Friday, November 6
What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings changes?
In the end I think my greatest fears are still what they have always been. They may not be as strong as they were 30 years ago when I was a teen, or even twenty years ago when I was finally having to confront them but they are still there. I know the prompt says fear and I pluralized it, but that is because they are pretty well linked. At least they are for me.
1. Being judged. Because I always felt I WAS being judged. And more accurately that I was being judged and found lacking. This one still lurks around the edges of my psyche. It used to be pretty close to the center. And it turned me into my own worst judge. One of the things that helped me move it off the the edge was a comment by a member of the Lay Supervision Team on my first internship. he talked about always worrying what others thought of him and then realizing that people more often were not thinking about him at all. After all it is a bit self-centered to think that people are always busy judging you -- they have their own lives to live.
2. Being left on the outside. Again because I was largely sure I was intentionally being left out. And then I would add in #1 and become sure I was being left out so they could talk about me. It is sort of a fear of being alone, sort of a fear of being the outcast, and sort of a fear of having to admit that you are unlikeable. When it shows up now it manifests in the fear that I am missing out on something, that I might not hear something I need to know. But by and large I have outgrown it. And as one who leans to introversion it is sometimes OK to be left out (though really it feels better when I can at least tell myself I have chosen to be on the outside).
3. Connecting. Well really it was a fear of being hurt. I clearly remember when I was in Grade 9 listening to the song I am a Rock and thinking that was a great way to live. Because if I was an island then people couldn't get in to hurt me anymore. "and a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries". It was a few years later (well actually a decade or more later) that I realized this was actually a sad song. And that I had to be willing to connect if I was going to be happy and find some form of success. Didn't get there alone. ANd I still sort of fear the danger of connecting. But I am much better.
4. Looking foolish. Well sort of. Because from Grade 5 on my best outlet was theatre. I could go on stage and feel relaxed-ish. I could play the fool there. But in social situations --- not so much, except with some very trusted friends. Of course now I intentionally play the fool on a regular basis to embarrass my children....
Interestingly, as I reflected and wrote this post, I have no real strong memories of fear of the dark or of heights or of the "boogey man". I mean I remember being scared by ghost stories (like the time I read Amityville Horror at too young an age) and I was never the most adventurous child but the things I most remember being afraid of fall into the realm of social anxiety. Which explains a lot in hindsight..