I have always been afraid. Of what? I don’t know exactly. Of not being perfect. Of not being talented enough. Of not having enough money. Of all the what if’s that would overtake my mind. Because of this inner fear, I didn’t do a lot. I would always hesitate and then make excuses of why I wouldn’t do an activity, trip, or night out. Which is funny, because I am a very outgoing person. I like to do and be around people.
In college, I never went on Spring Break. I didn’t have the money so I stayed and worked. I never did a semester abroad or at another college. I didn’t participate in clubs or intramural sports. I couldn’t afford a sorority. I was fearful of embarrassing myself. Cause, I have no athletic ability and I definitely didn’t have the self confidence to laugh at myself. I met my former husband and fell in love. He was outgoing. He loved to experience everything. I went along and got a glimpse of how life could be. Yet, I remember being miserable during such events because I let my fear win. My attitude would turn sour at times because the anxiety and terror of what could go wrong changed me.
My former husband and I moved to Milwaukee 3 days after our wedding. That summer we traveled up there to find a place to live. He wanted downtown. I was too scared. So we lived in a suburb. I regret that. He wanted to do so much. Travel, day trips, fun adventures. I pushed myself to go with him but I did a lot of talking him out of it. The fear of not enough money, not knowing how it would all go, and embarrassing myself with being naive and scared. I knew I wasn’t sophisticated enough to be able to breeze thru all the in and outs of traveling and the process of trying new activities.
When we moved to Colorado, once again I let the fear of the unknown tear me up. I tried to have control over so much of my life to keep these scared feelings deep down. I knew I disappointed him so much. Driving in the mountains scares me. Learning to ski terrifies me. Experiencing the world brings me to my knees. So I would hold on to the dumbest excuses. Not enough money. I have to work. Oh the babies are too little.
In the last year of our marriage, I pushed myself to be more spontaneous and adventurous. But in the end, it was too late. He already checked out. I had spent my 10 years with him constantly afraid of the risks of life. The fear of failing, being broke, embarrassing myself, giving up control, and not being perfect made me miss out of so much. Funny though, the biggest risk I have ever taken in my life is falling in love with him, marrying him, and having his children. It has been the best one I have ever done and it came with the most pain and gifts.
And now I look back and I see how much the fears I had deep inside of me hurt my life. Hurt my marriage. Hurt my former husband. Hurt the opportunities life had for me. I can see it had an affect on my friendships too. I only gave so much of myself to friends because I was too scared to be vulnerable. To show them how weird, imperfect, and unworldly I really was. I always help myself back from being fully me. Of putting myself out there.
Not only did I hurt myself but I hurt others. My anxiety made me into someone I didn’t want to be. Cold, standoffish, a bitch. I can never go back and change. I can’t say to my 18 year old self and shake me. Don’t let this eat you alive! Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry about money. Don’t worry about not being perfect. Don’t let this fear become who you are!!!!!!
So my 34 year old self isn’t…