I used to read this book when I was 13 called Fearless by Francine Pascal when I started getting attacked by anxiety and fear just starting high school. It was about a teenage girl born without the fear gene; trained by her CIA dad in all forms of martial arts and so for a year I walked around acting tough believing I was ‘Fearless’. Now I am wrecked with anxiety, the possibility of making a simple phone call terrifies me. I’m not a natural conversationalist. So there are awkward pauses after “how are you?”and “how’s life?” and just calling somebody on the phone gets my heart racing because they can hear how weird and awkward I am (I believe). Therefore can you imagine barreling through people on a daily basis and trying to act normal. I can’t make speeches in front of people and I worry about what people think and say about me. I’m my own judge and juror; for something as trivial as someone saying hi and wondering if I greeted them back right, judging my pictures to the T (there’s no wonder as to why I don’t have a Whatsapp profile picture). Atleast once every week I have an anxiety attack, I can’t breathe, I’m breathing but not breathing, lungs crash and squeeze against my ribs and my heart dances to Calypso beats. I’m afraid to let the girl with whom I share bathroom see me because we do not speak. She’s only ever seen me about 2 times the entire semester (5 months), how I do it? It is a difficult feat but I am cursed by insomnia. I’m afraid to cook because I don’t want her nor her friends seeing me, staring at me and invading my space. I’m afraid to create a Youtube channel because I don’t want people to see and criticize me; personality and all. Fear is not trying because you already see yourself possibly winning but you might also fail so why bother. It’s not wanting to go out with this really cute guy because he’s actually good at reading you and we can’t have that. I must remain a mystery. Men like mystery and people do too.
If I didn’t have fear or a care in the world can you imagine all the things i’d accomplish. It hasn’t done anything but put my life in handcuffs like Christian does to Anna in Fifty Shades of Grey (random analogy). And when someone mentions doing anything that requires me to exert myself I panic, not to mention I detest change, I like the known and comfortable. Maybe weed would help. I’m just tired of being afraid. I just need scientists to come up with a way of eliminating the fear gene. So I can live if even for a day, just a day. I would be happy, i’d be a superhero. Wonder woman for a day? But instead i’m the girl with her hair in a bun, wearing minimal lip balm, comfortable shirt and jeans that trembles every time she hears a loud sound. I could make friends, you know long term friends. Instead of always talking to people online. But as much courage as I muster those will always be could haves. All the Youtube videos on how people overcome their anxiety and fears don’t really work, it doesn’t. They tell you to fake it till you make it. If I could fake it, I could do the real thing.
They love to say what’s there to be anxious or fearful of and they utter the quote that is supposed to deactivate all fear genes but for some reason it doesn’t work for me. Fear has molded itself into my body, blossomed, it feeds off of me. It reminds me of this big leafed green plant that latched on to a tree in my backyard and before we knew it was there. It grew like a beanstalk trunks thick and green, vines running along the tree’s body, its leaves blocking out its sunlight. The poor tree was barely surviving leaning as best as it could on something it had no strength or will to get rid of. I am at that tree bending for light. But people look at you and they think telling you this will work; life’s mantra for the fearless “You only live once”. Only fucking once.