Living My Best Life

How Fear Is Crippling My Growth

Photo by Yeshi Kangrang

“Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination." Will Smith - After Earth

Growing up, I played it "safe." I always followed the rules. I took being a big sister and made it a point to lead by example. I never got in trouble by my parents. To most parents that's an accomplishment. One less child to worry about. But as a kid and young adult I felt stuck if I didn't have my parents around. It built such an anxiety that made being "independent" feel like a horror movie. When I was younger, I never understood my parents' point of view. "We want to protect you. Put you out of harm's way." Which I appreciated. But I don't think my parents thought long term. 

When it came time to socialize amongst my peers, I didn't know how to handle different personalities in a room. Interacting with the opposite sex made me want to run for the hills. I didn't have a CLUE. Those are lessons parent can't teach. Those lessons require experience. No handbook, website, or how to video can teach me about the human interaction. "Do I smile?" "Do I wave?" "Do I say hello?" Those simple greetings would give me the worst anxiety. So, after many failed attempts I was one with myself AKA secluded. I became quiet, reserved, and less talkative. The less I talked the more comfortable I'll be right? Wrong.

That mindset of "living in my head" started one of many reasons for my depression. In high school I didn't attend parties. At one point I asked but I would get the "Who's at this party?" "Will the party have a chaperon?" questions from my parents. Since I couldn't provide those answers, I couldn't go. I've heard so many No's I stopped asking. I would sit in my secluded room, on my secluded bed at home. I don't blame my parents. I blame myself for not giving an eloquent reason to go the party. I blame myself for not pleading my case. I accepted No as the final answer. Yes, I understood I am the first born. Yes, I understand that my parents have every right to know what's going on at these parties. No, I shouldn't have accepted no. One of my many regrets was not being naïve, taking risks as young teenagers would. At 15, I wanted to be the "adult." At age 31, nothing is fun about being an adult.

In my twenties I've always felt I missed out on something in my younger years. I never knew what that something was but I was always curious to find out. As I migrated out of my twenties, I still didn't know what the "something" was. It wasn't until I figured out what it was. It was INDEPENDENCE or "Living my BEST life." Independence in being my authentic self, independence on speaking my opinion, indepence in not answering to anyone and just "Doing Me." For years or maybe even decades, I've lived my life to please my parents and not myself. In my teens and early twenties, I wanted to be a grown woman in a young adult's body.

I've termed the phrase "Chuckie Effect." If you grew up in the 90s, you would be familiar with the show Rugrats. It centered around infants and toddlers who all talked to one another and went on a plethora of adventures. Chuckie was the character I related to the most. Anxiety, second guessing, fear or taking risks. We all have that rational friend who enjoys playing devil's advocate on the most simple excursions. The moral of that story was his fear hindered who he wanted to be or at least the potential to be someone else.

"Well, my mind is a pretty scary place." -Chuckie 

What I've discovered this past month is that fear is just a thought. It has created bad habits in which I have to consistently work on and get through. It's going to be scary. It's going to be hard but my ultimate goal is to "Live my BEST life." I can't do that sitting in the corner in a big room.

"F.E.A.R. - False Evidence Appearing Real"

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