Hiding my Fear behind a Mask

Do you “believe” in masks? I am not sure actually. What I DO believe in is not dying LOL!

I am the Shelter Manager at an animal shelter and we have been closed since the middle of March. Next week, however, we will open back up. For appointments only, but we will actually be there for the people that inevitably pop in. I have installed a hand sanitizer right inside the door and I will have a basket of masks for those people who “forget” to wear one. I am NOT convinced they work but I would rather be safe than sorry! Today I have someone coming in to relinquish cat. Although I want to be a helpful member of my community, I have a sick feeling about meeting her. Not her necessarily, just strangers in general actually! It turns out that wishing for things to start moving forward was a nice little dream but I am pretty terrified of that happening. I know that if I am supposed to catch the COVID-19 virus, God has already written that. I know that He has plans and I am on a need to know basis with them. Does the fact that I am afraid anyway mean I don’t have faith?

I guess not doing something because I am afraid and I don’t trust that it will work out; and doing it EVEN THOUGH I am afraid because I know God has got me is the definition of faith for me. I am pretty sure if God didn’t want us to feel fear he wouldn’t have put that emotion in our makeup. Except when the Disciples were afraid during the storm on the sea , Jesus kind of chastised them for being afraid.  “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” – Mark 4:35-40. So which is it? Can someone explain this to me?!

Off the rails!

Hi there! I am not writing about day 15 of my 21 days of gratitude today because I have something else to talk about. I wasn’t going to “bother you” with this, but then I remembered that I am not trying to be a peacemaker at my own expense anymore. So without further adu…

Standing up for myself and saying what I really feel is not an easy habit to get into. I have actually had times where I have said, “I’m fine” and then turned around as I am walking away to say “actually…” It isn’t that I don’t want to say how I really feel. I don’t actually know what is holding me back!

Maybe I am afraid of hurting someone else’s feelings. Even though I am putting my self first (for the first time in a long time) I still can’t seem to shake the feeling that my opinion or whatever it is will hurt the other person. Then I am not going to feel good, and isn’t that the point of putting myself first?!

And who am I to think my opinion is that important anyway? Maybe no one actually cares what I think and they are only asking because it is the right thing to do. That last part is my crazy, Frank, trying to cause trouble but he has a point! People routinely ask “how are you doing?” when they don’t actually care how I am doing. It is just a polite way to start a conversation. Maybe asking someone’s opinion is being nice because I am there but if I wasn’t it isn’t like that person would think I am going to see what Amanda thinks and call me! But my opinion does matter to some people and I am usually knowledgeable. If I don’t know I will find out and get back to them.

How I approach a situation is another piece in this puzzle. Instead of thinking about what I can say that will make the other person happy without lying of course or/and will keep the good vibes in the room going strong, I need to think about how I actually FEEL about the situation. And instead of just blurting that out, I also need to think about how the other person will react. Not that I am censoring myself anymore, but I don’t have to be a jerk about it, either!

The other part of this is being able to read people. I have always noticed how people are standing or what expressions they have on their face, mostly so I can tell if what I am saying is upsetting them or agitating them. I can change course quickly before it becomes a wave that crashes over the situation and wipes away any happiness or calm. Except now, I need to read their emotions so I can prepare to defend my opinion if they seem like they don’t agree. But still share my opinion, no matter what the body language is telling me.

It is a learning curve, for sure. I learned how to say exactly the right thing most of the time, even if it wasn’t actually how I felt. Learning how to say how I feel without alienating my friends and making people think I am some stuck up jerk will take time but it is doable!