On Being Scared

12 Oct

Something has slowly crept over me the last couple of weeks. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was, but I knew it was unpleasant and was standing very clearly between myself and happiness. Was I sad? No. I’ve felt sad before, and I knew that honestly there is nothing to be sad about right now. Was I angry? A little, but not enough to be controlling my life or enveloping me in this fog. I tried so hard to put words to it. Lost? Unfulfilled? Bored? Eventually the word “scared” came to the surface, and I realized that is exactly what I am. Scared, terrified, shaking in my trusty cowgirl boots. I feel like the miniature poodles that come into our office and just shake. We offer them treats, coo at them, pet them, but their big glossy eyes look back at us, and they can’t stop shaking.

The obvious follow-up question to this realization is what am I afraid of. Everything! To be completely honest, EVERYTHING! From getting sick off of food that’s been in my fridge too long to never being more than a receptionist to dying alone to being kidnapped, raped, and killed. I’m afraid of it all. It brings me some relief to have a name and an understanding of what has been bothering me, but it doesn’t bring much.

What exactly do you do when everything in your life feels overwhelming and insurmountable? I’m terrified that I’ll never be a real writer, that I’ll never write a quality novel, that I’ll succumb to a job that’s nothing more than a paycheck. On the other hand, I’m terrified I’ll be poor my whole life, that I’ll never have health insurance, that I’ll be 40, broke, and still making ends meet. I’m afraid that I’ll never find a place that feels like home, that I’ll never feel settled. I’m afraid if I take the leap of faith and go back to Seattle, it won’t make me feel better. I’m afraid I’ll get trapped into a life/career/relationship in New York, and I’ll become one of these jaded, stuffy people that don’t relate to a world outside the boroughs.

I’m confused as to how this happened to me. Two years ago I was a happy, confident, ambitious, excited 23-year-old. Was it the place? Was it the relationship? Was it the rough cross-country move? Was it taking on the first soul-sucking jobs of my life and realizing that some people do that their entire lives?

I want peace of mind, and I want to have some light shed on the path ahead of me. I want to just be one of those people who feel contented at the end of their day, who can relax and watch a movie without the worry and the fear sitting on their shoulders, whispering terrifying scenarios of what might happen tomorrow, in a week, in a month, in 40 years. I want to breathe easily and fall asleep quickly at night.

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