….we all have a few. Fear is a funny thing. In caveman days, fear kept our early ancestors alive. Knowing when to run away from danger was important. Learning what can kill us and what is safe has been something which has evolved and has kept us from dying out. Well, the fear instinct and lots and lots of nookie (which was obviously deemed “safe”) but I digress.
Fear has it’s place. However, in some cases, fear can be crippling and a true hindrance. I feel that is the role fear has played in my life. Looking back on my life, I realize fear had made me truly scared to live. That statement makes my heart sad because it feels like I’ve wasted so much time already.
I was massively bullied for a large part of my youth. Why mention the bullying at my age? Bullying put a large, ugly mark on how I’ve seen myself for most of my life. I feel like I’ve lived my life thus far “safely” and under the radar so to speak. I’ve been afraid of being seen or heard and at the same time, desperately wanting to be seen and heard for who I really am.
Being constantly mocked and laughed at for simply existing makes a person want to hide. It is an isolating feeling to be bullied. People become “unsafe”. The world becomes unsafe. The dread that I could, once again, become the butt of a joke is ever present whenever I meet someone new. There is such fear within me when I meet new people and I know it is irrational. I recently realized I still expect people to dislike me straight away and I am surprised when people truly like me.
I was raised by a well meaning mother who also held many fears. Her fears were projected onto me with such consistency that I grew to doubt I was capable of anything. Whenever I brought up something I was interested in doing, I was always told the negative side. I know now that it was my mother’s own fears talking but as I young kid, I did not have that insight. I took the negative comments as “my own mother thinks I can’t do it”. As most kids, I always felt adults knew more than I did. If it was implied I couldn’t do it then it must be so. The last time I brought up my long held dream of modeling, I was about 10 years old. I had always been told “models do drugs” whenever I mentioned modeling before. That last time I brought it up, I defended why I could do it and I said I would not do drugs. My protests were dismissed and the implication that my dream was a bad idea was so final. I felt those negative words in my heart and any confidence I had in myself began to die.
As I got older, I wanted so much to “do something” with myself. I have always felt I was here for some reason. I’ve always wanted to do something big with my life. After high school, I was too afraid to leave the small town where I still live. I was afraid to go off to college. I was afraid to meet new people. I was afraid I would fail and I was afraid I would be laughed at. I didn’t know who I was because I was taught it was not OK to be me. I got laughed at for being me. The fears projected onto me told me I was incapable and not enough to accomplish my dreams.
The person I am today knows that negative comments can’t kill me. I know if people laugh at me, I won’t die. It only feels like it on the inside. I have worked my ass off to be the best, most efficient and accurate person at my job. I empathize with the underdog and I will be your fiercest advocate if you need my help.
I have always been curious to know what people see when they see me now. At my current job, we get reviews from our peers and it has given me some insight. My coworkers have said my gentle way with people is very calming and reassuring. My boss wishes she could clone me because I learn quickly and I am versatile. I’ve been told I appear confident and am friendly with patients. I am appreciated by my coworkers and they have told me this on many occasions. My cousin told me she thought I was interesting, honest and vulnerable. My nephew said I was an amazing mother. My dad and my grandpa have both told me they are proud of how I have raised two fine boys. These words from friends and family mean more than any of them could know. I am starting to see in myself the good that others can see. I am capable. I don’t suck. I am appreciated. I am loved.
Why did I share all of this? My sharing is one more step toward becoming more fearless. What is more frightening than sharing a piece of one’s soul? I also look up to other people who face different challenges than I do. When I see their fearlessness, it fills me with strength, hope and joy. It helps me see that my fears are not be as big as they often feel.