Maybe This Is What It Means To Be Fearless

A young blonde woman sitting on rocks overlooking a lake
Julia Caesar / Unsplash

I feel like everyone is judging me. I suffer from the Spotlight Complex more often than I would like to admit, because admitting it just opens me up for more judgement. I worry that people joke about me behind my back which is a justifiable worry because I am definitely not exempt from doing that towards others every now and then. I worry that I am a failure and even in the moments when I can taste success, I worry that I will soon lose it.

I am terrified of people finding out that I’m not as smart as they think I am, if they don’t already know it. I worry that if I say the wrong thing or hit a certain nerve, I will sever certain bonds. I fear that others look upon the things that I have and know that I don’t deserve them or believe that they aren’t really that great to begin with. I care a lot about what other people think. I hate that I care a lot about what other people think. I am afraid that I will not obtain the things I hope to obtain or that if I do, I will get them without the validation that comes with a long struggle. I often grow anxious as to where the balance strikes between being handed something and overworking myself. Will I know the difference when it comes? Will I be a sell-out? Will I let it consume me? Will I even make it far enough to ask myself these questions?

I’m really scared that I’m not loveable. I’m scared that I don’t love hard enough, or that I love the wrong people too much. I fear that despite trying my hardest to show others kindness, I slip up and pass judgement, lack empathy, or just feel too tired with myself to have anything left to give. I’m afraid that I cling too tightly to those who represent the unhealed parts of myself, because I wrestle between forcing others to press on my wounds rather than having to do it myself. I fear that my inexperience shows in every facet of my life. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know the right questions to ask. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about everything, or if I’m even supposed to feel at all.

I fear that I am not enough. Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not secure enough. In the fleeting moments where I overcome these notions, I fear that I am not modest enough, not humble enough, not grateful enough.

I fear that I will continue living like this without a healthy way to deal with it all. I fear that I will trade too many todays for tomorrows and only end up with a bunch of yesterdays. I fear that I will never feel worth loving or will continue to believe such a feeling is contingent upon the perfect conditions. I fear that I will never have the courage to tell people how I really feel about them. I fear that I am not honest enough with how I feel about myself.

I fear that I will never show myself enough kindness. I haven’t shown myself enough kindness for a long time. I fear that I will always remember too well the unkind things that I have been told, and too quickly forget the most genuine of compliments. I shake in the face of hypocrisy, because my human error makes it inevitable to remain a stranger to it. I fear that I will never just let myself be good enough. I’m afraid that I’ll just keep climbing and running and avoiding until everything has run dry. I’ll keep chasing statuses instead of moments, people instead of emotions, and acceptance instead of humanness.

I fear that the most authentic thing about me is nothing more than a heartbeat. But as I sit here with my fears spelled out in front of me, I’m starting to wonder if maybe that’s enough.

That maybe all I need to do is to keep letting my heart beat until it stops, and figure out the rest as it comes. Maybe it’s okay to be afraid, and maybe I shouldn’t be afraid to be okay. TC mark

Erin Cinney

Let go or be dragged.

I asked women to be honest about their Instagram photos

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This is the reality of Instagram...

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