Living Fearful: How I Fell Down In Life and Got Back Up Again

living fearful - dionaIt’s been way too long since I’ve had a great contribution from a terrific writer! To fix that, I’ve asked Diona Culbertson of Mommy Ways to Win and Write Now Matters to join us on The Freelance Dance. 

She’s here today to talk about spiritual healing and the power of hope. Take it away, Diona!

As a child, who would I have told that I was a product of a troubled home life? I was taught at a young age to never bring up the family’s dirty laundry. So I grew up learning how to keep my mouth shut.

Being scared someone would find out we weren’t a perfect family was extremely stressful.

I’ve lived in fear for most of my adult life. I never told anyone. I put on a brave face and tried to ignore it. It was always there, staring at me. And I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t get away. I was ashamed to be so afraid.

I pretended there was nothing wrong, all in the hopes that the bad stuff would work itself out or disappear altogether.

Who would I have told that I’m a former runaway? Yes, I was a runner. When things got really stressful, I would take off. My junior year of high school, I could not cope with being unable to find my niche. My only friend was running away, and I didn’t want to get left behind. Without thinking much about it, I embarked on a lonely journey. This taught there are other lost souls too. However, I still have to live with the guilt that I scared my parents horribly and became a source of jokes for months

I learned all about other lost souls. Despite that, I still live with the guilt. My parents were terrified the entire time. Meanwhile, I sat the butt of jokes.

Married Life

I eloped the day after graduation. Efforts to get away from my home life only to find out that married life had the same kind of problems. Being four states away from home didn’t make anything any better. Everything was worse. My husband and father of my child spent his time at his girlfriend’s house.

I thought of adultery as a married way of life and had another child in the vain hope of saving my marriage. When it failed, I did what I thought was right and found someone else.

How embarrassing the way everything transpired. I never asked for help or guidance but I could have.

My Second Marriage

Husband number two was an alcoholic. A parent with an addiction is a sad thing. The spouse can’t control the situation, and the children suffer terrible emotional consequences. Now a two-time loser in the marriage department, I didn’t understand what was happening to me or why.

How could I have messed up so bad? I let a pill-popping alcoholic talk me into marriage. So once again, I was in a no-win situation. I had people depending on me then. I only knew how to exist by keeping silent about all the bad and ugly that my world had forced me to endure. So again, I said nothing.

I Turned to Food

My only solace was food. This one was easy. I never had to say a word. Everyone could see exactly how I was coping with every pound that held me hostage to my unhappy story. Eating made me feel good. I wanted something to be good in my life.

Obesity isn’t like a badge or hat. Yet, I wore it for all to see. It’s just another example of what I couldn’t seem to get an understanding of – my world inside my head. I wasn’t hungry. In fact, it was the extreme opposite. My jaws hurt and my stomach churned with every empty wrapper. My body begged me to stop.

A Gay Family

We were a gay family. Rather, my brother was gay. But when one member comes out of the proverbial closet, everyone else does, too. What was I scared of? My brother was forced by a judgmental society to confess what he was. It was only natural because we lived in a small town. It was practically headline news at the time.

I feared for his safety. I felt the need to hide who he was and make excuses for him. I went so far as to hang up a picture of him and a woman he worked with, so I didn’t have to answer any questions about him.

A Better Life

Losing my 13-year job was a turning point. I resigned when I caught wind of rumors of layoffs and found a new employer.

I learned new skills, met new people, and began to carry myself differently. Traveling for work, I found a new reason to stop being afraid. An opportunity so faint and subtle, I almost didn’t notice.

I would not have believed I deserved a third chance at life. The phrase, “a leap of faith” was true, because it’s exactly what I did. I wanted to stop living fearfully. It was a soul-sucking, exhausting way to live. I wanted to trade fearful for fabulous.

The Decade of Diona

I was moving towards the light. No one had known I was hurting. The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel was calling my name with strong, reassuring notes. It welcomed me and encouraged me to banish my troubles. For the first time, I let down my heavy bag.

I still need to be reminded that perfection is an illusion. A tricky, little greedy thing that has taken half my life. Wishing for it all back is nothing more than a roadblock on my path to happiness. I look at my new life and am so grateful and thankful that it’s now stronger. I get a Mulligan.

A Little Bit Every Day

I wish I could tell you that I’m no longer fearful. It’s challenging for me to write down my thoughts – how someone thinks. When you’ve believed something to be true your whole life, it’s difficult to accept anything different.

I’m not bitter. I’m better.

What are some of the things you’ve struggled through to get to where you are now? How did you meet those challenges? Do you feel you’re better off now because of your past experiences?


Diona headshot

Diona is married to the love of her life and has a toddler she adores. She is currently studying under Gina Horkey of Horkey Handbook. Her fascination with Facebook has led her to manage social media for a Budget Blogger and she has aspirations of becoming a Periscope celebrity. Find more of her work at Write Now Matters and Mommy Ways to Win.

About Cruz Santana

Cruz Santana is a cancer-fighter, professional writer, editor, and business consultant specializing in web building, content management, bookkeeping, and traffic optimization strategies. A nine-year veteran of the entrepreneurial world, she has a handle on which techniques work and which don't. She isn't afraid to step out of the box to overcome challenges. An alumni of Texas A&M University, she's well-versed in science and medicine. A voracious writer, she's been featured in The Huffington Post and The Write Life. Her VA clients benefit from her experience in content management and bookkeeping. In addition, she is the author of "Phenomenal Dad: Ten Lessons on Single Fatherhood from a Tougher-Than-Nails Single Mom," her first published book! When not developing marketing strategies that flirt with the avant-guard, she loves kicking back on the couch with her small army of seven babies to watch old movies. Hitchcock films are her favorites!
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5 Responses to Living Fearful: How I Fell Down In Life and Got Back Up Again

  1. You are so brave & honest here, Diona. I hope writing about your life’s journey here thus far was part of the healing process for you. Your story will no doubt resonate with many people.

    • Cruz Santana says:

      I agree! I’m glad she decided to share this piece with me and my readers. I learned a lot from her sage words of wisdom. I hope others did, too. Thank you for your comment, Leona!

      • Okay but sage actually means wisdom so “from her sage words” is fine, the wisdom at the end seems repetitive.

        • Cruz Santana says:

          Chica, I will fix my post the day talking heads on TV and everywhere else quit saying things like, “…the HIV virus…,” or, “…RAS syndrome…,” and my personal favorite, “…the car’s VIN number…”

          Until then, Diona is a wise, enlightened, sagacious sage of a woman! ❤ 😛

  2. Diona, I think you’re brave for sharing your story! Thanks for opening up. I’m happy for you and that you’ve found happiness!

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