Worry gives a small thing a big shadow. - Swedish proverb
It was only last week that I sat down at this very computer, for this very blog to describe the crippling fear I had about going into surgery. I remember sitting here, trying vaguely to sum up the startling cold, twisted, paralyzing fear of being at someone else's mercy and being sliced open, taken apart and having a piece of me removed.
I remember the feeling of suffocating under this weight, the feeling that no one truly understood where I was coming from. I remember the twisted and dark thoughts of wanting something bad to happen just to justify those fears, those terrors, that anxiety.
I sit here almost a week from that day, describing a new fear, a new anxiety, a new worry.
I've always been /that/ girl.
If there were ever a profession that was built around worrying, I'd have a PhD in it. I'm Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. I worry about anything and everything. Sure, I'm not quite afraid of my own shadow but a lot of my thought processes, my discussions with my mentor and long, drawn out, emotional conversations with friends are built around my fears.
I will admit that in the years since high school I have managed to push past these fears. There are many things that I'm incredibly proud of conquering. Asking a boy out for the first time, getting a job, getting a better job, falling in love, moving on from love, commitment, school...
Each of those things were big milestones in my life. Each were surrounded, shrouded in this fear and anxiety and in each of those cases the outcome, good or bad, made me a stronger person because of it. All of those things happened because I got sick of being crippled by what ifs and worst outcomes and I went for it.
The best example is asking out a boy at my first job.
I had a massive crush on this guy. He was tall, not attractive in the most general senses but he had a deep voice, a cute smile and he had a shy, quiet kindness about him that made my knees weak and my stomach churn.
He was a cashier, I was a deli girl.
Truly, a match made in heaven.
In the months after I started my job, balancing my last year of high school with my first 'real' job, I managed to slowly build up a confidence to speak to him. This included MANY packages of gum being bought from his check stand during breaks, before work, on days off. A chance of conversation for the low, low price of $1.09.
In those months I swooned over every conversation. I jumped at the chance to come up with discussion topics, including watching a game of hockey on television if only to discuss it with him at a later date. I was smitten and my girly fantasies often played out with him finally whisking me off my feet and making an honest woman out of me--or at least being my first, real boyfriend.
Suffice to say, this did not happen.
What did happen, and I remember this moment clearly, is one day during a coffee date with S, I turned to him and said it: I want to ask this boy out. I'm sick of being coy, I'm sick of buying gum, I just want an answer already.
So I did it.
Yes, it was awkward. I was a violent shade of red and it ended in tears but it was without a doubt one of the best things I could ever do for myself. It came to the point where my fear, my anxiety, my worries about the matter couldn't hold me in this standby, this shell anymore. Whatever the outcome, whatever the bad that could come from it, I knew that one Saturday standing on the corner on our way to Starbucks, that I could survive whatever happened but it was better than being ruled by this fear that he'd say no.
He did say no.
And so did the boy after that. But I was stronger because of it.
Besides, looking back at those potential relationships... they wouldn't have lasted.
So this Wednesday I have a new fear. A new anxiety.
As I make out forms, make appointments for information sessions, get my paperwork together, a pit of worry is growing in my stomach. I can feel it there like a small stone, weighing me down and ever pressing, always looking for my attention, my care, my nurturing.
With each e-mail, with each passing day and looming deadlines start becoming clear I can feel it's tendrils reaching up. I can almost feel myself being choked as I discuss future plans, as I click continue, as I search up dates and once again write down my legal given names.
Despite that, despite those what ifs, despite past failures and despite that nagging sensation, I'm once again at that point. I can sit here and tell you that whatever happens in the next year that I'll be better for it. That sitting at dead end jobs is not enough anymore and that the worst outcome is better than what I'm sitting in now.
I'm looking forward to the future, whether I'm ready or not.