A lot changes in a year. Cliche, I know. BUT REALLY.
While I was going through my office today, I found an old journal. The first page was from slightly over one year ago, and it was just a list of things I was afraid of. I remember feeling completely paralyzed by these things, so much so that even though I’d felt them for a long time, I’d never written them down before because I didn’t want anyone to find them and know.
Today I wanted to share the list, because even though it’s personal and weird to talk about being vulnerable/afraid, it’s important. Part of being human is sharing experiences. Even when it feels lonely, there’s always someone else feeling similar things, and if we don’t talk about it, that solitary feeling will never go away.
I also wanted to share it because my list of fears this year is so different. Things do get better.
So many cliches in one blog post. Sorry, not sorry. It’s all true.
Things I was afraid of in 2016:
- disappointing people
- never getting an agent or a book deal
- it being my own fault because I didn’t work hard enough
- spiders, and the dark (SPIDERS IN THE DARK)
- wanting to leave the (VERY tight knit) religious community I was raised in
- that I’d be wrong and go to hell, that my relationship with my friends/family wouldn’t be the same, that loved ones would look at or treat me differently… you name the religious-motivated fear, I was probably feeling it.
- the feeling that I was lying about an integral part of myself
- that depression would kill me
- that some small part of me would always wish I had someone else’s life
Things I am afraid of in 2017:
- never getting a book deal
- it being my own fault because I didn’t work hard enough (some things never change 🙂 )
- Spiders (while drafting this, there was a spider in the corner of my office, and we had a tentative peace treaty…but I left the room for one second AND NOW IT’S GONE and my anxiety knows no bounds. IS IT UNDER MY CHAIR? IS IT IN THE CORNER OF MY DESK WHERE I REST MY FEET? IS IT BEHIND ME???)
- general, non-threatening existential dread
I didn’t talk about so many things last year, in part because it felt wrong — like I’d be disrespecting my friends or family, that people would roll their eyes at my so-called problems and tell me to get over it, or that it was too dark/serious/not bookish enough for this platform.
I don’t know what changed. Maybe enough time has passed that it doesn’t feel so much like I’m posting a photo of my open wound on the internet and saying PLEASE LOVE ME AND TELL ME EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT. But maybe the wound would’ve healed faster if I’d done this sooner. I don’t know.
I do know that last year was one of the hardest, and eventually best, years of my life. I learned to let go of things that are bad for me and cling to things that are good for me. I learned to value my own feelings as much as I value others’ and I learned how to be brave. I deepened my relationships with the incredible people in my life.
Fears are hard. But it’s okay to talk about them. I think it’s one of the only ways to get through them. And if you don’t think you’ve got someplace to do that, my inbox is always open. ❤