What I call ‘life’ are things like jobs, money problems, weather, and health. These things fuel the anxiety engine that lives inside of me well-oiled and always ready to come up to speed and drain my energy. These types of problems can make me overthink so many things and in turn create huge amounts of fear and anxiety around problems that shouldn’t be there. Also, this fear and anxiety has made me feel shame and guilt when I turn away from ‘life’ problems and pursue something I want to like my writing.
The roots of this fear date back to the same time in my life as fear number one in that I felt like I had to devote my energy to ‘life’ even if I’d done everything I could and had time to myself. But this one actually got worse in my thirties when I went out on my own because I thought I had to pursue my job as a career and not just as a way to earn money. I honestly thought I could put equal amounts of energy into my job and my writing but that turned out to be a load of bullshit. Then ‘life’ kicked all that out from under me when my dad had a stroke and I damn near lost that job because I was in and out of work taking care of him and trying to get him back on his feet as best as I could.
Now because this fear creates a lot of anxiety it sometimes sends my mind into a train of thought that’s not entirely delusional. The thought is that there are people who want to see me suffer and will come down on me if I don’t suffer enough to satisfy them. There is an origin to this in that I have been told to wipe the smile off my face since things are so bad in life, and also I’ve been asked in anger what I had to smile about. Yes, this was during my twenties and back then I honestly thought it meant that I was a terrible person to have moments where I wasn’t thinking about my own misery.
Yes, a positive can be turned into a negative. And it’s just as bad as people forcing you to turn a negative into a positive, especially when they try to do that by saying things aren’t so bad (when in reality they were). I recently read that someone’s comfort does not give them the right to deny someone’s reality. I sure as hell had mine denied, denigrated, and shit all over. In the past, it was turned into fear and in the present I’m through with that.
This fear also causes me to severely doubt myself and my abilities. It causes me to fear that I will forget something, or that I’ll miss something I shouldn’t have. My dad used to say it was like constantly listening for the elephant to come running up behind you to stomp you into the ground.
This fear coalesced into me thinking that everyone in the world had their shit together and had all the answers and I didn’t and therefore I was a dumb-ass piece of shit person whenever I did mess up. That’s not true of course even from people who claim to have their shit together twenty-four-seven and have all the answers, too. I used to let people like this tear me down inside every time they got the opportunity to call out my mistakes. It took one big snap in my mind almost six years ago to get me to see the bullshit behind that.
Yet the fear still lives in me but now that I’ve really worked through its origins and reminded myself with strength that no one has all the answers, I’m letting it go now. I don’t need to overthink things nor think that I’m going to be ‘bothering’ somebody if I ask for something. I tell myself now if someone has a problem with something I’ve said or did then they can put on their grown-up clothes and come talk to me about it.
Another thing that pisses me off about his fear is me thinking that I’m an immature brat who can’t figure things out for herself. I’ve been on my own for close to twenty years. Yes, I’ve managed to lose an apartment and a car due to the fact that I got stuck in a hole and couldn’t dig myself out. But I’m not the only person in the world to do that and therefore I’m not going to let anyone rake me over the coals because of it. I tell myself I do know how to survive and most of all, I’ve learned how to ask for help and believe in the goodness of people. Someday I hope that I will be in a position to help others who are struggling and show them the good in this world and give them faith in themselves and in people.
It’s hard to write about stuff like this but I do it not just for myself, but for anyone reading this who might thinking and feeling I do, or have been through things like I have. I want people to know they’re not alone, and that it’s okay to think and feel the way they do. And if someone doesn’t like that, remember you’re not responsible for someone else’s comfort or feelings. Don’t forget that because if you do, it’ll turn to fear.