I Am Afraid
I am afraid….
A lot. A lot more of the time than I care to admit. Right now I’m afraid to write all this. I am so afraid I’m genuinely always embarrassed about it. I am more likely to hide away behind a smile and faux calmness and add this to the ever-growing “to do sometime later” list than face it. I’ve carried this around with me for a very long time — since childhood for no particular reason I can recall. A low-grade yet ever noticeably present sense of some danger or inevitable disaster looming around the corner that never comes. Despite that knowledge, it doesn’t seem to make the feeling any less.
It’s strange that I should have chosen the arts and performance as a career (or perhaps not so much), and now as a teacher and writer of sorts. It means putting myself out there. To be seen and heard and at some level judged. Our greatest struggles are often where our greatest gifts also lie.
Still, the fear is there. Living as anxiety in my solar plexus. Pulling everything to its center — a gravitational black hole in the middle of my body. It reaches up the front of my chest and pools in my throat where it takes a sharp bend to the back of the neck along the spine completing its journey at the top of my head and slowly trickling into my mind like some never-ending faucet from hell.
I struggle every single day. To connect to a sense of meaning and purpose, but even more so to act on it. To face the challenges of what it is to be a human in this time and place. I feel an alien oftentimes. I feel lost and estranged. I feel like completely giving up on everything. I am rage. I am such crippling sorrow.
In the bare moments when I’m honest with myself, and I mean the kind of honesty that touches every minutia of what you ever once thought of who you are, I’m amazed that I can function as well as I do. But functioning isn’t enough. It isn’t wellbeing. And it isn’t the fullness of life that I know in my heart to be true.
So I battle the fear and the anxiety and often the depression that comes with it, beginning every morning when my eyes open. It has defeated me in more battles than even I can count — but all of them I know. Part of me won’t stop the battle and whatever part that is I’m beginning to listen, and I’m thankful for this unearned grace that has kept me in there.
I’m sharing this because I’ve kept it secret for too long from too many people and because I’ve held so much shame surrounding it. But also because I think that if you’re reading this you might understand every word of how I feel. You have lived it too. You are my courage and my inspiration — those who walk and have walked this before me.
I am determined to win this battle with fear, to strive for expression, for wisdom and meaning and fullness. To overcome my resistance every single day. What could possibly be more worth it?
I thank you for reading. I thank you for witnessing to me. Thank you for hearing me. Thank you for being with me.
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Vancouver BC, Canada