A candid tale of 20-something humanness and extended note to self.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

About fear, and living with it


'You've changed.' She said, her gaze darting across my face with proud suspicion as the empowered words that had just spilled out of my mouth hung for a moment between us: eagerly invited, but unexpected.

Anybody who knows me well will have witnessed a moment when I've been consumed by it. The fear. When I've been completely riddled with self-doubt, or too anxious to form a coherent sentence, let alone reach any degree of a particular moment's potential for joy. I've been insufferable at times: I know that because I've felt it too. And I've hated myself for it: for unwillingly lowering the saturation of something that could really be quite spectacular.

I get scared, sometimes. Damn fucking scared. About making the phone call. Asking for that thing. Committing to big change. Putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone, and grabbing these glistening opportunities that no longer only dance seductively within my pre-sleep fantasies. Showing up. Saying yes.

When I was younger, I used to think that the coat of adulthood would bring with it a sense of invincibility: that fierce courage would grow within me into this wild, unreserved entity. Deep pockets bursting with unsailed seas and raucous laughter and curious adventures and possibility, possibility, possibility, and not a single weight upon my shoulders. That's how I pictured it: being older. Being fearless.

But it's not like that at all. Of course it's not. You know that just as well as I do, because we've all witnessed it: how hideous and emotionally exhausting and terrifying it can be to be human: the explicit reality of our own existence. This clothes-fort free view of the world makes the coat of adulthood a heavy one. Tenacious, unyielding fearlessness is not a thing, I'm absolutely certain of that. How could it be, when we know all that we know? Fears of the dark only grew into fears of darkness.

I can't pinpoint an exact moment when I suddenly thought 'fuck this!', and decided not to let it hold me back anymore, but I can, with the fullest heart, admit that my life is better for it: that I was wrong to ever believe that it was okay to let my jittery stomach and an irregular breathing pattern defeat my desire or curiosity. I've seen more of the world recently than I've seen in my entire life. I stood at the very top of a mountain! I'm moving into a new home! And I'm SO ready. Not not to be scared, but to be scared, to acknowledge it, and to just keep going. One foot in front of the other.

Fear is the price you pay to experience the magic: the extraordinary, world-changing magic of this beautiful, bizarre little life, and for that it's not a good enough reason for me not to do something anymore. It never will be. So I've learnt to accept the emotion, somehow. Learnt to bask in lower light. Sit with it, make it a cup of tea if you will, but never let it host the party. Possibility, possibility, possibility.

'I know.' I smiled, as I handed over my letter of resignation, that very moment weaving a knot of giddy apprehension into my stomach, 'I know.'
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