What If It Were Worth It

published on Nov 07, 2021

CATEGORIZED AS:
So I got on the plane yesterday morning and we're taxiing to the runway and the pilot comes on and says, "Well, folks, it looks like we'll be flying into something of a situation in Tampa. We're getting word of storms and high winds and rain." And I'm like, okay, why are you calling it a situation and should I be worried but he keeps going.

So I got on the plane yesterday morning and we're taxiing to the runway and the pilot comes on and says,

"Well, folks, it looks like we'll be flying into something of a situation in Tampa. We're getting word of storms and high winds and rain."

And I'm like, okay, why are you calling it a situation and should I be worried but he keeps going. He says that he and the entire team on board are going to be doing their absolute best to get us there safely, that they're really going to try very hard to keep us safe on the flight into this "situation" and that they really need our cooperation in order to help them try very, very hard to keep us safe, and I'm like

Try?

You're going to TRY?

And it was the least reassuring pilot message I've ever ever heard.

And I have flight anxiety. I've learned to breathe a certain way to keep my anxiety in check, but sometimes - sometimes - it only barely helps.

Anyway. I want to get off the plane, but we're already taxiing. My nervous system is screaming at me and I'm like "is this a sign? Is this my guides telling me to get off?" but it occurs to me that if it's my guides they probably would have informed me earlier. This is just my amygdala being extra and my brain trying to justify the flood of chemicals caused by the amygdala's drama. So I relax my jaw and breathe.

So we get in the air and about twenty minutes in, the turbulence begins. It's not the worst I've ever experienced, but the pilot's "reassurance" that they would "try" to keep us safe is freaking me out. And he's come on the intercom and again referred to the storm as "this situation we're headed into" and I don't like the sound of the word "situation" in this context.

So I'm just breathing and relaxing my jaw over and over. I'm texting my friends, especially the inimitable Melanie Scott Bowers, who works for an airline and is talking me down from panic. And I'm asking her to please tell my children, if I die, that the thing I regret most is that I forgot to wake them up to hug them goodbye this morning.

And at some point the plane kind of levels out and we break out of the clouds and suddenly it's all sunshine and fluffy clouds below us.

And I'm suddenly overtaken by calm. Like, not just "oh, shit, thank the gods we're not being tossed around like dried beans in a rattle at a dance ceremony" calm but like...

Calm, calm.

And this thought pops into my head:

"What if... Now, hear me out, self... But... What if... What if the universe were actually... Safe."

And I find myself on a sudden fast forward review of my life, of all the reasons I have to feel distrustful. To not trust the people who love me. To not trust the good things that happen. To be afraid. To be anxious.

And somehow this review feels... Freeing. Like ... How do I even explain this? Like seeing the sources of my anxiety suddenly removed their power from me.

Like, I could just choose to experience the universe differently than I was trained to experience it.

Like.

What if most people actually can be trusted.

While I was standing on the jetway earlier in the day, the couple in front of me was annoying me. She was carrying Louis Vuitton and wearing some very fashionable outfit, with her makeup just so and he was wearing that sort of casual outfit that is casual in that "just so" way that let's you know everything is very expensive even though it doesn't look expensive. You know the look, right? And they were talking in this sort of pretentious way that made me want to smack them right then and there.

And I thought - if somebody is going to do something nefarious on this plane, it's gonna be them. These are the hijackers.

Y'all.

This is unhinged thinking.

Completely disconnected from reality.

Extremely...

Distrustful.

Anyway, when we finally boarded, it turned out they were seated near the back, like me, in discount seats. He was assigned the middle seat next to me, and she was assigned the window seat at the opposite side. I saw that they were going to be apart for the flight, and that if I gave them my seat, they could be together. So I gave them my seat.

Then the guy who had stood up to let her in, and who would now be my neighbor, told me what a kind thing that was and he asked if he could put my suitcase in the compartment above for me and I said yes, that would be really helpful, and it was - because getting my heavy bag up there is hard for me.

And so here we were, about forty five minutes later and I'm looking out my window and thinking...

What if the universe were actually a safe place to be.

Like.

What if all the hard stuff weren't necessarily supposed to happen... But what if, when it does happen, there's always something better at the other end. Something marvelous. Something... Worth it.

And I felt this immense peace. Like, this is a really nice thought. I don't even know if it's TRUE but it FEELS true.

Even death, I thought to myself. What if even death has something on the other side that is worth it.

What if I were to stop worrying about the bad stuff that might happen, some of which is certainly going to happen, and trusted that whatever it is... It'll be worth it.
And then the plane headed right back into the clouds. The flight attendant came on and said something about the pilot navigating around the storm but that things might be a bit bumpy coming in toward landing and the bouncing and rattling started back and

I just

Didn't care.

Like.

What if even death is okay?

What if it's all okay?

And I don't know how to even put this in words because it didn't come with words. It was just a feeling.

Like. Everything's okay. It's going to be okay.

You can relax.

Whatever it is, it's okay.

Even if it doesn't feel okay.

It's not only okay. It's worth it.

What if everything is worth it.

Except - the feeling was more than that - it was a certain sort of knowledge that, in fact, it IS worth it. That I can trust that.

That I can trust people, too.

Isn't that a strange thought? I'm sitting here writing that and thinking, but that's not actually true, is it? Yet it feels true.

Like.

My early life taught me that the people who love you will hurt you and pretend it's love.
And so my brain wants to see everything through that lens. It notices how the couple in front of me is dressed in a way that annoys me so they must be planning to hurt me.

The pilot uses words that aren't the words I would use so I become convinced he's not competent to pilot through the storm he's trained to pilot through.

People close to me do things and I read them through a certain lens but...

What if the lens is what's broken, rather than the world?

What if the truth is most people are just doing the best they can. And they'll be grateful when you offer them a small kindness and the guy who just happens to see this will offer you a small kindness too and the pilot will get you through the storm and the waitress at IHOP will bring you the best midnight pancakes you've ever had along with a generous helping of endearments and attentiveness and even though the bathtub in your hotel room makes weird noises when you sit down in it, the water is hot and the blankets in your hotel room are cozy and

What if

What if

What if the universe were actually safe?

Or maybe just... What if you were to EXPERIENCE it as safe?

And maybe it's enough to experience it as...

Worth it.

Maybe "worth it" makes it safe.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say, but I'd like more of that in my life. That peace. That, "okay, here I am and it's worth it" feeling. That "maybe most people would rather help me than hurt me" feeling. That "maybe I can trust people's love and kindness" feeling.
Or maybe it's trusting me, myself, to be okay in my own way.

Y'all, I find myself at the end of this essay without a clear sense that I have communicated what I want to communicate. Maybe you can make sense of it.


I just know that right now I feel like "worth it" makes the world safe enough and safe enough makes me feel more peaceful than I can remember feeling... Ever.

And that I want more of that.

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Fen Druadìn


Fen Druadìn (they/them) is anamchara, storyteller, dragon, student of trees, and a breaker of generational curses.

Fen's mission here is to love and remember themself completely, connect deeply with the world, and help others do the same for themselves.

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