I Must Not Fear...

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What are you afraid of - right now?

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001


I'm afraid that the pill is going to make my breasts grow until they pop right out of my bra and ascend into outer space, that I'm never going to be able to train my new dog to stop peeing on me, that the Harry Potter movie is going to suck, that I'll bounce a check, and that I'm both delusional and a pervert for having a mad crush on an eleven-year-old film character named Billy Elliot.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

My undergraduate career is over in two days -- which leaves me with a nice big healthy fear of The Rest Of My Life. What if I can't live on my research assistant salary, especially until my six-month review and raise? What if, when I decide for sure whether I want to go to grad school, grad school won't take me? What if I do get into grad schools but only ones far away from Len, and I have to make the "me or the relationship?" choice. What if I decide not to go to grad school, and never get a good job because of it?

Do you need me to go on? I think the general idea comes across okay. Don't even get me started on sidewalk grates or the monster in my basement, though...

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

Dora, don't worry, the Billy Elliott problem is a common one -- Jamie Bell was all but named in my best friend's divorce papers this month...

I'm terrified of leaving New York at the end of August. The nightmares have already started. I've lived in this apartment longer than anywhere else I've ever lived.

I'm scared that I'm not going to break it off with Mr. Cunningality until it's too late.

I'm scared of my electric bill now that I've installed my air conditioner.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

I'm afraid that the book I'm writing based on my graduate thesis will never get written and I will be exposed as only a wanna be writer and not the real thing and no one will ever respect me again. This is an utterly irrational fear...if I could write 160 pages on this for the thesis then I know that I can write 250 or more exciting pages for the nonacademic world. But. I'm still afraid.

I'm also six months pregnant and convinced that this baby (a boy by the way) is going to not want to come out when he's supposed to, or take a ridiculously long time getting out (can we all say epidural!) and that once he arrives my husband and I will look at each other and promptly freak out and become useless. Of course in balance, the baby fear makes that writing problem seem like nothing!


Colleen M.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

Stacey, one of my fears is on the opposite of yours. I've been living with the fear of the Rest of My Life for two years, since graduating, and now I'm living with the Fear of Returning. I start my first post-grad class in August. I'm afraid that I'm going to go so broke that I can't afford gas to drive to class, which is an hour away. I'm afraid that I'll find out that I really *am* stupid, and that surviving undergrad was an absolute fluke, and surviving in the workplace for two years was an even bigger fluke. I'm scared that it will take me too long to finish the program I'm going to, and that by the time I finish, it will somehow be too late and no one will want me anyway.

I was going to mention how petrified I am to fly home in July, but now I can't even think about it. I'm gonna go hide.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

Oh, my God. So many things.

I'm afraid I'll never find a job, or that I'll never find a GOOD job, meaning one that I both like and which pays enough for me to get by on, even with all of my student loan payments and credit card payments and car payment and rent payment (all of which payments were taken on when I was making a fairly high salary, of course). I'm scared that even if I do find a job, and even if that job is a good job, that I will be so far in the hole, money-wise, after this time of unemployment, that it will be months and months (or longer?) before I climb out of the pit.

I am afraid that it was a mistake to go to law school and grad school, because not only did they bury me under a ton of debt, but they will possibly (probably?) not lead me to a career that I find fulfilling.

I am afraid that I will not figure out what job I can do that I can be passionate about.

I am afraid that I will not be good enough to do the things that I AM passionate about - like writing and photography and acting and maybe teaching - or at least not good enough to make a living at them.

I am afraid that I will never lose this weight that I've gained over the last five years. I am afraid that I will always feel self- conscious about this extra weight I'm carrying.

I am afraid that I will never have children.

I am afraid I will never grow out of having some sort of damn acne at any given time.

I am afraid that I will let myself be stopped by my own fear.

Whew. I've had a not so good day. Ok, I feel better now.

-- Anonymous, June 27, 2001

I am afraid that I will never have children.

Jessamyn, I am totally afraid of this, too. It's a new fear, and it's hitting me very hard. I have no idea where it's coming from.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

It's a new fear for me, too! I've always thought that I wanted children, but I didn't feel desperate about it. Then when I was around 25 or so, I started really WANTING, deep down in my guts, to have a child - I still figured I would have children, I just didn't know when, and I hoped it would be soon.

And now lately, since around the time I turned 30, and around the time one of my best friends had her first baby, I have started to feel sort of desperate about it. When I was visiting my friend a couple of weeks ago, and went to a First Birthday Party for her son, I found myself starting to cry half the time I looked at the damn kid. (Ok, not damn kid. Cute kid. Great kid. Damn kid.) And suddenly, all of a sudden, while wondering why I am so incredibly emotional about this, it occurred to me that maybe I get so torn up about it because this is something that I will never have, that maybe I am just not meant to have children. Which is kinda weird, because I normally don't put much faith into what's "meant" to be.

So, anyway. I don't really believe that My Destiny is to be childless, but still....I'm afraid sometimes, anyway.

There you go. More information than you wanted, I'm sure. Heh.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

Oh, girls. Where did we all get this fear from? I share so. many. of. yours. Warning: not all are rational!

I am afraid I will never have a job I love. I am 29 and I have never had a job I love.

I am afraid that not only will I not lose this extra weight I've gained this year, I will gain more, and no one will find me attractive anymore.

I am afraid that when I do go to have a baby, I will be too old and my eggs will be gone, or I will just be plain infertile.

I am afraid that I will never, never, never graduate from college.

Jess, I too am afraid that my skin will NEVER stop breaking out.

What I am NOT afraid of is having women to commiserate with. I adore you all madly.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

Dora - our mad love for characters is what makes us *us*. Don't fight it. Let it fill you.

Stacey - any grad school would want you. And if your relationship with Len is the right one, then you will make the right choices and it will live on.

Anne - you are making the right move! Get out of that useless school - a change of scene is what you need. And I don't think this relationship will take you over, either. You are too strong now. Remember - "you have not compromised one thing". I have never forgotten that you wrote that.

Colleen - Congratulations!! You are going to be a brilliant mom - and START A JOURNAL, so we can all see what a great writer you are.

Maggi - promise yourself a cheese steak when you get off the plane, and then get one. And grad school will be fine. Don't let it overwhelm you - and then come back and tell ME that in a few years.

Jessie - a job will come that deserves your brilliance. You have so much happiness right now, with the sunshine of this man that loves you and so much ahead. Life is good. And it will be more than that.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

Oh girls...so many fears! Aren't we a bunch for group therapy! ha! Maybe we could get an enormous discount!

As for the no child fear, I am 32 and will be one month shy of 33 when the little trouper arrives. I went through similar paranoia when I was in my 20's, but it has worked out time-wise. I found the right guy and we are having a baby at the right time for us. My husband is 38 by the way, so this much later for him.

I have also found that fear of job kind of works its way out on its own, as long as you are open to possibilities when they come along. I went back for a second bachelor's (in history) a few years ago just for the thrill of it. No goal at all. Got that one and my professors encouraged me to go on to grad school. Again, no goals. I was working in an aviation job, which was from my first degree (obtained exactly one million years ago!) Got that grad degree and in the process read an ad for a college on the local army base looking for a history teacher. They were so desperate they hired me on the spot with no teaching experience! I've been there four years now teaching GI's and I love it. After I finished my thesis everyone was so crazy about the idea that they encouraged me to make it a book. I have one article published, another accepted by an editor and I'm working on a third, along with the book proposal, etc. The point...I fell into all of this!!! I was just open to it and watching for it and it came along. This laid back attitude might come from both my husband and I being cancer survivors, we take each day as it comes rather than worrying about the distant future so much. It's hard not to be afraid of life (and death), but honestly after you have kicked cancer's ass, you do get a lot braver...not that I would recommend that experience for anyone though. Oh, I don't know, I guess I'm trying to say that it is understandable to be afraid but don't let your fears keep you in bed buried under the covers. Keep watching for your life, it will take a leap in a new direction when you least expect it!

Melissa..thanks for the kind words! And the wind has shifted, no smoke today!!


-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

Hey, Melissa? I kinda love you. :)

Psst. Check your email.

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

I'm afraid I'm going to blow this whole throw a wedding and a reception in a jiffy thing by forgetting something (or someone) of huge importance.

I'm afraid of this new business ventures Scott is undertaking. I mean, I'm thrilled about it too, but every day I'm just a little bit nervous.

I'm afraid of the lawyer's yet to arrive bill.

I'm afraid my wedding ring won't be done in time for the wedding and I'll have to get married ringless.

I'm afraid of having the dental surgery (bone graft, dental implants, etc.) that I need to have.

I'm afraid of not having the dental surgery.

I'm afraid of having another baby at this late age. (Won't my eggs be old too? What if I can't get pregnant?)

I'm afraid of choosing not having another baby and regretting it forever.

(Baby fever 'round these parts?)

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

I'm afraid that once I get out and start lawyering (I actually have a job lined up) that I'll realize that I wasted 3 years and $80,000. Yes I just had to go to GW.

I'm afraid of spiders. YEEEEEEECH

I'm afraid I won't pass the Florida bar.

I'm afraid that I won't date anyone nice and worth keeping around or if they are worth keeping around, they'll run kicking and screaming away from me. (It seems David Letterman has the same fear)

-- Anonymous, June 28, 2001

I'm afraid I'll never even be able to decide whether I *want* a baby, and then I'll wake up one day 80 years old realizing that's the one huge regret I have about my life.

And in new and sillier fears, Dreamhost just upgraded me to their new system, which sends mailer-daemon errors, so now I've suddenly realized that 20% of my journal notify list no longer has valid email addresses. Now I'm afraid everyone else on the list doesn't even check those email addresses anymore, and I'm talking to a void.

-- Anonymous, June 29, 2001

>>Maggi - promise yourself a cheese steak when you get off the plane, and then get one. And grad school will be fine. Don't let it overwhelm you - and then come back and tell ME that in a few years.<<

Thanks, Melissa.

Of course, I want a cheese steak. It used to be my favorite thing to fly into Philly and stop for a cheesesteak on the way home from the airport. Of course, that feeds directly into my other fear:

I'm afraid of what my mother is going to say when I get off the plane. I know exactly what her first words will be. I know that I will be a wreck on the flight home; it will only be the second time I've flown home since my father died, and I damn near had a full- blown panic attack on the flight in February.

My mother is going to take one look at me and say, "Wow, you've really gained some weight."

And I don't think I'm going to be able to handle it. I think I'm going to turn right around and get back on that plane.

On another note: what is this deal with breaking out, anyway? A couple other people have commented on it, and I've suddenly started breaking out in the past couple of months. I never used to break out on my face, just a little on my back for some reason, and now it's all over my chest, my back and shoulders, my face -- and the sides of my neck. What the hell?

-- Anonymous, June 29, 2001

Like many others, I am afraid of the acne that has suddenly appeared out of nowhere. I suffered through Accutane as a teenage for this? No one told me my skin would suck when I was out of high school, too!

I'm also afraid of the weight that I have gained in the past two years. As if I wasn't doing a good enough job of gaining weight by being in a happy relationship (read: eating out all of the time), the Depo Provera had to help me out by throwing in even more weight!

I'm afraid that I will be stuck working for this horrible company forever.

I'm afraid that I will chicken out of moving to New England, and that if I ever do move there, I will not be able to find a job.

I am afraid that there are no jobs in the world that I am qualified for which will make me happy and pay me at least moderately well.

I am afraid that I have spent so much time working at a job I hate that I have lost the passion for the things I used to love.

I'm afraid that the mood swings I have been having lately will cause the boy to think I am crazy and push him to leave me.

I'm afraid I will never find the time to clean my house and it will get dirtier and dirtier.

Wow, life kind of sucks right now . . .

-- Anonymous, June 29, 2001

Colleen -- I agree with Melissa. Start a damn journal already! I know I've told you this before. And I'm so very excited for you and Ward.

Anne -- I'm so bummed you won't be in NYC anymore and able to continue our tradition of meeting up there when I visit, but I'm thrilled for you as you make this move. I, like Melissa, have never forgotten when you said "I have not compromised one thing." In fact, I think that's the quote I have for you on my links page. Because it's powerful. And it's true. And it's you.

Jessamyn -- I think it was you who wrote recently of your realization of Sally's: "I spy a family." I think this all the time. Most of my friends haven't started having babies yet, but when they do, I fear I will die. I fear I will be like Ellyn on thirtysomething, resenting the hell out of Hope's baby, whining, "But I knew you first!"

Athena -- I didn't know you were thinking about having another baby. Wow! Any kid would be lucky to have you for a mom. And all of your wedding anxiety will fade away on that day. Even if you have to get married ringless. Knowing you, you could make one out of seaweed on the beach and it would be perfect.

Stacey -- I have been meaning to write to you to say congratulations. What an amazing time this is in your life as you finish school. Wow! You go.

Okay, I hope I'm not forgetting anyone.

Wait, Melissa! The Forum Hostess herself. So many of your dreams have come true. I won't allow you to doubt that all of them will. Please remember what you're doing this weekend and know that it's just the beginning of what are sure to be incredible changes in your life.

Okay, I'm off to my cousin's white trash wedding.

-- Anonymous, June 29, 2001

Thanks, Dora! I'm still feeling weirdly depressed about it all, but I know sooner or later I'll get around to being proud of myself.

Meanwhile, uh, this is utterly random, but I tried to email you earlier about it and discovered that my email is being dysfunctional. The Buffy Burb link on your web site? Um, it goes to a porn site. Just in case you want to know, so you can update it or delete it or at least make it go to a *good* porn site. ;)

-- Anonymous, June 29, 2001

I am afraid right now that this pervasive feeling inside - that the last few months and the next couple of months are merely prelude, that my life is just on the verge of breaking wide open into all the things I want... the fulfillment and the bliss and the direction and the light at the end of the tunnel -

is actually a myth, and that one year from now I will find myself in the exactly same place, which is mostly meandering aimlessly.

-- Anonymous, July 01, 2001

Oh My God! Stacey, thank you so much for telling me that. I am mortified. I'm at work right now so I cannot change the link until later. Jesus! How did this happen? Anyway, thanks for letting me know. And I don't know what's going on with my email address. I've been getting your notifies. Oh, mayhem.

Back on topic: Things I fear? I fear linking to porn sites when I'm supposed to be linking to innocent little burbs. I fear that. A LOT.

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001

No worries as far as the email goes, Dora -- I'm sure it had nothing to do with your email address. My notify list is just being utterly bizarre the last few days, perhaps to do with some scary notes I've been getting from Dreamhost about my mail server. If it doesn't straighten up soon I'm just giong to switch to some other list service until Dreamhost fixes my mail server.

Glad I could give you a heads up about the porn; it was mildly alarming intending to quest for other journallers who share my James Marsters fixation, and finding a bunch of scary naked women with big hair instead.

And today I fear that my notify list will never be working properly again.

-- Anonymous, July 02, 2001

I'm afraid that all of you wonderfully honest and creative and gutsy people will think, "who the hell is this chick and why is she suddenly butting her way in here?" (I found this through a reference in Jessamyn's Diary-X.Com journal, and through reading LadyDisdain's journal from that link.)

I'm afraid that after 4 months, my boyfriend will come back from Australia and not want me anymore.

I'm afraid of windows that aren't covered at night - I'm afraid I'll look out and see a stalker coming to get me. (It wouldn't be the first time.)

I'm afraid of not having a place to live (my roommate is mad at me because I'm unemployed & have been late on rent two months in a row) and I know that my boyfriend doesn't want to live together with anyone until marriage, and we're nowhere near that point yet.

I'm afraid of being this fat forever, and I feel overwhelmed at the idea of trying to lose weight. I'm afraid of struggling and suffering only to lose one or two pounds a week... when I have 100 lbs I need to lose. I'm afraid of never being able to eat cheesecake and ice cream like I want, just so I can look pretty.

I'm afraid of being poor forever. I'm afraid of creditors that don't even call anymore after I tell them, "You can't suck blood from a turnip."

I'm afraid of feeling this depressed, because that leads to me contemplating suicide, and that's so hard to fight against.

I'm afraid that I'm writing my journal, only to have me be the only one that ever reads it. And then I'm afraid that someone I know will find it and recognize me despite all the changing of the facts & names to conceal myself.

I'm afraid I'll never be in a good place to have babies. I'm afraid that me waiting for the right time will just mean that I've lost my chance. And then I'm afraid I'll get pregnant too soon & that it'd ruin my chance to develop a relationship that would create the opportunities for raising happy children.

Those are just a few things I'm afraid of. And yet it comforts me to see others write their fears, because then I don't feel alone. I mean, I feel like I'm not so unique and weird, because other people have normal fears like I do, fears that arise from our experiences of life, and from our greatest desires.


-- Anonymous, July 09, 2001

Hmmmm. I am a middle-aged male. Married. One child. Good job. A fair amount of financial security. I have experienced numerous life-and-death situations already. Plenty of heartache. Emotional traumas. I can't count the number of tears I have shed.

None of this amounts to happy things to deal with, but when they happen, you deal with them. You just do. There is no altenative.

But, if I am afraid of anything, it is that I will make too many safe decisions at the expense of living up to my potential happiness. I am afraid I will cling to the easy route, the path of least resistance longer than the minimum needed to secure the opportunity to pursue what I love most.

Nothing can justify throwing away the opportunity to be happy. As far as I can see, the most common tragedy is growing old with regrets.

-- Anonymous, September 02, 2001

I am afraid of my self.

I am afraid of my self image, my self reflection,

I am afraid of my thoughts and my emotions,

I am afraid of my self.

I must not fear, for I am created in god's image.

I must not fear.

-- Anonymous, September 08, 2002

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