What’s Your Boggart?

Before it actually happened, I would have told you that my biggest fear – hands down, no question, don’t have to stop to think about it – was my husband leaving me. Any boggart that was going to come at me would have been Justin, telling me that he no longer loved me and that he wanted me out of his life. The idea of being abandoned (that’s the word that always pops into my head) by the man I loved made me freeze up and left me constantly on the alert for any sign that what I feared was about to come to pass.

Many times when someone fears being abandoned it is rooted in an insecure home life (or at least that is the common conception. I won’t pretend to be an expert). In my case the only people I feel will always be in my corner are my family. To worry that my family won’t be there when I need them does not occur to me. It is everyone else that I think will leave just as I look to them for support, let them in, or begin to trust or rely upon them.

Some of this doubtless can be traced back to the fact that I have lost more than a handful of friends in whom I trusted and felt had become a kind of family themselves. Looking back at these faded friendships I can see reasons in some of the cases; just like everyone there were places I was a monumental screw up and did not handle things well. Those losses hurt, but at least I was able (with ample time to let myself look more objectively) to see where I messed up and what I could do better. Much harder are the relationships that have fallen apart without me knowing what exactly it was that I did or didn’t do. Ultimately, with or without a sense of closure, enough people have chosen to leave my life upon getting to know me that being abandoned by those I trust is a major fear of mine.

One of the few people I ended up trusting was my husband – Justin. Over time I began to trust that he would listen, that I could tell him whatever I had on my mind, that he would be the person there for me. Over the five years we were married that trust was tested more than once, but I believed that we would work through it together, as a team. Getting married at 19 meant that a lot of growing up became growing together. Purchasing a car, leasing an apartment, those were things we each did for the first time with one another. I write this as the dog that we adopted together three years ago twitches her feet against my leg while dreaming.

What I am trying to say is that what I feared most was not losing someone who made me feel pretty, or losing financial support. The idea that was able to make me feel as though the floor was falling out from under me was that each time someone knew me – really took the time to understand me and know all of me – they would decide to leave. To have the person that I opened up to most and trusted above all others decide that I was no longer worth their effort or time was a knife through me.

Over the years when people have left my life I have been given various reasons to explain it away. A popular one is that people my age aren’t equipped to handle whatever the crap of the day is (chronic pain, migraines, depression, take your pick). This held some water when I was 13 or so – most teenagers aren’t equipped to deal with their own lives, let alone someone else’s. Now in my 20’s the idea that my life is too ‘hard’ for people to know how to be in my life is less than convincing. Everyone has crap; to think that mine is extra special is beyond egotistical.

Now if you ask my what my biggest fear is I won’t know what to tell you. The highly mature part of me that listens to Harry Potter audio books every night insists that the answer must be boggarts. Having conquered my fear, I must now fear actual fear. Plenty of things still scare me, but I know I can survive even the worst of them.

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