I don’t know when I first knew fear. Maybe I heard it in my mother’s voice when she said “We can’t afford it” whenever we wanted something that was not a necessity. Maybe I felt it when my hand got slammed into the sliding door of my mother’s burgundy minivan. Or maybe I witnessed it from the pulpit where I was told that if I did not turn my life over to Christ and believed that Jesus was the only way to avoid the fiery pits of hell. All I know is that I have always felt…scared.
When I was in elementary school I lived in fear that the Rapture would happen and I would be left behind. In middle school, I feared being an outcast and not having friends because I was a tomboy who loved to read, write, and draw. I also feared the boys who relentlessly talked about the size and shade of my lips and the texture of my hair, the same hair I permed on my own because I didn’t care for salons and didn’t have a way to get to them. In college I feared failure and unemployment. In my adulthood, I fear not ever knowing love and living a life that’s unfulfilling.
The same goes for worry and doubt. I worry about everything: finances, career, love life, health, body image. I doubt my abilties, especially as it relates to my writing and art. I am scared to try and scared to fail and I get angry at myself for feeling such emotions in the first place. I criticize myself for lack of faith while in the same breath, doubting that anything is possible or even real.
It seems my entire life there has been a shadow resting like a shawl on my shoulders, a whisper that reminds me that life isn’t fair and that I am not able to build the life I desire…then I second guess what that desire is.
Oftentimes, I am at a tug of war with myself. My mind, body, and heart want to claim space but my mind is shoving everything to the background because there are still daily tasks to complete.
How do I make the fear, worry, and doubt go away? How do I change the message of the kola nuts and make my heart believe? How do I mentally and emotionally rest my mind so that I can move in ease?
I find myself constantly under self imposed pressure. There’s an unavoidable, unsaid, unexplained force that I feel myself under, and it’s been this way for quite some time. It’s like I have to prove myself to people who aren’t watching and soothe my own anxiety when things in my life don’t go as expected. However, all this pressure leaves me disconnected from the present. I’m either thinking of my past and analyzing every decision I ever made overthinking future events that may or may not happen. It’s very, very hard to simply be and accept what is. It is extremely hard to accept that my inability to be is a response to me wanting to escape. As the new year approaches, I want to release that feeling— that need—to perform. I want to simply be.
I don’t know how this will be accomplished, but I am open to witnessing how the essence to simply be will be shaped and internalized for myself. There are many self help books on balancing work and life. There are numerous content creators promoting the use of vision boards and providing advice on how to handle all the things related to our lives. But there is no playbook on how to be open to what it is. I don’t want fear, worry, and doubt to be part of my journey any longer. I just want to be.