Feeling fear isn’t merely contained to rollercoasters and scary movies, it turns out. No, fear can rear it’s ugly head at any given opportunity and can knock its cold, gnarly hands at any of your doors at any given moment. How do I know? Well, this has been my experience over the past couple of months, and I hope that in sharing my experiences it might help you, any of you.
In the beginning I was a loud, chatty and friendly girl. The first one with her hand in the air with an answer in class, always dancing at parties and eager to laugh at any given opportunity. When I was 18, I went through a horrible break up that shook me to my very core. I learned a valuable lesson back then which was that the thing you fear most can come true. At the time, this was the person that I was in love with would leave me, which he promptly did. I went to university completely alone, very scared and without any self worth or friends. This loneliness and low self esteem rolled on in the background until I fell in love again, this time with actual love personified. Unlucky for me, after moving in with Alex I suffered a nervous breakdown, which I have called The Fear. It was all consuming and clouded my world in a terrifying fog. When the very idea of walking down the hill to work filled me to my boots with dread, I knew that I wasn’t ok. I was poorly, but wouldn’t let anybody see it, because within this swirling confusion I was deathly frightened that they would think I was weak or pathetic and leave me.
These days I’m doing much better, but the ripple affects of The Fear still hasn’t quite left me. It now manifests in different ways, as a much quieter, murmuring insidious voice that whispers doubt to me before I do something I love.
For example, I love writing. I’m working on this project in tandem with another, something that I’ve wanted to do for years but have been too scared, too filled with self doubt, too afraid. The thought of putting my creative needs first frightened me because I was worried that somehow Alex would feel left out and wouldn’t want to be with me anymore. It was like my brain was trying any old tactic to get out of doing what I really wanted to do, because it was scary and a big deal. The Fear made everything such a big deal, so life and death that it completely took the fun out of it for me. It boiled everything down into fight or flight and I chose flight every time.
So how do you move forward when you have The Fear? Honestly, its hard. It really fucking sucks, actually, and I’m no way completely out of the woods, but I’m getting here. A regular yoga practice, making sure that you centre yourself when you can, bringing a little lightness and silliness to your day can do wonders to loosening The Fear’s grip. Today, I was the loosest I’ve been in years with my practice, and that’s because I brought some joy to my practice. Usually I’m pushing myself, trying to be more flexible and getting frustrated when my flexibility seems to be taking a backwards step. When I said to myself “you don’t have to be the best at this to do it”, I felt my body loosen it’s grip. I softened. I moved like a fucking swan and honestly, it was beautiful.
I think so many of us feel The Fear in varying forms and it’s ok. Just know that even if you are in it right now, I promise you it will pass. You are not weak for feeling it, you are just feeling a type of way right now and it will pass, like all things. There’s no wind that constantly blows, there’s no wave that keeps crashing, like there’s no flower that constantly blooms.
You are in the making to be the most beautiful you the world has ever seen, just you wait.