On Being Scared.
I am scared. Of what exactly, I’m still figuring that part out. But what I know is that when I grab a quiet moment in the day or evening or at 3am when I inevitably wake up for no reason at all, I am scared.
I’ve had way too many awkward and intrusive moments with men today. I hate it. I hate it so much I could cry. I did a little. It makes me doubt my brain and it makes me doubt my talents. It makes me doubt how worthwhile I truly am, if at the end of the day all I am is merely a walking, breathing object.
I see myself as Me; I am the same little creature who liked to dress up in dresses with puffed sleeves and couldn’t see her bed under her mountain range of stuffed animals and cherished her Barbie dolls probably for a little longer than it was cool to do so. Who is this object you bark at – what about me gives you the green light to push aside my soul? Is the external physical experience of me the apex of who I am?
I hate that I can so easily put my guard up. It’s become routine now, perfunctory. I walk around expressive, wild, inquisitive – and then just like that I can tranquilize myself.
Not when it comes to cause and effect actions – with work, with tasks, with tangible goals – if I know what I want and I work for it, I usually get what I want, so it goes. Because I tend to want what’s in my grand plan, nothing more. I know in the deepest depths what is right and what I can and should do. And if I don’t get what I want, usually what I get is even better (this sometimes takes a bit of hindsight, but it is always is the case).
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What scares me is that I don’t do this with Things but rather with other people, and I’ve become so accustomed to it. I don’t expect to be disappointed per se, I’ve just trained myself to see all the tiny particles of the potential warning signs – I see them right along with the eyes that don’t care to see past my skin, right along with the looks and words that affirm that Yes, I am apparently just an action figure to grab at like a child in Toys-R-Us. And I am scared that it has become so routine that I don’t even think about it any more. I am scared that I have become so attuned to the hints of sparks of warning signs that I shut down instinctively. I am so incredibly scared of disappointment because it’s what I am used to experiencing. I see the hurt from years away, I see the storm in the one cloud, I see the speckled-yellow leaves on the wide-ringed tree just by holding the unidentifiable seed. I’ve trained myself to hear the slightest change in tone, to latch onto the timbre of a sigh, to dig up the distance.
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Unfortunately – a day like today does nothing to help this.
I suppose the silver lining, when it comes to the cat calls and the blindness, is that yes I shut down and separate, but I simultaneously work harder to disprove that image. My worth is not dependent on my body, nor what I wear, nor the weight I’ve gained or lost or the way my legs are shaped. My value is not how they see me in their simple mind’s eye, which frankly makes me sick to my stomach. I cannot eradicate the stubborn hurtful rudeness of the world, but what I can do is focus my energy elsewhere, on the people who matter and the people who are open.
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My struggle lies in knowing when to shut down and when to breathe through and know that sometimes the small clouds just mean a prettier sunset awaits in mere hours…
I’m working on it.
This post was originally published on Dec 28th, 2012