Day 19 – Five fears
I should have started this earlier.
I could talk about snakes and drowning and vertigo but those are rational fears of things that I can avoid, most of the time.
But what about those things you can’t avoid.
In a couple days, I’m going to talk about my zodiac sign and whether or not I think it fits me. But in the meantime, Scorpios are driven, passionate people and success and power are very important to them. I had always thought this was one of the points that didn’t really fit me. Until I started thinking about one of the things that really scares me and I realized it’s just my own version of power and success. That power and success mean different things to different people.
For a long time, one of my biggest fears, the kind that you can’t hide from or avoid, is that I will never be anything more than mediocre at anything I try. I’ve always been artistic. Writer, photographer, now hairstylist, and the thing about being an artist is that you have to have a unique voice to get anywhere with it. You can write greeting cards for your entire life and make a decent living or you can be Stephen King and have people buy your books simply because they are your books. Writing greeting cards is both something I have tried (not with any real level of commitment – I entered a contest) and something I fear. I take photos. I really like some of them. I only share the ones I really like. People like the ones I share. No one ever buys them. And now I’m doing hair and dread being stuck in corporate hell for the rest of forever because I’m just never going to be good enough to do anything else.
I am terrified that most people only just tolerate me. They feel sorry for me because I’m such an awkward misfit. But one day, tolerating me will be more than they want to deal with and they will tell me, with varying levels of intensity, to take a long walk off a short pier. It’s definitely not something I’m a stranger to. It’s happened. Often.
I wasn’t beaten up in school. No one ever gave me a wedgie or swirly (please consult the Urban Dictionary if you are unfamiliar with either of these terms) in school. My tormentors were always more creative and stealth. “Let me braid your hair!” then braid gum wrappers or sticks into it where I couldn’t see but everyone else could. I wasn’t bullied the way some kids were – and are – but that didn’t stop it from leaving scars and creating serious trust issues.
What is worse is I went to university 300 miles away from anyone I had ever known and for five years there I never felt like I was the person people tolerated. I genuinely believed I was someone people wanted to be friends with. Then I graduated and at 24 years old, I moved back to that same town where the ghosts of my tortured youth still lived. And all of those scars and all of those trust issues came flooding back. And I think they’ve gotten worse. Of course, being bullied by a 50-year-old woman for two years in my job didn’t probably help.
There are people in my life who wouldn’t appreciate me saying this but sometimes I do things that make me wonder if I might fall somewhere on the autism spectrum. I’ve come this far without a diagnosis and I’m doing okay and regardless of what the diagnosis might be, I’m weird and unique and if I am on the spectrum, I wouldn’t know how to be anything else. But I wonder if some of the things I do that make people scream and run away are things that I can’t really help because I have a legitimate medical disorder. In some ways this is a hope just as much as it is a fear but it’s something I’ll probably never find out because I’ve made it this far without.
And snakes. And drowning. And falling.