I have so many things on my body at any given time that remind me to stop being afraid.
I have a runners bracelet that says “Live Fearlessly.”
I have a necklace I wear almost every day that says “Fearless”
I have a tattoo on my left wrist that says “Courage, 1st John 4:18.” (This verse states “There is no fear in love.” I got that one after my abusive relationship in college)
I am very aware that I am constantly terrified.
And I’m trying to figure out what it is that scares me so much. I mean, I have the fear of people being upset with me. I am afraid of disappointing others. I am afraid that people will find out that I’m not all smiles, optimism, and kindness. I am afraid that I don’t deserve the job that I have. I am afraid that I don’t deserve to dream bigger. I am afraid of rejection. I am afraid of choosing the wrong “right” as I try to figure out my own right and wrong. I am afraid of being overweight. I am afraid of depression. I am afraid of being unhappy. I am afraid I will someday be a terrible mother. I am afraid I won’t be able to finish my half marathon.
I’m afraid that I don’t deserve what I have, and that eventually someone will find out that I am not deserving of it, and it will all be taken from me.
Usually I use humor and creativity to deal with all of this.
But lately things don’t feel so funny or creative.
Lately it just feels like work. Being social feels like work. Talking about anything other than the mountain of emotion that I have buried myself under feels like work. I’m not allowing myself to have any fun because the fear has turned into imposter syndrome, which has turned into a belief that I don’t deserve what I have, which has turned into self-destruction and lack of motivation.
I like to think that maybe I’m just exhausted.
Or maybe I am selfishly trying to blame someone for these flaws… Recently I caught myself in a very ugly state, while I was watching some kids doing a wonderful performance, and my thoughts were “Wow, I wonder what MY life would have been like if someone gave a crap about how badly I wanted to perform as a kid, and didn’t berate me for wanting to do things that cost money outside of school.”
Now, of course this isn’t true, but somewhere deep down, there is a little girl in my heart who still feels like her dreams and hopes are not worth anyone’s time. She put them in a box and buried them, so they wouldn’t bother anybody. (Let me clarify– SHE put them there. It’s no one else’s fault.)
Now that I’ve learned this about myself, pulling that box out of that mound of dirt sometimes feels like the most difficult thing in the effing universe. I have to dig my hands into the dry, cracked, soil that has grown solid over time. I feel like I’m sobbing into the ground , screaming at my younger self for ignoring that box for all of this time. Meanwhile the grime gets under my fingernails, I can’t stop staring at this dirt, and while I dig, people in my life walk by, and get dirt thrown in their face.
That’s a very dramatic metaphor.
But it’s sort of what I feel like lately.
Every time I didn’t stick up for myself, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I chose to stay up late on the phone for the sake of someone else’s problems, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I put someone else’s needs before my own, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I watered down my creative ideas out of fear of judgement, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I lived according to someone else’s wishes and demands, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I didn’t ask for what I needed, I put more dirt on that box.
Every time I chose to drink too much, and punish myself by locking myself in a bathroom, I put more dirt on that box.
Nobody else DID this to me. I let them do it, and thus I put the dirt there.
At the moment, I’m choosing to take the time so I can just pause, and write all this down. Earlier in the week I posted that “Get Money” quote on instagram, because I was in all of this pain, but didn’t have the time to feel it, give it the attention it deserves, and attempt to figure it out. So I used humor to deal. Sometimes, that’s the best I’ve got.
Right now, I’m tired of digging. I’m tired of trying to answer the question “What do you want?” because I don’t know how to answer it. I don’t remember what’s in that box in the dirt. I was always too scared to really look at it.
How do you ever know, really? Maybe there’s nothing in it. If I learned anything from ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ and Dr. Seuss, the point is the journey, not the destination.
And maybe the journey doesn’t have to be all sunshine and rainbows.
And maybe that’s why I haven’t stopped digging.
That’s deep shit.
(See what I did there?… Deep? … Like, ‘Dig Deep’?…No? MMk.)