Everything? Is that a valid answer?
I mean let’s take away the obvious ones for the time being – my Mum dying, losing the rest of my family, snakes, being sick, small spaces, the word moist – and instead let’s delve a little deeper.
What am I truly scared of?
I feel like I’m going to come at this with a two pronged approach so bare with me. Prong one: failure. I’m not going to go fully into my daddy issues at this stage (although maybe that is something for a future post) but essentially I grew up knowing that my biological father didn’t love me at all. He loved his alcohol and he truthfully wished I wasn’t alive. I think coming to terms with that as a child and a young adult manifested in me a real fear of failure.
I mean if my own parent couldn’t love me then fundamentally there must be something really wrong with me, right?
No amount of counsellors, friends, family or loved ones trying to tell me the exact opposite can really change my mind on this, and while I’ve grown and realised that truthfully being born really wasn’t my fault and wasn’t really the reason for his actions, that deep rooted fear of failing has stayed. I feel the constant overwhelming need to prove myself. To try and be good at everything, to try and make people like me, to succeed. I’m so scared of turning round when I’m 80 and wishing I’d done things differently, or never having been truly happy, or even dying and having nothing particularly memorable to me. That’s a fear right there.
I think this fear of failure then pushes me to work harder, to work until I’m completely burned out, a walking zombie as I try to juggle a million and one things at once and still push myself to do more. I won’t rest until I’m successful at something and even if I’m already successful in others’ eyes I know I’ll continue to push and push myself to achieve the next thing and reach the next goal.
So yes, I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of failing at my job, at this blogging lark, at being a friend, at being in a relationship. I’m scared of making wrong decisions and big life fuck ups and the older I get the more scared of this I get as despite everything I’ve already overcome in 26 years, I still feel like I’ve done nothing to truly be proud of. Nothing worth anything anyway.
Second prong: I’m scared of myself.
I’m scared of my brain and the way it works. The way it never allows me to truly be happy and seems to ruin even the best things in my life. I’m scared that I’ll always have to live my life feeling the way I do now, I’m scared I’ll never find fulfilment in myself.
I’m doing a lot of soul searching at the moment while I’m making big life changes and while this can often be construed as a positive, oftentimes I find it a more negative exercise than anything as it gives my brain the freedom to wander into unwanted territory and analyse exactly what I’m not happy with rather than seeing how far I’ve truly come.
Because I can see that I have come far. I have. 5 years ago my anxiety was so bad that I could barely leave the house. I crawled to work and I crawled back to bed. I cancelled every social engagement and I basically lived my life either reading, on Tumblr or playing the sims. 4 years ago, I could leave the house but I was a nervous wreck. Then I started blogging and it started to bring me out of my shell.
4 years down the line I’m now living in London, moving to my second flat with my boyfriend and collaborating with global brands on my blog. I’m Head of Marketing for an investment firm in London and yeah, I’ve come far. But there’s still a huge distance to travel – after all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
So I guess I’m scared, I’m scared of the big things and the small things, but I’m not going to let me fears beat me down.
Photography: Sydnie Kelly
Bodysuit: Forever 21 | Trousers: Shein* | Shoes: Topshop