The Vagueness of Fear

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise. ~Bertrand Russell

Since we’re talking about the 100 Things I Fear challenge, I thought I’d bring up something that interesting that not only I, but Kaitlin, noticed.

When you face a fear, you learn all the little sneaky things it effects.

To say I was/am afraid of the dark is an understatement, once you dig into it. When I said “I’m afraid of the dark” what I am really saying is a lot of things, including, but certainly not limited to:

  • I am afraid of the unknown.
  • I am afraid that there may be something under my bed.
  • I am afraid there may be something in my closet.
  • I am afraid that someone would want to hurt me for unknown reasons.
  • I do not trust myself to be able to handle the unknown.
  • I am afraid I am weak.
  • I am afraid no one will notice if I disappear.
  • I am afraid no one cares.
  • I am afraid that I care more about people then they do me.
  • I am afraid that I am a failure.
  • I am afraid I can not handle challenges.
  • I am afraid I am not good enough.

Now, that’s a lot to be wrapped up in one little statement. I mean, come on, can’t I just be afraid of the dark? That’s nice and simple – it’s also comfortable because it means I don’t have to conquer the real issues underneath that fear.

My fear of the dark and my fear of large bodies of water are the same fears. Primarily it is one thing: I am afraid of the unknown because I don’t know if I can handle it. My own self-doubt and self perception of worth are all wrapped up in my fear.

Thanks to therapy and stubbornness and a deeply instilled need for self over-analyzation, I think I know where a lot of these fears and doubts come from. But that, in the end, doesn’t matter as much as what I do to get over them.

I can blame all I want on the past, my parents, my health issues – whatever, I’ve got a list long enough to throw a pity-party for the next 25 years, at least. I’m not interested. First off, there’s never anyone saying anything interesting at those parties. Secondly, you can’t actually DO anything while you sit around pointing fingers.

I started by tackling the irrational parts. I started sleeping with the closet door cracked open. It took me nearly a year to be able to sleep with the closet door open! I would talk to myself, rationally, about what was going on, to help chase the fear away.

No, there’s no such thing as monsters. And even if there were, why would they be in your closet. How would they get there? And why you? What did you ever do to a monster? Wait, what if it’s an alligator? Those things are fast! How would an alligator get in your closet? It’s not like it could walk in through the front door and you’d miss it. You’d notice that WAY before it got in the closet – besides, an alligator wouldn’t fit in your closet. Those mini ones would! Silly girl! You live in Pennsylvania, where would an alligator even come from? Not to mention, it’s DECEMBER!

I am not joking. This is the weird kind of conversations I would have in my head. Much similar to the one I had on the back of the boat on Saturday. (However, I hold that my deep seated desire to stay far away from alligators and crocodiles is rational. I mean, those things could eat me!)

Most fear is irrational. Yet our fears control so much of our lives, preventing us from being the amazing, brilliant, and successful people we want to be.

My true fear, that so much else stems from, is this:

I am terrified I am not good enough.

Good enough for what? I don’t know. But goodness, am I afraid. Afraid when I walk into a restaurant to sell tea to someone. Afraid that my massage isn’t the best. Afraid I’m not pretty/smart/witty enough for someone else’s judgment. Who knows. Whatever it is, there is this leetle-teeny voice that is sure I’m not enough.

You know what I say to that little obnoxious voice? Nothing anymore. I used to tell it to “fuck off,” then I’d tell it to “go away.” Now, I ignore it. “Lalalala, I can’t hear you,” and stubbornly go where it’s telling me to avoid. Indifference is the best treatment for that kind of bully.

That voice wants to steal my joy. I won’t let it.

I am still afraid. I recognize that. That fear, at some point in my life, served me. It no longer does, so I am changing my behaviors and tackling that fear, even if it means digging in deep to find the real source of the fear.

Because as you break down the fears, you realize they aren’t big or real. They’re imagined or blown out of proportion.

I am prepared to handle just about any situation and do it well. I am capable of doing the best job for the right client. I am strong, smart and interesting enough to do my job, have awesome friends and a good life.

You know how I know that? Because I already do.

I’m not gonna let some silly fear take that away.

Are you?