The Illusion of Security

“Security is mostly a superstition.

It does not exist in Nature,

nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

–Helen Keller

Tell me about a time you went on a daring adventure—external or internal—even if no one else knew it at the time.


  1. Tempered Ashes says

    The most daring adventure i’ve gone on is getting to know myself. You see, I had avoided that for most of my life–instead fretting over this and that–trying to put myself through school, get a job, get a life. But a funny thing happened while I was doing all of this– I broke down–and boy WHAT a breakdown its been! But in my breakdown, something happened–I wasn’t allowed to “get back together” until I broke down my inner walls. And then a funny thing happened–I got to see who I really was. And you know what? I’ve been there all along–through the laundry, the chores, the tests–and there was nothing to be afraid of. I was not some evil, gangly monster that would put an end to my sanity. I was not some horrifyingly screwed up incapable mess. I was just me–and that was enough. All of the tales that were told to my behest forgot to remind me of something: that those were just tales, but that the truth was always known (that’s why the tales had to be told). Now I sit here and tell you this: all of the lies and the incantations; all of the fear; all of the manipulation could not stand a chance against: Me!! (and they all know it!) They had to spin their web of lies because they were afraid of the truth that is me. They had to rape and tweasel, do whatever was necessary to hold me down because once they let go–well, lets just say they knew they would not be able to contain me. But you know what? They did let go–or, more succinctly–I let them go. And now here I sit, with my balls of yarn, my legs crossed, my hair flowing and my mane wild. I look left right and center and all I see is me and my path. I look up and I see the sky, I look down and I see the earth.
    Noone can stop me now–I am on my journey.

  2. says

    I felt exhilarated reading this. I especially loved the line, “And you know what? I’ve been there all along–through the laundry, the chores, the tests–and there was nothing to be afraid of.” Boy, I remember the years when I was terrified to turn around and face myself–when I couldn’t stop running. What a relief to befriend that vulnerable, funny, imperfect, human self in the mirror!

  3. Paula Hill says

    I got my feet wet—
    long ago it seems
    I lost…
    pursued and got confused….
    I climbed, dived,
    But, somehow…. prevailed…
    Though the veil did not lift,
    I saw it’s flimsy nature….
    And, understood….all was okay….
    all was right…
    I learned, as the sun rose,
    today has no mistake in it..
    Today transited to today, and into tonight
    to this night…
    where the orange sliver of the moon hovers
    over this soul of gratitude
    that now swims in the sea
    with strength,
    gliding through shifting tides, currents, swells and waves…
    all the while knowing a gigantic, monsoonal force
    might override
    and toss me aside
    or slam me to the bottom of the hard ocean’s floor…
    But, I’ve made friends, for now,
    with the ghosts of insecurities
    and enjoy the glow of the setting sun’s

    May the Sun’s cycling wisdom
    shed light on the Moon’s face
    always hinting of the mysteries
    that bide from her dark side……

  4. Jean West says

    “There are some black footprints on the kitchen floor,” Dad said wearily.

    “You must have picked up some dirt when you let the dog into yard.”

    I knew I hadn’t, because I’d never stepped off the concrete and, anyway, most of the marks were by Dad’s seat at the kitchen table. However, I didn’t argue. Dad had just been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, for starters, and however they got on the floor, the footprints were there. So, I grabbed a paper towel and some Windex and cleaned up.

    Fifteen minutes later, my daughter said, “There are marks on the floor again.”

    “I’ve been by the sink and there are no marks here,” I quickly said. “Dad, you’re the one with black-soled sneakers, I think it’s coming from them somehow.”

    His legs were very swollen from the condition and he was having trouble bending, so I sat on the floor. The moment I touched them, I realized the sneakers were wet. I pulled them off and saw Dad’s socks dripping. “Dad, everything is soaked. We need to change them out,” I said.

    When I pulled his socks off, my head nearly spun. Moisture was oozing out of sores and his feet were cold, wrinkled and greyish-white, like they’d been soaking for hours. I pushed up his pants and realized he had sores up his legs. “I don’t know what’s going on here,” I kept the panic from entering my voice. “Let me take a look on the computer.” Stomach heaving, I put the shoes in the garage to dry, dropping the socks into the washing machine along the way. I grabbed a clean towel and wrapped his feet and then bolted to my laptop.

    Saturday night. Why do all medical issues come around on Saturday night, when the doctor’s office is closed, even the pharmacists aren’t at the counters any more? And what in the world was going on? ‘I’m a history major, not a doctor,’ I groaned to myself. Well, all I could think of, courtesy of World War I, was a condition the soldiers called trench foot. So I began searching Google with “trench foot congestive heart failure.” Within minutes I had found on image search for “weeping edema,” a leg that matched my Dad’s. It came from a wound care manual whose entire contents were online thanks to Google Books. I saved the url, snipped and printed out images of the two relevant pages, and made a shopping list for the all night pharmacy—Ace bandages, Domeboro powder, non-stick dressings, absorbent dressings, and antiseptic wash.

    I thought of Clara Barton, suppressed thoughts of gangrene and Civil War amputations and returned home as fast as I could. The manual assumed a hospital setting, not a home living room, so I improvised like mad. A black Hefty bag, striped beach towel, and ancient plastic basin were pressed into service. I washed and treated the legs, and then wound enough gauze around them to make a couple of mummies, I could have sworn. And the next day, I did it again, with additional ointment recommended by a pharmacist. When I talked to the doctor on Monday, everything was confirmed. It took two months until the weeping stopped and the blisters and sores healed completely, but they did. Thus began the first adventure in nursing of the panicked historian who put all her faith in a digital parachute.

  5. Beth says

    Twenty-seven years is a long time to be a Mrs. It’s been said that half of all marriages end in divorce. For some reason, I had it in my head I wasn’t going to be part of that statistic. Don’t know why. My parents were together after being married to others previously. Even my ex had been married before he and I tied the knot. But, oh no, it wasn’t going to be me.

    There were issues from day one, and I dealt with them in my usual way of dealing with most unpleasantness. I denied it. I buried it deep inside. If I didn’t think about it, it didn’t exist. Problem was, I thought about it. Maybe not all the time, but every now and then… when something else would come up and I was trying to tuck it away in the dark, memories would try to sneak out. As I corraled those straying thoughts, I’d feel again the pang of anger, sadness, dislike, or whatever.

    I met someone at work. Fell in love even. Never consummated that “love” completely, but yes, I cheated. We kissed. We hugged. But never “the deed”. Couldn’t bring myself to go that far… to accept what that man wanted to give me. I was married… I was a mother… I felt guilty as hell for those kisses… for the safety and warmth and belonging that I felt when I was in his arms. I began to avoid the physical aspects of my marriage whenever possible (fairly easy as I worked nights and my ex worked days).

    After many years, the kids grown to teenagers, something happened. I don’t know what happened, really, but something went even more horribly wrong than usual. I swear, I began to think my ex was on drugs or something… or suffering some serious mental illness. Coaching our son’s soccer team during a tournament, he turned beserker… screaming obscenities at the refs, encouraging the team to act out. The assistant coach, so disgusted and disturbed, left the game. Three parents offered me a place to stay for the weekend. My son was horrified… humiliated… and completely confused. After the game, my ex laughed it off. It wasn’t funny. Still… I stayed. I stuck it out.

    Then, one day, after other issues that led me to doubt the sanity of the man I was married to… and eventually, to doubt my own sanity for staying… one day, he totally went off the deep end. Threatening physical violence towards my son, bringing the youngest to tears by calling her a liar, throwing insult after insult at me… the only one he didn’t abuse that day was the middle child. And he walked out. Went to stay with his mom. The sense of relief and peace that entered the house as he exited was palpable.

    Within a week, he tried to convince me he’d had a stroke and that he wanted to come home. I couldn’t do it. I told him I wanted a divorce. We tried to live in the same house for a short time after so that there would be someone home with the kids at night. But it didn’t work. The tension, the hate, the anxiety, the fear, all built up again. He had to go.

    He left. The house felt like it breathed a sigh of relief. So did we.

    I filed for divorce. Three weeks later I was laid off (technically “retired early” from my long time job). Five months out of work. The divorce was finalized. Finally. I finally found a new job at a fraction of what I’d been making. Three teenagers eat a lot. And have a lot of needs. But, we survived. We continue to survive. The teens are now in their early 20s. Our son, accused by his father of being a “train wreck waiting to happen” and “nothing but trouble”, has graduated from the local University – did it in 4 years, while holding 2 jobs and his graduating GPA was a 3.49. The youngest is in her senior year at another State University, preparing to become a high school History/Social Studies teacher. The middle is at the local community college preparing to become a paralegal.

    Yeah, twenty-seven years is a long time to be a Mrs. And not being one anymore has been hard. Really hard. An adventure in many ways. But I have survived so far.

    My next adventure? Bring it on.

      • Beth says

        Thank you, Laura. That was my first prompt and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. But, after receiving the email about how to respond, I just wrote what came to mind as it came to mind (probably longer than 10 minutes, but I was at work and I was writing in between other tasks). Hopefully, I wasn’t too wrong about that. :)

        Looking forward to more prompts.

  6. Camilla Sørensen says

    Dear Laura,
    I am gonna give you four simple words – I feel – you have searched for in your healing, and it is right in your garden:
    two words: think – feel –
    two colors: blue – red.
    If you think the color red, how does that make you feel?
    If you feel the color red, how does that make you feel?
    The color blue is in your head – red is in your heart.
    This comes from my heart to you – keep up the good work – I’ll meet you some day:) I feel I just relized I’ve been walking around with the love of my life right in front of me – who knows healing is there if your dare to see in the horizon – the light will rise – belive in your heart – ask for help – and if there is love there is help – light – and ultimately colors – Mother Earth is right there with you on your journey – teach teach teach that is your misson in life, and your heritiage – your Indian heart with you.
    I am a woman from Denmark who found my Indian heart in Seattle by my
    Mount Rainar – she is a beautiful Mountain – thats how Mother Earth caries you – thats how strong she is – we need to see her – with love in our hearts – thats it and nothing more – not more complicated than that – believe…

  7. Bobbie Anne says

    I was in an accident and I didn’t think I’d be able to drive again. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to walk. I went to the parking lot (before and after hours) with my husband. His presence reminded me that I had enough courage for us both. I would be able to drive in no time. And God willing, I did.

  8. Nyxnekhbet says

    In making the choice to get pregnant with my boyfriend of six years I started on an adventure though I’m not sure it was what one must consider daring. Certainly there were things that I knew such as his personality or lack thereof, the fact that he’d been cheating on me for several years and least of all that he was selfish and unreliable. But I guess that’s what made it a difficult or daring decision for me. I was facing a decision to go through a difficult in-vitro process, to obligate myself not just to the child that would be ultimate result but to the financial and emotional sacrifices that I needed to make. I had two other children think about, I didn’t really have the finances to pay for the process, I knew it was a 50-50 chance that my boyfriend would even stick around because he wasn’t about doing anything that didn’t come easy. But this was his big push, what he said he wanted. Nonetheless I had to make the decision based on him not being a part of the process for the work that would be put ahead of me. I had to make the decision knowing that ultimately I would be the one responsible for all of the obligations created. I spent weeks maybe even months crying over this decision. I didn’t feel that I had to somebody that I could really go to who would understand my manufactured dilemma. A big part of me was doing it for my boyfriend – who didn’t deserve it – and I knew that couldn’t be my only reason. A part of me was doing it as a second chance. My older kids’ father was a loss and they were pretty messed up and I thought maybe I could do better if I tried again… as a mother, as a girlfriend, as I don’t know what. That sounds utterly ridiculous as I read it. I find it difficult to put into words exactly what was going through my mind. Now I think maybe I know little bit better that I was afraid of being alone. I think that I measured my choice believing that even if he left I would still have the baby and therefore wouldn’t be alone. Of course I already had two kids so that would seem nonsensical as well. But in my mind it bought me a few more years before facing the inevitable empty nest.
    So coming up on three years and about $30,000 later… I have not one, but two beautiful babies. My pregnancy with the twins was I think probably the hardest thing that I have ever done. But the twins were healthy and fat and at 37 weeks they were really not early as twins go. Now they are two years old, their big brother is turning 15 and he’s a freshman in high school, and their big sister is 18 and is due to give me a grandbaby in December. My boyfriend, the twins’ father, is still a selfish, egotistical, Machiavellian pain in my ass. Truthfully, if I can ever get beyond my financial issues I will be asking him to leave.
    I found out many things about myself. I learned to be still as a result of all the bed rest during my pregnancy. I learned what kind of a person my partner really was (not good I’m sorry to report). I learned to meditate and find peace when the times were hard and trying and I didn’t know what else to do but cry. I found out who my true, non-judgmental, always there even when you’re at your worst friends are (love you Robbo). In the last three years my Aunt was murdered and my cousin was shot, I struggled through a rough pregnancy and gave birth to twins and my teenage daughter ran away with a drug dealer. Put that way it sounds pretty trying doesn’t? I got through it though! I found the resources and strength that I needed were inside of me all along. It took all of these things for me to figure out how to tap into myself.

  9. Rachel Staples says

    I can say that this writing journey to my dream is an adventure, but I think the truth is the last two years of my life have actually been the adventure. I met my Sweet Significant two years ago in July and although our meeting was unusual, (I walked up and asked if I could kiss him and we have been together ever since) we have grown together as a couple which has never happened to me before.

    I now live in a circle of truth where I don’t have to keep secrets from friends or family members. Nor do I have to see my children hurting by keeping things from me because of a fear of what their Dad would say. I never hear “Don’t say anything to her/him” or “I don’t want anyone to know this but…” anymore. I am free to be truthful and I have lost the fear to do so. I didn’t realize how exhausting and stressful my life was until I met him. I remember after we began seeing each other and I had been telling a friend about him and I actually called him a male version of me. Two weeks later, he shared with me that he had said to a coworker that I was a female version of him. He is the first man that I now believe I have ever trusted. Compatico!!

    One of the traits that we share and enjoy is traveling and quite a bit of it. I had always dreamed of traveling but alas, thought it not to be. Since we have been together he has taken me to Korea for Thanksgiving, his home state of Ohio, cow chip throwing in Wisconsin, weekends in San Francisco, Chicago, Reno, Lake Tahoe and LA.
    I have been camping in Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Mt. Lassen. I have been to The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Football Hall of Fame and the Harley Museum. We took a road trip starting in Colorado, then made our way to New Mexico, Arizona and Utah. I was able to visit many national parks such as Mesa Verde and took a tour through the Balcony House and the Cliff palace just as an example. This is only a few of the places we have been and our home life isn’t any different. Whether home or away, it’s fun.

    To say that I feel blessed is an understatement. One of the definitions of adventure is participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises. I think Helen Keller was right because had I not been thrown out of my old life and took a chance on this new one. I wouldn’t have realized that I had had nothing to lose.

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