25. Accepting Fear

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.”- Karl Augustus Menninger

This is the second post in my series on relationships. As previously mentioned, the time has come to get this all out coherently, so bear with me. It will be broken down into three separate posts (1. Learning To Be More Open) so that this isn’t too overbearing.

Fear graphic

I’m such a scaredy cat.

Putting my diagnosed anxiety on the side for a moment, I’m still scared of everything. Fun fact- I cried heavily (to the point of struggling to breathe) before building up the courage to get on the back of a motorbike. Fear has consumed a portion of me from a young age. As a child, being told off by adults was one of my biggest fears, as it would bring me to tears. Eighteen years of academia later and I still get like that; lecturers, I’m sorry– not sorry. I fear shadows that aren’t there in reality but are very much real in my mind; I fear finding bones in my food- a reason why I shouldn’t consume meat in my opinion and I fear prolonged loneliness.

A quick Google search has revealed to me that the latter fear of prolonged loneliness is in fact monophobia. That’s not to say that loneliness cannot be withstood, in the same way that many of my fears can be withstood. My fear of spiders can be withstood thanks to a handy gift from one of my best friends. I can withstand being alone if I know that someone will check I’m alive from time to time.

Moving Forward

As I get older I’m getting more aware of my fears. It’s also apparent that I need to be able to work with or around them as opposed to against them.

Of course, I can avoid public speaking for as long as humanly possible. But, I’ll never improve at it or conquer my fear of public speaking unless I try. In a way it’s similar to my fear of riding a motorbike; only overcome by trial. I don’t expect to completely overcome the fears that make me who I am. But if I can get even one fear under control then that’s good enough for me for right now.

fear

24. Learning To Be More Open

“The mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work unless it’s open.”- Frank Zappa

Trying to get this post into words has been a challenge. Being open and frank is a struggle of mine. Not because I’m unable to string a sentence together, but because I want it to be the right thing to say. I’ve never really considered discussing relationships, be it friendships or something more, as there is safety in solace. But now the time has come and it will take me a while to get this all out coherently, so bear with me. It will be broken down into three separate posts (2. Accepting Fear) so that this isn’t too overbearing.

The Past

The past could be likened to doors; after opening it, it must be closed again to maintain some mystery. In opening so many doors as a child, attempting to form everlasting bonds closed by newfound distances, it in turn shut and locked the internal doors that once allowed myself to be open and trust others. I was (and still am) a safe when it comes to being open around people, even to those that I love dearest. Even after finding the right key, fingerprint recognition and combination code it would still be an ongoing challenge to prise me open. My intentions were good, in that all I wanted was to remain protected in case I got too comfortable too quickly. Change is inevitable, but nothing scares me more than the final goodbye.

The Present

At present I’m learning that being open holds its place beyond friendships, spanning to acquaintances, business and romance. The extent to which I open the metaphorical door depends on my intentions; by allowing myself to begin to trust, what is it that I want to achieve? Whether it’s for creating a degree of trust between myself and a member of staff, or for strengthening the important friendships and relationship in my life, I need to be able to justify my decision to trust.

I’m a master of concealing thoughts and feelings to avoid being open, but with a little time I am learning that trust doesn’t have to be terrifying. If I feel that I’m in a safe space to be more honest and upfront, then of course I’ll jump at the chance! Don’t we all want to be emotionally free in the end? I’m also more accepting of distance not having to be a reason to close doors, which I wouldn’t have considered when I was younger. Having strong bonds that cross both cities and continents has proven that, as these are some of the people I’m most open with.

I’m still scared of opening up and being totally honest at present, but I’ll get there.

The Future

The future? Who knows! Just kidding. I’m hoping that I won’t be afraid of being open, but at the same time not be walked all over for being authentic and honest. All I do know is that until I can openly accept my own character and quirks, then I will continually struggle with being open with others.

relationships

05. he(ll)th

It’s the end of the first semester, I’ve had three deadlines, my lymph glands feel swollen, I’m still on 10 prescription tablets per day and my health has been a bit of a blur. But I’m oddly grateful for it all; it teaches me to take care of my body with more gratitude.

My physical body may not be as sound as it once was, but my ability to learn and grow mentally is still very much working. I still love to read, play, learn and create as much as I did as a child, if not more so now. I love to think on my own terms in order to get a better result, even if that is out of schedule with the environment around me. As long as results are produced then it’s fine, right?
This is why I describe my health as he(ll)th.It takes away so much physical time to just be and to feel, along with providing opportunistic sympathy which plays back as false. It’s enough to make me want to survive from home, mixed with a desire to do things a normal 22 year old would do (whatever that is).

But in spite of everything, I’m thankful for it all. I’m glad that my body signals to me when it needs me to slow down, but also when it allows me to work it to its limits in physical activity. I’m thankful for the asthma that reminds me to take time out to breathe. I’m also thankful that my body makes it immediately apparent when I need to rest, as without that I would, like many people, work myself into the ground! I’m grateful for the scars that remind me of a darker past, as they remind me of how much greater the present is.

It’s taken several years, but I never felt so thankful for the body I’m in. Yet at the same time, my health is still just that. It’s hell.

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