i’d never describe myself in the shades of grey. i’m black or white. hot or cold. on or off. much to the dismay of the therapists i’ve worked with in the past, this has still not changed.
a simple example of this would be podcasts. “are you into podcasts, laura?” i’d say no…except for the ones i am so deeply into that i’ve binged them in a day and relistened to them about 3,045,092 times.
out of all the podcasts out there, there are three that i’ve done this with: my dad wrote a porno, someone knows something, and cbc uncover: escaping nxivm. if you haven’t listened to any of them, do so immediately after reading this blog, commenting on it, sharing it with your friends and your social media followers…hi, i’m back to writing, haven’t you missed me so much?
there is one podcast that i just discovered that i’m liking but wouldn’t say obsessed with yet. it’s on the Malcolm Gladwell tipping point of never listening to again or going full-blown fangirl. it’s called 10 things that scare me, and these less-than-10-minute episodes feature one person sharing 10 things that scare them – sometimes offering up a reason why it’s a personal fear of theirs. i can’t always relate to some fears, but others hit way too close to home.
while i’ve never created a list of the things that really scare me – when you have anxiety, isn’t everything fearful? – after listening to a few dozen people speak about what freaks them out, i decided to jot one down for you.
living in a peacekeeper country, i’ve been lucky to never experience the ravages of war in my front yard. when i was small i used to have nightmares about WWIII happening in the playground of my elementary school, and i would cry to my mom about the war in Bosnia. i don’t want to know what it’s like to have to live and try to survive in war.
i’ve sobbed for three straight minutes on my bathroom floor waiting for a pregnancy test to reveal my fate. i’ve repeated that process two other times – once in the bathroom of a Homesense, the other i can’t remember – each time praying to a God i hadn’t talked to in years, asking him to let me fail this test. i got my way.
i stood at the pharmacy counter of a shopper’s drug mart, too early in the morning, in the purple dress i so proudly wore the night before, asking for Plan B with champagne and sadness on my breath, after sleeping with my ex.
i don’t want to bring a bundle of love into the world that was not created in love. i don’t believe i’d make a good mother with my laundry list of mental health and body issues, and can’t screw up another to be the way i am. i’m afraid of the financial burden a child would add to my life.
in short: i’m terrified of making the choice of what to do if i found out i was pregnant.
never finding love
a bit dramatic for someone who’s yet 34. while i love with my whole heart and am loved by many fantastic people in return, i long for that you-and-me-against-the-world partnership that i’ve been lucky enough to witness a few times in my young life so far. i don’t believe there is someone for everyone, and more often than not many people settle in relationships. i fear being in one of those two camps.
the phone call to tell me one of my loved ones has died
when i lived in calgary, i had a rule with my family that if i received a phone call from them in the middle of the day, i would automatically assume that someone had died. the reason? because i received four middle of the day calls with such news near the beginning of my time out there. i have a small, close family and i can’t imagine having to take another one of those phone calls.
life is pretty expensive. i’ve struggled with having enough money before. i’ve survived on corn flakes and minute rice and naps in order to not feel hungry. i’ve borrowed money and felt the shame of having to pay someone back – often not as quickly as i’d like. but i’m lucky enough now to live on my own, downtown, in an expensive city. i work two jobs to do that. i’m doing my best to improve my savings and decrease my spending now so i don’t outlive my money. i fear being old without money.
being attacked when I’m walking alone at night
i like to walk a lot of places. and while i live in well-lit, densely populated neighbourhoods, there is always a thought in the back of my mind that i will be attacked at night, dragged into an alley, a park, a car, something. i’ve had cars pull up alongside me while walking alone and scream things at me, and i’ve been followed by a group of three men who spent a few blocks speaking to each other about me loud enough so i could hear. this fear isn’t being removed from the list anytime soon.
dying while living alone and no one knowing and my body decomposing
yup. yup, yup, yup. if i came home from work on a friday and died in my condo, no one would know or probably notice i was missing until monday or tuesday. while i talk to sister and dad almost every day, they are also used to me being a bit MIA occasionally when i just don’t feel like answering. my new place of employment isn’t as close-knit as my last, so even if i didn’t show up on monday, they might not actually worry until i didn’t show up on tuesday. then i’d be discovered in active decay with blood-containing foam leaking from my mouth and nose.
that i’ll always hate my body
body issues have been my sidekick for as long as i remember. as a five-year-old in ballet tights and bodysuit, i would poke at my tummy and wish i could put on a skirt on to help downplay it. my mom put me on crash diets in high school, i didn’t make the cheerleading team the first time i tried out because i was too big. i’ve been told over and over that my body wasn’t right for society, and i listened and agreed. i’m still there, poking at the fat, hiding in the back of the photo, and punishing myself for being “too”. it’s a really terrible feeling, and i fear that i’ll never let go of it, that my mind somehow is programmed to know that i deserve to dislike myself so much.
contracting an STD
i’m an advocate of using condoms and practicing safe sex for a multitude of reasons – see fear 2: babies. while i ask partners about their sexual health history and take all necessary precautions, i fear STDs. there are two main reasons for this: people lie, or they do not stay up to date on their own health and have something without knowing. condoms do not protect from everything. get tested regularly, kids. especially if you are considering not using condoms with someone – go on a date to the clinic and both of you get tested before taking that step.
serious mental health issues
anxiety and depression? no biggie. (ha!) so far i have been able to handle these two ailments with grace, a lot of tears, much panic, thousands of dollars spent on therapy, exercise, and nourishing food. i fear that i will be diagnosed with something more serious, that i will not be able to function or exist in society as i know it, that i’ll have to be medicated so heavily that i will lose my mind, my wit, my personality.
so there they are; 10 things that scare me at the current moment. can you relate to any, or are you laughing at me for some?