"Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free."
[Fears hinder | habits obstruct | expectations silence | judgments reduce.]
We are expected to be fearful of the inevitable -- the early 20s ‘career path’ dilemma, marriage, a few years later – kids, money – other classic, age-relevant generalizations we attract as if “ask me about this, I’m begging you” is written on our foreheads. What, though, are you really afraid of?
[I’m talking that fear that scares you so much you can’t even say it aloud in an empty room.]
All at once, life will spit you out like the final grain of sand in an hourglass - your time living this lie will be up. A choice remains: deny the existence of your deepest fear or let it render you a version of yourself you find unlovable. Hide or live.
[Just the thought of who you are, what you’re hiding, makes the consciousness – the state of alive you’ve fought so hard for – obsolete.]
When a fear is just too great, introspection and rationality are lost. It compromises clarity. We black out again – like we’re sixteen again – at the mere thought of it. But you don’t drink because the fears and the pain sobered you up harder and harder every time the bottle spit you out. You resist the numb as it grabs at your ankles, fighting to keep precious blood in your veins when your skin stops working. You are a symbol of resistance – you will be – you just don't know it yet.
[I live in a world where I now fear for my safety by virtue of who I am.]
On that winter morning you told yourself, somewhere deep in a journal, that you were too different to be loved, and you meant it. You had an expiration date about as pliable as diamond but as you went to read it, the ink ran off before you could decipher numbers. Let the black that is smothering you fall at your feet, seeping below the earth where pigment can't survive.
[Don't you have fears that toss your body out of bed at 3 a.m.?]
You're on the floor looking up. The doctor says it’s called sleep paralysis when the monsters drag their fingernails across your skin and you can’t move or speak. Still, closing your eyes at night doesn’t compare to being awake; to grasping for any indication that you are enough. You are miles beneath water, swept by an undercurrent that cannot sustain you. Swim.
[This is not where my story ends.]
André Gide said, “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not." For years you were loved for what you were not and on the hardest of days it was easier that way. Time has no sympathy, though, and for you, it is running out – even the slowest leak can leave you soul-less and empty.
[My baseline was an undulation between guilt and self-loathing, self-loathing and guilt.]
Maybe one day you’ll scribble that fear you have across your skin like injected carbon. Permanent. Love is stronger than the hate that objects it.
[The heart is only an organ – it can collapse under the weight of shame.]
You can no longer withstand the plague of another day alone inside that head of yours; you shouldn’t have to. Let the fear pour out of you like hot ash that cries – from the core of an erupting earth – to be set free. Like the “racecars” you were tucked into under the sand as a child, the perfect shell you built around you can’t outlive such tremors of doubt.
[Be the fragile thing you are.]
Your limbs are tied to puppet strings of your deepest insecurity. Are you as decrepit as you feel on your worst night or as unstoppable as you were when you finally found your voice? When you first said you were depressed and asked for help? When you called your friends, shared your truth, closed your eyes and hoped they'd still love you?
[There are so many reasons I lose sight of the answers to these questions.]
Unchain yourself from the deck before the ship you've tried to trust sinks. You are stronger than that meager piece of thread you've convinced yourself you are. Imagine if everyone spoke from the inside out, not the outside in. There is not a fear so great it can’t be loved. Let color stream back into your sunken eyes. Trust your lungs again – let truth reverse patterns of labored breathing.
[I am not done speaking.]