Ask an anxious person (diagnosed or not) what our fears are, and they’ll run the gamut — if we’re even able to coherently express them. I’m afraid of so many things, and yet, so unafraid of other things.
I can tell when my fears are irrational, even though I can’t stop my brain from being afraid. And I can tell when I should be more afraid than I am, though I can’t always explain why I’m not. If I go too long without anxiety, worry, and some low level of fear, I’ll wonder what’s wrong, what I’m not thinking about, and if I should be afraid because I’m not afraid.
Yes, this is my brain on anxiety. Fun. Times.
I could list all of my fears, but none of us have time for that so I’ll focus on the things I haven’t been able to stop thinking about recently — and they’re all about my life as a blogger and creative person with big dreams. They’re repeats of old fears, worries, and anxieties but that’s how anxious brains work sometimes.
I’m terrified of being forgotten and becoming irrelevant. Spend too much time only “existing” online, and you begin to think the only way to exist is online. If I stop blogging, podcasting, tweeting, and showing up, will anyone remember me? Have I made enough of an impact that anyone would care if I wasn’t here?
I’ve got genuine sex blogging and kink friends, so my rational mind knows the answer is, “Yes, people will care.” But it doesn’t stop me from being afraid of becoming invisible and forgotten.
I’m terrified of being seen. There was a time when “being seen” meant someone seeing my face. That ship has sailed. Then I was terrified of having my naked body shown (especially my stomach). That ship is in the process of sailing. See exhibit A above.
No, this is the fear of being known outside a small group of dedicated friends and followers. A well-meaning PR person gave me advice for how to grow my podcast audience, and it sounded like hell to me. Opening myself up to the general masses who may not know a thing about kink but will have an opinion because everyone on the internet has an opinion? That is a special kind of hell if you ask me.
And yet, all the “advice” in the world says that if you want to be successful, you’ve got to be seen on a big scale. I’m trying desperately to prove that advice wrong, but…
I’m afraid I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. So, let’s be clear, no one has any clue what we’re doing. We’re all making it up as we go along. If you look at anything I do as a blogger, kinkster, podcaster, or smutlancer, and think I’ve got it all figured out, think again. I’ve got the next five minutes figured out (maybe). Everything else is an educated guess.
What I “know” are previous patterns that have worked for me, so I repeat them over and over again until they stop working. But I’m also trying to do things for which there is no damn instruction manual (or known patterns), so I have to try new things all the time. I curled up in John Brownstone’s arms last night, and wailed, “I just want someone to tell me what to do!”
But he can’t Dom me through everything. And since I don’t want a job with a boss ever again, I have to sit and live with the fear of being clueless until the moment I’m a little less clueless. At which point, I’ll make progress on one thing and then realize I’m clueless about the next thing I’m trying to do, and the fear starts all over again.
That, in a nutshell, is my definition of adulting. But it’s also the definition of working for yourself, being a blogger, and doing anything creative…at least that’s what I’m telling myself. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t stop me from being afraid.
I’m afraid that the dreams in my head are bullshit. That I’m fooling myself and wasting time, money, and energy.
There it is. The big fear. The one that any dreamer has but may find it hard to admit. I was raised with the idea that dreams are for suckers. Goals matter. Hard work matters. But dreamers live with their head in the clouds.
Maybe so. I can get lost in the dream I have for myself and the life I envision. In my head it feels so real that I can taste it, feel it, hear it. It’s so real that my brain says, “Of course you can make this happen. Look how real it is in here!”
If all you’re counting on is the dream to come true by magic, then yes your heads are in the clouds. I’m working towards my dreams every day. I’ve already built a life for myself that 2012 me wouldn’t even recognize.
But with no instruction manual, no real rules, and no clue, this is my fear. That it’s all for naught, that I’m wasting my time.
How do I conquer that fear? Hell if I know. My current plan is to acknowledge I might not make it to the dream in my head, but if I move in the direction, I’ll create a better life than I would have had otherwise. But, in the meantime, the noise in my head overwhelms from time to time, and I sit with my fears, letting them wash over me.
Until I decide it’s time to get back to work and try to make the impossible happen for another day.