I’ve heard many times the advice about doing things that scare you. Do something that scares you everyday. Face your fears. Hug your monsters. But I’ve never really gotten it. Why do I want to do things that scare me when I’m always trying to avoid them? I’m thinking of this now because something really scary happened to me and there was no avoiding it. My baby girl had a seizure in my arms last week, and although she turned out to be fine and I found out febrile seizures are actually too common in young children, it scared me like nothing in the world has ever scared me. All the fears I’ve ever had since becoming a parent were condensed into those few moments, real, visceral, life altering, unspeakable, almost unbearable fear. I’ve never been so present and out of my mind at the same time. Am I different? I think so. Now I’ve known what it is to feel in the moment that I was losing something that I love more than my life. One strange thing about this experience that I’ve noticed – as I settle back into my normal routine and am even able to write this – is I feel like the things that scared me yesterday are not so scary today. They seem silly almost. The things that were holding me back, keeping me small, keeping me hidden – don’t matter. I would gladly take that experience and erase it, have it not have happened, but it did, and I will never forget it, but I will let it make me stronger. And now I’ll hear those phrases – do things that scare you and hug your monsters, differently – realizing that it’s a privilege to have a choice in the matter. You can choose to do those small things that scare you, that keep you stuck, you can choose to make yourself stronger or you can wait for life to wake you up, but trust me that’s a much more painful way to go about it.