Being Brave

I read Joan’s post about me being brave, and instead of just replying to it, I thought I would write my own post.

This past weekend I made that fateful drive down to see Joan. This would be trip number 5 this year. But this time it was the worst yet. I seriously thought I was going to have to pull over not 3 miles from home. I had panic attacks the whole way there. I didn’t know why it was so bad this time, but it was. I finally get into town, and called Joan, because she was at the place setting up, not at home. She stood on the side of the road, and waved me on.

I got there an hour early, so I thought we would be basically alone. We were not. There were already about 50 bikers there. I really had a difficult time. Trust me, bikers do not scare me in the least, I like bikers. I love riding on the back of a bike. My ex-fiancee took me to Sturgis one year, and I had a great time. I have been to other biker rallies, no problem.

So why was I freaking out this time. Veterans. Male Veterans. I was terrified that I would know someone who had hurt me, or sabotaged me, or didn’t stand up for me, or just that they might hurt me. I had to keep going outside, and distanced myself quite a bit. I really just wanted to get on the bike and ride, and get as far away from these scary Vets as soon as possible. Luckily for me, my ride was with the Gentle Giant I call Hagrid, who was the Best Man at Joan’s wedding, where I was the Maid of Honor. I knew that he would protect me, but he has no idea what Joan and I have been through. Her husband does, but has no clue about the panic attacks.

So, finally we get on the road, and I am still having panic attacks. It was over an hour before we hit the first stop, and that is when I really thought I was going to have to be left behind at the American Legion in that town. It was so crowded, and every where you looked there was a Vet. Joan said she could see it in my smile, and got me outside so I could breathe. I am not claustrophobic, but 100 male soldiers in a tiny space, yeah, I was totally freaking out. I couldn’t feel my hands or lips, the vision was going black, and I kept a smile on my face that wasn’t convincing at all.

Somehow I managed to make it on, and after that, I was totally fine. Not another panic attack. I even got brave enough to go leave Joan for a few minutes on occasion for the rest of the day. And I was able to open up a little and joke with these men that I was terrified with just a few hours earlier.  Just knowing that Joan was seriously looking out for me helped. And I really did have the time of my life. What a way to celebrate my 40th Bday.

Thank you Joan for being there, being a wonderful friend, and for always watching my back. I love you man!


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