By: Soumya Kulkarni, IATG ContributorAugust 17, 2016
I’m not scared of the normal things like the dark, heights or public speaking. I’m not fazed by blood or closed spaces. And so, I like to pretend that I’m fearless. But the truth is, I have a lot of fears, but I struggle to explain them, even to myself. I stuff them under my bed or to the back of my closet.
I turn my back on them, because I have an image to uphold: fearless.
But can you blame me? How do I make an excuse for when I (a confident and outgoing woman) find myself stumbling over my words in a conversation, saying one awkward thing after another?
Do I tell you about how I spend my nights tossing and turning in bed, playing the same scenes over and over, and no matter how hard I squeeze my eyes, the guilt and shame and fear is still there? Do I talk about how sometimes I’m convinced that no one truly likes me, how I’m afraid that my weird, geeky self has actually turned away the people I consider friends? How do I describe the feeling of being at a party, surrounded by people, feeling alone and like I need to prove jnmI was worth inviting? And what about the fear of failure? I have moments when all I can think is, “I’m going to fail this test” or “I’m not going to get into college or get a job.”
And yes, trust me, I know how irrational I sound, but that only makes it worse when I’m shaking in the hallway on my way to class. This fear stops me from trying new activities, because there’s no way I’ll be the best at them. There’s a tiny part of me that’s always comparing myself to others, telling me that I’m not talented enough, not cut out for this. There’s a part of me that says “you’re already too late” and that if I don’t save the world, my whole life must be meaningless.
I guess my point is, for better or worse, my fears are more easily concealed. I’m not easily overcome by them, because I tend to lock them up deep inside me and never open the door. But sometimes, they creep up when I least expect them to, and it’s at these times that it’s difficult to explain to people why I’m behaving so strangely. As a result, it’s easy to feel lonely and lash out on others.
I spend so much time and energy pushing my fears away, but maybe real strength comes from acknowledging they exist. Pulling them out of the closet and putting them in their place. I don’t know if I’m there yet, but I know I have to try.
Like Soumya says, it’s time to put our fears in place! Try simply stating your fears out loud today. It’s crazy how quickly they can lose authority over our lives when we say them out loud.
Soumya is a high schooler from the Midwest. In addition to writing, she loves chess, reading good books, chocolate, tea, new cities, and Harry Potter. She hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams as she embarks on her own journeys. Find her at her personal blog, ifturquoisecouldtalk.blogspot.com or tweet her @soumkulkarni.