I have very few topical fears. Heights, snakes and even the dark have never shown up on my radar. Flying isn’t a problem, amuse me and the prospect of ghosts is more interesting to me than it is scary.
But deep down, underneath the carefully constructed pseudo confidence I exude, I am so afraid of everything.
I’m a college graduate, which you would think would help me feel reassured in my journey to start a great career. Instead, it makes me anxious because undergraduate degrees are basically as good as high school diplomas. And I know every person putting themselves out there for a position is already just as qualified as I am.
I’m afraid that my student debt will loom over my head until I’m too old to even remember what college felt like. And the debt will cause me to work well into my old age.
I’m worried that I’ll never find the kind of love I instinctively worship. That the person I’ve hoped and waited for will never show up to care about my favorite type of flower and want to live their future by my side.
That I’ll be too much for someone to choose to love every day. That I’ll never lose feelings for a boy I loved when I was a teenager. That I’ll always find something wrong with the boys who value me for everything I am.
I’m worried that I’ll never be taken seriously. That I’ll slip up and say the wrong thing or stutter too much, making a lifelong impression on important people. That one misstep will all be chalked up to the fact that I am a woman and I am incapable.
I’m scared that I’ll be left behind. That the people who used to play dress up with me will leave me in their dust as they move forward to the pavement they’ve found for themselves.
I’m afraid I’ll be a waitress forever. That every day I’ll fall victim to another degrading gaze of a customer who just knows they are better than me. Or just assumes that I made a massive mistake if this is what my life’s work has come to.
I’m worried dating apps are the only way I’ll ever meet someone.
I’m worried I’ll never be satisfied with what I see in the mirror.
I’m scared that I’ll never find what makes me feel alive and when I do, I won’t be good enough for it anyway.
I’m afraid to put myself out there and get beaten down by a digital world.
I’m scared to be the only one wearing pink in a room full of men in grey suits.
I’m scared that my own opinions will never be enough validation for myself.
I’m 23 years old and I don’t have love, a career or any clue how to acquire those things.
I’m 23 and I am simply terrified.