I'm made a connection today. And it's been a tough day. It's easy to be strong when the pain isn't there. But when it is, it's like I'm fighting the deepest demons. Even the slightest stab in one foot and there is a crack for the fear to enter my mind and--like a spark in a tinder-dry forest, it ignites, explodes and spreads until I am consumed by it. To stop being afraid—that’s the key. Not just fear of the pain and injury and disability, but fear in all aspects of my life. It plagues me, haunts me, follows me like a bear in the woods. The dark shadow in the bushes, waiting, lurking, ever-present, a constant companion. I need to be fear-less. Not reckless, but fear-less—without fear. And to look at my body with love. Those parts that hurt, to take a good look at them and love them and feel their strength. So after walking five km despite the stabbing pain in my right foot, and then taking my dog to the beach, I came home...fought the temptation to put on an ice pack (because there's nothing wrong, no inflammation, so no ice pack needed!), took a bath and then proceeded to do some light stretching. As I was stretching, I looked at my right ankle, which was/is killing me, and was surprised by how strong and healthy it looked. This is not an injured ankle, I thought. There's no swelling, there's no discoloration, there's no bleeding, no bruising--nothing but a beautiful, strong, solid ankle. Why have I been so angry at it for so long? And so terrified of it too? To think that it has actually crossed my mind to cut it off--to go to the doctor and ask for it to be removed and to get an artificial one in its place. Of course, I would never do that. But it has crossed my mind. And my doctor would think I was mad. And so he should. It's a perfectly good ankle. I should never have feared this ankle, this foot, or the other one for that matter. And then it clicked. I have been living in fear. Not just of my feet, or another body part, but of everything...The mind and the body are so connected. I need to conquer the fear, not of my feet (although them too), but of everything. I need to shake it off and live without terrorizing myself with constant fear. Not an easy task, but vital to all aspects of my life. Does my foot still hurt? Yes. But am I afraid? No. I am not afraid. Oddly, I've been having this urge to run. Of course, I'm too terrified to actually run. But I feel a physical urge, almost need (and I'm not a runner, at least I haven't been in ages), as if that would break the spell. I'm not sure if I'm going to follow that urge or not. It seems crazy. But then again, if there's nothing wrong with me, would running a couple of blocks really cripple me? No, it wouldn't. It couldn't. I think I want to feel free. I want to burst out of my bubble of fear. To break it, blast through it, not with delicate, fearful steps, which are just that—fearful—but to really just look the fear in the face and say "f*** you" and go running, free as a child.