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The Art of Being Afraid

Although I'd consider myself a very honest and open person here on NB, there's parts of me and my mind that I've refrained from sharing or that I've outright hidden away and why? I don't know to be honest. Maybe it's a fear of judgement, maybe it's a worry that people will reject me or what I've said or done... It's all negative concerns that make me keep some things to myself despite wanting to come across as a free-spoken woman because I hope everyone builds up the courage to be unreserved with their thoughts and their voice too. But I've realised the only way I can encourage that confidence in other people is if I follow my own wishes and advice and bring down the boundaries I've set for myself and this blog and I'm completely transparent. I know that a lot of my worries and concerns in and about life are consistent with worries of many others, so what better way of feeling better about them then talking about them, right? After reading the wonderful Rebecca from From Roses' blog post about things she's afraid to share, I felt empowered to join in the online conversation of confessions and share what I'm mighty scared of too.

- I'm afraid to rely on anyone except me, myself, and I. I have incredibly supportive relationships in every corner of my life but I find it extremely difficult to entrust things with anyone but myself. These "things" can be *big* things such as something like my finances or wellbeing or the polar opposite and be something as small and frankly insignificant as relying on someone to get the right cranberry juice at the supermarket. I'm very much a person who likes to feel in control of what I'm doing and struggle with letting others be remotely in charge of that. I think this is partly down to my anxiety and always assuming the worst is going to happen so at least when it does, if I'm in charge, I can blame myself easily but pointing blame at others is something I find tough to do also. This means I find it almost impossible to accept help - even when I truly need it - and instead will be stubborn through and through until everything goes a bit tits up because I can't do it by myself and then I'll have a meltdown about it as a result. It takes me a long time to open up in relationships of all kinds and although I am getting better at this, I still find it difficult to trust others even with information about myself let alone decisions or actions that could effect me emotionally, financially, or more.

- I'm afraid of making decisions about pretty much everything. Although I find it hard to enlist others to do anything for me, I also find it super hard to make decisions. It has gotten me into a lot of heated arguments over the years and somehow that has made me even more indecisive in increased fear of *still* making the wrong decision. Obviously I have made some incredibly big decisions in my life thus far - I moved 3Oo+ miles away from home, I went to university, I further studied to become a teacher etc. but day to day I can't do decisions. Everyone laughs at that video from the scene in The Notebook when Ryan Gosling keeps asking "what do you want?" to be met with "I don't know" again and again and people say this is what it's like asking your girlfriend what she wants to eat for dinner, and it's pretty much me in a nutshell. I always answer "plan A or plan B" type questions with "I don't mind - what do you want to do?" and it's partly fear of making the wrong choice and also partly fear of not pleasing others. I'm the sort of person who will go along with someone else's plan, even if I don't like it, if I think it will make them happy. It's not necessarily a bad trait of mine but it can be an extremely frustrating one for both myself and others. As you can imagine, struggling with relying on others yet also finding it difficult to make decisions for myself - both big and small - do not make for a good mix, so this is an area in my life I'm trying to desperately improve - for the sake of everyone's sanity, including my own!

- I'm afraid of dying young. I think many of us share this fear and most of the time I think I'm being overdramatic but there's times when my anxiety and insistent worrying gets the better of me and I really worry about this. Sometimes when I can't go to sleep, I start to worry about why and it all just snowballs from there - what if I go to sleep and I don't wake up? I have a sore stomach and that's why I can't sleep but what if that's actually an illness? What if it's something that's going to kill me?... You see where I'm going with this right? It's completely irrational and it's something I can make myself sick with worry over, but it's still something I do. Thankfully, it's rarely crosses my mind anymore as I'm relatively happy most of the time so the thoughts don't seem to surface as often, but it's still something that's always bubbling away.

- I'm afraid of being too selfish. Okay guys I'll always be honest and tell you I'm an incredibly selfish person. Whilst I do try to always please others (sometimes at my displeasure), overall I am selfish and will always do things to benefit myself. I very rarely show remorse for things like friendships ending or for saying something hurtful and to be honest, I'm quite pleased about that for a number of reasons. As someone who chronically worries about anything and everything, from whether or not people are judging me for wearing a certain colour lipstick or if what I said 4 weeks and 3 days ago to a colleaguge was taken the wrong way, being able to cut people off who don't improve my life and doing what I want a lot of the time without regard for others can sometimes be a blessing. I've cut off a lot of people in the last 5 or so years and it's not because they've necessarily done anything wrong, just that I realised being their friend was a chore rather than a positive aspect in my life or they were just a bit too much of a Negative Nelly about certain things and it ultimately dragged me down. It would be the sort of personalities that brought out the worst parts of myself - the parts I've worked hard to change for the better over the years - that are the sort of personalities I can be selfish against and not care about. Whilst this selfishness is great for the most part as it means the few decisions I do make myself will always have my best interests at the centre of them, I am afraid that this selfishness will leak into more important departments of my life and will someday have a negative effect on someone I care about dearly (which comes back to that whole not relying on anyone point - I guess I'm just a bit of a loner!).

- I'm afraid that I'm damaged goods. Let's be honest - very few people get through life without having at least one rough relationship that had a lasting impact on them but I would go as far as to say all of my relationships have been damaging except my current one. As an incredibly insecure young girl, I grew up seeking validation from others instead of striving for it within myself and that has unfortunately had a lasting effect on me. Every past relationship I have had has either involved cheating, control, violence, or emotional abuse. None of them have been smooth sailing and many of us are in the same boat. However this is not me pointing the finger of blame at everyone else because every time you do that, you have 3 fingers pointing back at you but that's the concern. I'm still scared to this day that negativities from past experiences have effected my personality in a way that makes me unlovable, nasty, or difficult to tolerate but this is something I'm aware that I can only try to grow from.

- I'm afraid I won't get my shit together, ever. Worrying about being self-destructive is one thing, but I also constantly wonder and inevitably worry over not reaching the full potentials I have planned for my life. My focus for a lot of my years growing up has always been creating a happy and stable family for myself. Although I had lots of ambition and plans for careers I was interested in, my ultimate goal was and still is a humble one in that I would like to have a happy marriage and children. As a 16 year old, I thought I'd have it all sorted out by 25. Sitting here at 26 still not married and certainly not with children, it's clear that life doesn't pan out as you expect. I try my best to coin and use the phrase "what will be will be" like some sort of mantra to live by, but realistically I want to give myself a good shake and demand to know *why* I haven't got this shit together yet. I am never a regretful person because I'm a firm believer that regrets only digress your growth, but those "maybe I should have studied this instead" or "maybe this is the wrong job" sort of thoughts slip into my mind now and again so I never feel fully in control of these things. Of course I know that 26 is still young in the grand scheme of things and yes, I know, I can change and improve all areas of my life and reach this goal of having everything "perfect" and the way I want it but, I'm very much a player in the millennial era so I want it all now, instant, on a plate and I'll be damned if I feel content until I get it.

- I'm afraid that I'm a fraud. I feel like in the contemporary world, the fear of being "exposed" is rife in society and I guess a lot of it goes hand in hand with social media and for me in particular, blogging as well. I'm often concerned that I feel like a fraud in certain instances and that at some point, someone will point this out to be true. Impostor Syndrome is very much a real issue for many high-achieving individuals who feel that their accomplishments are fraudulent and whilst I am not someone diagnosed with this, it is still something I feel pops up time and time again for me. If you read my post about switching to being cruelty free with my beauty, I touched on this a little when I said I often feel like I'll be called out for being a hypocrite as I'm a meat eater but I'm fully against animal cruelty. This "fraud" mindset filters into other areas like I often feel undeserving of my First Class degree in Archaeology and feel like a failure as a teacher. I know deep down there's no reasons for this and actually, I worked bloody hard to achieve both of these accomplishments, but there's always a niggling voice that says I either don't deserve these accolades at all or I earned them in a non-ethical/truthful way. Even silly things like discussing the health benefits of yoga on this blog then spending 5 days not doing it, slobbing out eating junk food instead, fills me with an overwhelming feeling of being a failure and an impostor and it's ridiculous as we're always told "we're only human", but it's just an inner monologue battle I have with myself daily.

We all have fears and concerns throughout life, both rational and irrational, that are equally as valid as the next person's. We all have things that eat away at us at times that can be for long or short periods and can be things we live and grow from or things that just change and adapt due to personal developments. Whilst we never fully escape from these fears, I like to try and view them not as a negative thing we need to tackle but actually as a positive. Having fears shows that you're growing. Having fears shows that you're aware of areas in your life that you may not be content with or that you see an opportunity for improvement. These fears shape who we and whilst they should not define us, the fact that we are fighting them and trying to overcome them every day should. That's why I hope you haven't read this post as a completely negative and downer of a post because actually? Owning your fears, being aware of what you are afraid of is a great thing - it makes you stronger, more informed and mindful, and more vulnerable to your own criticism which helps you develop. Far too often in the blogging world it is seen as poorly judged to show your vulnerable, not-so-perfect life, but we're all going through shit and man, does it feel good to get it off your chest! So to wrap this up, here's just a handful more of things I'm afraid of - both rational and completely bat-shit insane (enjoy):

- I'm afraid of getting jealous of what others have whether it's material things or emotional bonds will eat me up.
- I'm afraid of possibly being stung by a bee one day and discovering that I'm actually extremely allergic to one of my favourite animals and will feel betrayed.
- I'm afraid of pushing everyone away and being a bit of a loner will come back to bite me on the butt one day.
- I'm afraid that one day I'll eat a sprout and actually like it.
- I'm constantly afraid that all of my teeth will fall out but I'm also afraid to go to the dentist to ensure that they won't.
- I'm afraid that I will go through my whole life never knowing whether or not I can successfully live on my own as up to this point, I haven't had the chance.
- I'm afraid that my thin hair will be gross when I'm old.
- I'm afraid that one day I'll stop wearing thongs and will opt for larger pants.
- I'm afraid that my blog writing isn't good enough.
- I'm afraid that my blog photography isn't good enough.
- I'm afraid that past experiences were my "one chance" and they've sailed by.
- I'm afraid that despite all of these fears, I'm the happiest I've ever been and I'm scared that *this* is what happiness actually feels like.

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