Yeah, yeah, yeah. Most of you know I’m pretty bad about heights (do not EVER touch me if I’m more than 3 feet off the ground; I will freak the fuck out on you) and a lot of you are amused by my irrational fear of moths and butterflies (erratic flight patterns!), but what I really want to write about today are my true fears. The fears that paralyze me and the fears that drive me. I’m feeling particularly vulnerable today, so what the hell, instead of shutting down, I’m going to open up and let myself be even more vulnerable.
There are a couple facets to one big, overarching fear that I have. This fear has permeated my life since I was a junior in high school when one parent described me to her friend’s daughter as “pretty plain looking.” These weren’t words said in malice. I heard them from a third party and I’m sure that a parent wouldn’t talk shit about an 11th grader to actually do damage. That one phrase was the seed for my biggest fear in the world: that I am utterly forgettable.
Butterflies: A study in terror.
When I left high school, I made a very conscious decision that I would NOT be that shy little girl in the corner anymore. I would be outgoing, I would be loud and I would be fun. And I went to college in Southern Indiana and I did those things. I REALLY did those things. I made sure no one would forget me, and in the process, I developed a pretty shitty GPA. That problem was rectified later on when I graduated from the School of Journalism at CU with a 3.9 (Damn you, dad, for being right when you said, “But if you would just apply yourself, Kelly…”).
As I grew up I made tons of amazing new friends and I’ve loved them all, and I would do just about anything for anyone of my friends. But still, in the back of my mind, I worry that I’m just that plain girl that’s utterly forgettable and that the people I hang around simply tolerate me because they would feel guilty telling me they’d rather be hanging out with someone a little more interesting. You know, less plain.
It permeates my relationships. When I start dating someone, I become super girlfriend. I take on all my SO’s activities. Their problems become my problems. Their loves become my loves. I ensure my place as an unforgettable girlfriend by getting the perfect birthday gifts, treating my dude to surprises all the time and, well, I dynamite in the sack, so… there’s that too. But still, there are days when I am overwhelmed with the idea that I’ll never be good enough. That, soon enough, they’ll tire of me and they’ll move on to someone else more memorable and forget about me completely (which, of course, becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy).
OK, so these are the negatives of my fear. This is the side of my fear that grips me with a stranglehold when I’m alone in bed at night. There is another side of this fear that’s good though. It’s part that I kick in the nuts each week and tell, “Fuck you! I’m gonna go out into the world and I’m going to meet tons of new people and have fun new adventures each week! You aren’t going to make me lay around in bed and wallow in my own self-pity! Here, have another nut jab!”
That part of my fear drives me. It is the reason I love my life so much today. It’s the reason I go out and take risks and put myself out there for everyone to see. And I really, really love my life right now. It’s everything I wanted, but never would have dreamed I could have.
Now, if only I could just reign in that whole negative part, I would be totally set.