean - is this me validating my undergrad degree or what? , but seriously - awareness works on our fears and can change behavior.
3. Resilience.  Can you imagine developing as a human with your identity already wrapped around something like HIV/AIDS?  I mean, not just being sick, but people being overtly afraid of the sickness you have?  As a preschooler?  a teenager?  ... your peers; their parents?  And taking experimental drugs that have life-altering side-effects?  And doing this while bouncing from home to home because your parent/s died of the same thing?  These young pioneers, (not due to their choice, but because of their willingness), are a picture of resilience.

Friday, November 5, 2010


In the last year I have been struck by my ways of thinking around personal responsibility.  Before this last year or so, I would have said I thought it was important, but I was not as aware of how deeply this is ingrained into my fiber.

I am not sure I decided to value responsibility from the get go; to me it feels like it has always been there as a guiding principle.  Probably thanks to some combination of my family, culture, genetic predisposition and a multitude of other factors, "I came by it honestly."  It has had its upsides like never not turning in an assignment, (like - for real) and it has had its brutal sides like the gut punch of shame I have felt too many times when I do something human, but feels so very sub-human, (like - well - you name it).

So, I have been in this process of observing my "shoulds" and "oughts" around my own and other's responsibility.  And while I am still processing where that fits in my philosophical and theological paradigm, (which is probably somewhere in the existentialismish realm), I am happy to say that I am feeling much more responsible in my thinking and relating around personal responsiblity.  Sigh.