The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.
What's the one thing that, when you bring it up and think about it, makes your heart feel like the picture at the top of this post? Dark, cold, icy, forlorn... not exactly great words for sharing with people (and especially oneself) to invoke a "warm and fuzzy" feeling inside.
I know what it is for me and it has been there for as long as I can remember. My father's family made jokes about it when they'd ask me about this and I would tell them the answer. Mind you, this conversation would take place when I was as young as six or seven years old;
"How many kids do you want to have when you grow up, Richard? You'll be such a good daddy to them!"
"None. I don't want any kids and I'm never going to have any."
The laughter that answer would provoke as the "Oh, you don't know what you're talking about!" comments would fly.
But I was dead serious. I had no intention of having any children. You see, I wasn't wildly in love with my life as I was known as a "serious little kid." I was picked on by peers and had a liberal-but-overprotective mother with whom I shared a complex relationship that had us talking at depths quite unusual for mothers with sons of that age.
But she taught me to read by the time I was three; a true blessing and just as real of a curse. Being smart made me a target and it's ironic now that as I grow older, surprising occasions have had me speaking with a few of my classmates from the grammar school days of the '60's. "Sure we picked on you," I was told. "You were so smart that you scared us and that was how we handled it!"
Hearing it said these years later just blew my mind. However, I do not claim the role of "victim" in any manner. I admit to myself yet again, there are no accidents. Things come to us by choices made either "above or below the waterline" of consciousness. Being aware only helps one make better choices (hopefully!)
If I could change things now, would I? Nope, not one thing. I still do not want kids and do not feel that I "missed out" on anything. Having had a vasectomy almost thirty years ago cinched that decision and I've never looked back. That choice came after a joint decision between myself and my partner to have an abortion back in the 1980's and I decided that having walked that road once, it would never be trod again.
Was that scene probably played out based on the longstanding belief that I've shared here? Seems likely, but who is really to say? Playing "would've, should've" games do nothing but royally screw up your "now," and really, that IS the only time that we all have.
So although I played Mr. Emererson's "Always do what you are afraid to do" game for the purpose of this exercise, it is not one that I recommend unless you know that doing so will help to free you rather than just scare the shit out of you. To me, that seems to serve no purpose other than wasting energy.
Be conscious in your choosing. It makes the rest of the story that much more inviting... kids, or no kids.