Are you afraid?

What are you scared of? Anything? Through my life the answer to that question has changed many times. When I was a kid I wasn’t scared of the dark or high places, I was scared that my dad would leave my mom, and he did. It’s strange how you can fear something and then once it happens, it either stops being scary or it changes you forever – makes you tough in ways you never anticipated. As a teenager I was scared of getting caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, sneaking out, drinking, skipping school. I wasn’t scared of getting my heart broke because I thought love lasted forever. I wasn’t scared of dying because when you are young you think you’re invincible. When I became an adult my fears got more complicated. When you are older most fears come from something you’ve already experienced, not the unknown. Your heart gets broken so you become afraid to love again, you lose your job and it makes you scared of failing, you lose a friend and suddenly you’re terrified no one likes you. Fear is a powerful thing. It can stop you from living, from loving, from being the person you long to be. One thing I know has changed from my wonder years to now is that most days I don’t think about the things I’m scared of. I’m not sure that’s actually a good thing. If we deny being afraid, does that makes us stronger or does it mean we’re really just cowardly? How can you ever overcome something if you don’t admit it exists? Maybe it’s too hard, maybe we are actually afraid of being afraid. I need to change because right now I’m tired of being scared. So here it goes, I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of growing old.  I’m not afraid of wrinkles or gray hair, I’m afraid that when I’m old my children will still laugh, skip, and run carelessly through the yard – and I won’t be able to catch them.

I’m afraid that people won’t see me. I know they see me physically but do they see what’s on the inside, and if they do, will they stay?

I’m afraid that one day my daughter will grow up and make the same mistakes I have and I won’t be able to save her from the pain just like my mom couldn’t save me.

I’m afraid of crying. Once, I went two years without crying – because I was afraid that if I started, I’d never stop. I’m afraid that my tears will take me nowhere except a place that I might never escape.

I’m afraid the memory of my father will fade so much that one day I won’t be able to remember what he looks like or how it felt when he hugged me.

I’m afraid of spiders, the big fat hairy ones.  Sometimes I dream that a giant brown recluse is hiding under my bed just waiting for me to dangle my hand over the side.

I’m afraid of people who think they are smarter than me, mostly because I have little self-control around idiots.

I’m afraid that one day I will have nothing left to say because there will be no one left to listen.

I’m afraid. Are you?

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