I’m Not Afraid

Here’s the truth: I’m not afraid.

I’m scared shitless.

I am terrified to the point of near-paralysis. But this morning I still woke up, lifted my head from its pillow, and decided I was going to get up and do this thing.

Because what if, for all my effort, I turn out to be yet another shade of mediocre?

What if I’m already mediocre and I’m just deluding myself into thinking I actually have a chance?

I mean look at this guy. And that girl over there. THEM. They’re awesome and they’re floundering.

And that asshole. He’s an asshole. He’s nothing special but somehow people keep calling HIM.

Maybe I need to be a little more of an asshole.

Then maybe people would call me more.

Terrified. That’s what I am.

Scared that this thing called LIFE won’t leave the mark I want it to leave. That I’m writing in number two pencil when everyone I admire switched to Sharpie long ago.

Scared that my best isn’t enough and that better won’t get me there.

Scared that for all I give to this, it’ll never give me what I crave in return.

Maybe I need to hustle harder. Longer. Stop being so proud about what’s on my level and what I’m above.

Does reaching higher mean losing what I have, leaving the joy of it behind?

Or does reaching higher mean that I can’t sit still — that I’m just never wallowing in my now and more interested in “What if…?”

And what if “What If” is an answer I don’t want to hear, delivered by a voice I don’t want delivering anything except my goddamned GrubHub delivery?

What if I can’t stop being jealous of the people I’m supposed to love?

What if my reaction is always envy before admiration?

What if they look at me and think the same thing — that my incremental successes are the first stop for a facetious smirk, powered by wishing they had what I’ve earned?

I’m scared that this love I have won’t work and that should it not, I’ll be the one I blame.

That my ME isn’t enough and that I should have picked up that spare ME on the end cap at Target, grabbed 3 to spare and stuffed them high in a closet, ready to shake the wrinkles out of when this ME became tired and worn.

I’m afraid I haven’t changed and become softer and more loving, but more dull and less inspiring. Because hey, if this election has taught us anything it’s that anger and the word “pussy” get things done.

Maybe I should say “pussy” more often. But I’m more of a “fuckwit” gal and maybe the world isn’t ready for fuckwit.

And maybe I’m just four or five years behind on slang.

I’m scared that I’ll never be more than a weight and height, hair color and credits on a resume. That I’ll look around and see every other weight and height, hair color and credit soar past me, rising while I drift somewhere in the Middle.

The Middle is scary as fuck because you can see higher and lower and you sure as fuck don’t want to go back down. But what if the Middle I see is really the bottom and everyone above is laughing…at me?

I’m completely terrified that he’ll wake up one day and decide he doesn’t love me, that this relentless pursuit of mine — while I’ve always seen him at my side — had led him to another side. A side that’s quieter. Less mercurial. Less dorky and blurt-y and just flat-out weird. And that there will be nothing I can do except weep and go back to feeling as if my me isn’t enough.

Because I’m always afraid that I’ll walk into the room and I won’t be enough. That I’ll have everything they need and a metric ass ton they want and then another quarter fuck ton of things they never knew they wanted but HOLY SHIT THEY WANT IT. Yet despite all this, I’ll look too much like his ex-wife. Worn the wrong shoes. Slipped up and said “shit” when I meant “shirt.” (Happens often, especially on a keyboard, because spellcheck says THIS IS FINE.)

And all of this — it all scares me shitless.

But each day, I wake up. I lift my head from the pillow. And I still have enough fight left in me to tell all these fears to climb in and sit in the back fucking seat.

Because today, I’m still in the front. DRIVING. And I’m the one telling this meat machine where to go. What’s important. And what (and who) is worth it.

Because what I’m afraid of most is that other people think they’re the only ones who are afraid of all these things when the truth of the matter is I’m afraid too.

And I’m not afraid to tell you.

Because as soon as I put these fears out there, they’re less scary. They shift from four-footed mythical beasts of incredible power into cartoon kitty cats, ready for me to turn the page on their superficial snarls.

Fears belong in the wild — their natural habitat — not your head. Because in your head, they feed on the stuff dreams are made of.

And baby, your dreams want to eat that stuff.

So, you have a choice: get your fears out and feed your dreams and heart, OR…

Feed your fears and let your heart and dreams wither, starving for that one moment you make THEM the biggest thing in the room.

OR

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