What Are You Scared Of?

Right now I am going to put aside everything else, to think, and tell you, about my fears. Because in a few minutes I am going to ask you to do the same – not necessarily to write, but to recognize – the things that scare you. I think it’s important to acknowledge our fears because in doing that, if we are very fortunate, we may be able to come to terms with them. But the likelier, and much more valuable scenario is that we will get to further our understanding of ourselves.

Not all of my fears are rational. In fact, if you asked most people I reckon they would say that most of them were irrational. But ridiculous as they are, they are the things that bother me, some of them from time to time, and others every day.

I think that my biggest rational fear is loneliness. I can put a twist on it and call it a “hunger” for companionship, which is usually how it expresses itself. That makes it sound less negative. Really, it’s an insecurity. It’s interesting for me to see how it applies to other areas of my thoughts. How it affects them. For example, I’ve noticed that nearly all of my fantasies include some form of “comradeship”. To give one instance, my being-in-a-band fantasy is almost as much about my bonding with the other members of the band as it is about creating music. That’s not to say that it’s the main attraction, just that friendship is a large part of it.
Another fantasy of mine is having a family of my own, which for me would be a husband and two kids (This is actually a pretty strange one considering the fact that I don’t really want children.) In the family fantasy I have a GREAT relationship with my kids and husband, I’m a cool parent, and we all have interesting conversations together. So it’s not so much about the satisfaction of bringing a child into the world, but the togetherness of our interactions as a family. Maybe this also comes from the fact that I’ve never been in an in-crowd.

Β A different way that my fear of loneliness affects my thought-patterns is that I’m always wanting others to share my interests. I’m desperate for people to have things in common with me, and I get overly disappointed when they don’t. For example, I LOVE listening to music so much that I feel the need to broadcast that love to others in the hope that they will share my enthusiasm. The problem with that is that I end up giving my family useless facts about Siouxsie And The Banshees that they really don’t care about. And writing long paragraphs about 17th century novelists in e-mails to my friends…

Now, for an extremely irrational worry: I sometimes panic that nothing tangible, not even myself, exists! It is a crazy thing to believe, but sometimes I do. In this scenario, I am literally a mind, or consciousness and that is the only thing that there is. There is not even a space for me to exist in, because there is no space. As the consciousness, I have cultivated in myself the belief of a world, material objects, and people because I cannot face the fact that there is nothing. There cannot be nothing for “me.” I cannot be alone. And I cannot exist as as a single mind. Therefore I have created a fake body and world for myself. That explains why nothing seems real. How, really, could humans have created computers and the internet? Those things are impossible. So are skyscrapers and running water and a universe we live in that stretches on for infinity. The reason the world contradicts itself all the time is because it does not exist and I have made it up.

The idea is terrifying. Too terrifying for words and for a while I felt like I could tell no-one about it, ever. It is again connected to my fear of loneliness. In fact, it is a concentrated version of it. The worst thing about it is that, in a way, it is true; there cannot be a material nothingness. Neither can there be an absence of consciousness, because without a viewer the world cannot exist. At least, not in my opinion. (What do you think? If there were no creatures to view the world, would it exist?) But anyway, as much as this fear is irrational, there is an element of truth in it. This… consciousness, or mind that there is, is the equivalent of god, except manifested as the viewer rather than an outside force. And if you cast it onto the concept of enlightenment or awakening you may find that they have similar qualities. (The difference is that enlightenment is positive, and is not centered around loneliness.)

Another thing I tend to fret about is the future in general. The future is a time of the unknown, making it the perfect space to project our anxieties onto, especially irrational ones – because on the blank canvas of future time, there is always a possibility that the unlikely might come true… right? Anything is possible in the future because it hasn’t happened yet. It is one of the closest unknowns. I worry that when I move out I will not know how to look after myself, earn money and understand how basic things like politics and passports work. I do not know how to send in applications. Neither do I understand how to book tickets or register contracts. I often try to tell myself that this knowledge will come in time, and that I need not bother myself about it, but there is too much doubt. It is petrifying. As humans we try to refer to past experiences to reassure ourselves of the future, but deep down we know that the future can throw anything at us. We feel like we need to prepare ourselves for that possibility. Ideally, we should balance the two and become comfortable with not knowing. The problem is the weight on the scale can often become uneven when doubt kicks in.

Something else I’m scared of is not being understood. I’m sure it’s something everyone worries about, and it’s one of the most versatile anxieties. I do not want people to take things that I say the wrong way. My stupid remarks are not meant to be taken seriously either. A lot of the time I hold myself back from talking about things I want to discuss because I know it’s likely that people will either think I’m being rude, attention-seeking or too weird for their liking. I do not want them to think I am being fake either. I don’t want people to dislike me because they think I mean something that I don’t. In fact, there are very, very many things I don’t want people to think I am. I am incapable of listing them all here.

Moving on, another idea that distresses me from time to time is the unlikely scenario of my being alone and drowning far out in the middle of the sea. With no land visible in any direction. Especially in stormy weather. I seriously doubt this will ever happen, but the idea makes me very uncomfortable. It is the isolation and hopelessness of it all, and the vast expanse of the sea. It is a fear of the unknown, and once again, a fear of being alone. Knowing that there is nobody to see you drowning, let alone to attempt to rescue you. It is just you and the deep, deep cold water – and whatever lurks beneath. Imagine trying to tread water for as long as possible, to keep your head above just so you could breathe for a little longer, just a few more minutes, knowing all the while that you were going to drown. The instinctive fight of the flailing limbs as the lungs filled with salty water.

There are plenty more things that scare me. Now, though, I am going to ask you to think about your fears. As I said earlier, acknowledging the things that scare you may help you to know yourself better. It is also a fascinating exploration of the mind, and can help you understand why you do and think things the way you do. If you would like to comment, it would be interesting for me to hear what your fears are, and whether or not you could relate to any of mine.

Thank you for reading, and remember to ask yourself “What am I scared of?”

The answer might surprise.
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17 thoughts on “What Are You Scared Of?

  1. Ahh, I love your writing so much; I just had to say that first πŸ™‚

    I share most of your fears here, especially the one about loneliness. I always think that when older I’m going to be very alone, that no one will ever want to marry me or whatever. That I’ll always be either too weird or annoying or moody for anyone to even remain being a friend. I also have a fear that if I trust someone with my secrets, they will tell the entire world, like write a book based on them.

    Oh gosh, I share the same fear of being older. I have no idea how I will make money or be able to keep myself fed…or stand the fact that I could be alone. I always fear I’m gonna end up on the streets because I’m not smart enough or tolerate peple enough to have an actual profession and make a decent salary to pay for a life I dream of having. I also think I won’t get accepted to any school because of just how I am.

    Oh, I’d advise you to think yourself weird for talking about Siouxsie and The Banshees. They rock! I preferably love their cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”. And writing about seventeenth century novels is QUITE impressing and I respect you for your individuality πŸ™‚ The literature back then was as pivotal as the contemporary is now.

    I’m also afraid of losing my mind and doing something I’ll regret or end up in a psychiatric ward for the rest of my life…

    I also keep being tormented by the thought of going to Hell. I’ve been afraid of.it since childhood because my elders would tell me I would go there if I wasn’t a Catholic. I have lost nights of sleep because of it and has caused a great deal of anxiety. It’s because I watched a documentary based on it that made it more frightened. I even would pray twice a day on a daily basis, even if I had forgotten how. But it’s not as intense as it was last year because I don’t care about religion at all.

    Well, if you don’t exist, then I also wonder if I don’t either. What gives me my thoughts and emotions? It’s quite confusing and I understand.

    A persistent fear that I have every day is that people make fun of me all the time. That I am ridiculed and a laughingstock for my species. It gets worse when I have to be around people.

    And, I cannot go outside by myself without being terrified by the fact that I could be kidnapped and murdered and chopped to pieces or whatever. I don’t get out of the house unless someone of my family is with me.

    I know these fears aren’t rational but still succeed in terrorizing my mind and making me either shudder or frown.

    Wow, talking of this was very therapeutic as I feel a bit liberated from my mind. I can actually just focus on the present.

    I love your post and I appreciate you for writing this. I’m sure that the beautiful prose you write with will take you to many interesting places where you won’t be alone πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Greetings, Isadora!
      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and reading this post. And for the compliment about my writing! I really love your writing as well ❀ Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your comment.
      I can completely understand and/or relate to most of your fears that you told me about. It is literally a kind of torture being faced by monsters of your own mind like that… Especially when one knows that the fears are irrational, or are about things that are unlikely to happen – yet they STILL persist… It is terrible to feel like this. Everything you said resonated with a part of my mind and with my own fears.

      Thank you for what you said about The Banshees and seventeenth century novels! I actually meant eighteenth century but wrote seventeenth by mistake :/ !! I will have to correct that πŸ™‚
      I just wanted to say that your fear about ending up in a psychiatric ward is also something that terrifies me. It would just be so awful not to understand what was going on or be able to cope in the world. Gosh.

      Yes, I remember you talked before about being scared of going to Hell, and even worse, being told by other people that you would. That fear is too terrifying for words and I'm really sorry you had to go through that.
      I appreciate you trusting me with your fears, and I am glad that it helped release a little bit of the tension for a while.
      Have a great day,
      Jamila

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for writing this, I identify with a lot of it!
    This reminds me that I need to actually write an article of about fears soon on my blog.
    By the way, you mentioned 17th century novelists, can you recommend any? I need to read some 17th century literature to get inspiration for the novel I’m working on. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there!
      Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. Thank you for reading my post and commenting! And it is good to know that I am not alone and that someone else identifies with what I was writing about.
      About the seventeenth century novelists, I actually meant eighteenth! I just wrote seventeenth by mistake which is a bit embarrassing… Well, anyway, I’ve recently become particularly fond of the Gothic genre. The books are amazing, and I find they inspire me to want to write my own! That is really cool that you’re writing a novel. I’d recommend everything I’ve read in the Gothic genre to read =) I would recommend individual books and tell you their back-stories but I don’t know which ones you’ve already read!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Haven’t read much gothic yet. I’ve read a lot of the Romantic authors from the turn of the 19th century like Keats, Shelley and Austen. Have you read Northanger Abbey? Jane Austen wrote it as a sort of parody of gothic novels. I really want to read Mary Shelley’s novels. If you’re interested in Romantic poetry, you should read “To a Skylark” and “The Masque of Anarchy” by PB Shelley and “Bright Star” and “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” by John Keats.
        Also. in a completely different genre, you should read “The Hearing Trumpet” by the Leonora Carrington. It’s wacky and amazing, and everyone needs to read it!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much for all the recommendations! I do really want to get into the Romantic genre, I will check out the poems you told me about – I bet I’ll enjoy them. Oh yeah, Bright Star is the one you posted that cover song video of, right?!
        I haven’t read Northanger Abbey yet, but I’ve heard of it and very roughly know the premise. Would you recommend it?
        If you are interested in Gothic fiction, I’d say read ‘The Castle Of Otranto’ first, if you haven’t read it already (Have you?) because it’s really famous and said to be the first Gothic novel! That, along with ‘The Monk’ and ‘The Mysteries Of Udolpho’ – those last two I haven’t read… yet :\ (But I will, once I’ve finished the other books in my to-read list XD) Also, the poems of Thomas Chatterton? Do you know the fascinating story behind him and his poems? ^_^ Then, of course there’s also the super famous trio of “Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde,” “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” which it’s highly likely that you’ve already read… Right now I’m reading a Gothic novel called “Uncle Silas” which, so far, I’d recommend!
        When you mentioned Shelley, you meant Percy rather than Mary, right?
        Okay, I’ll remember The Hearing Trumpet! Also, are you familiar with Patrick Ness? Not Gothic, but an amazing YA author. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • In answer to all your questions: :-
        )
        1.Yeah, it’s the poem I made a song out of
        2.I really liked Northanger Abbey, but it isn’t the most fast-moving novel in the world if you catch my drift. I’ve read Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. I really love Jane Austen’s style of writing. If you like her, you should also look into her Irish counterpart; Maria Edgeworth (who was a correspondent, and some say mistress, to Sir Walter Scott.) The only book I’ve read by her is “The Absentee” which I liked. It’s about the son of an Irish absentee landlord trying to convince his parents to give up their decadent life in London and go back to their Irish estate and care for their starving, suffering tenants. I’ve read a good bit of Dickens too.
        3. I’m really sorry, embarrassingly, I haven’t read any of those, though “The Mysteries of Udolpho” is mentioned in Northanger Abbey. I have read The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe and some of PB Shelley’s poetry has a gothic vibe.
        4. I’ve heard of Chatterton but I haven’t read any of his poems, that I can think of. I know he committed suicide as a teenager but I don’t know much else. All of the Romantic poets seem to have weird life stories, like Byron owning a bear, swimming the Grand Canal in Venice and fighting for Greek Independence or PB Shelley dying in a capsized boat he built himself. I’ve definitely seen a famous painting entitled “The Death of Chatterton” by one of the Pre-Raphaelites in books a lot. (I love the Pre-Raphaelites, especially Rosetti!)
        I actually should read more fiction, I spend a great deal of time buried in art history books…
        4. Yup, Percy. I need to read some of Mary Shelley’s work! I’ve heard it’s really ahead of its time.
        5.Don’t think so. But most of the books I read are either non-fictional or old or weird and obscure… I collect antique books also.
        Have you read The Book Thief? I like the style of prose it uses

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing read that was!

    Fear not for your future because judging from your article you are very bright and are much more advanced in your understanding of life compared to most folks. At the very least you will be able to earn money as a great novelist or in any capacity that involves writing.

    My opinion is that humans are very adaptable. I was worried of being alone too when I was younger, but with time I’ve simply learned to deal with it and adapt to it and so far any loneliness has not killed me. Although studies say that it eventually does, so far it has not. In fact I got so use to it that I think it simply made me stronger to the point that now I cherish my space and ”alone” time. In other words our fears can change as we gain life experience and our skin hardens.

    For example I use to get all worked-up and anxious if I was late paying a bill or late paying rent. With time and experience however I’ve learned that it really is a micro issue in a macro universe. And being a few days late paying a bill hasn’t killed me either, although it might cost me a few extra dollars in interest.

    I use to be afraid of being fired from my job. Been there, done that and survived.

    However, I am not fearless regardless of any life experience that I may have gained over time. Personally I am petrified of being buried alive in a box or coffin where I cannot escape and simply have to wait to die either through lack of air or lack of food. I’m also, like you, petrified of those huge waves in the middle of the ocean, and being stranded there trying to stay afloat as the waves treat you like a piece of clothing in a washing machine spin cycle. Last but not least, I fear heights and I am not sure that I would be able to parachute out of a plane or bungee jump off of a bridge. Maybe it’s the free fall and the lack of control that I fear. I’m not sure.

    One way that I have learned to confront my fears is to do things opposite of what I was taught, so as to condition myself to not be afraid. For example I was taught as a man to only wear pants and not a skirt. Then I started wearing a kilt, which meant confronting my fear of people laughing at me or making rude comments. I no longer have any such fear. Now-a-days if somebody does laugh at me I simply brush it off and continue to move forward. I realized that if somebody is laughing at me it makes me laugh as well.

    I was also taught by society to be a prude, to always cover myself and to always be ashamed of my body. Then one day I got naked in public, and now I no longer fear any judgement of what people might think. When I was in school I feared being undressed in front of the classroom, or even taking a shower in the change room after gym class. I feared the judgement from my classmates. I feared that they would see my private parts. Now-a-days though I have no such fear. If I could go back in time I would probably fight to be able to go to school naked. I simply wouldn’t care if people judge me or see my junk.

    I was taught somehow to be afraid of spiders. I simply confronted my fear one day and let a spider crawl on my hand. I ended up learning that they are our friends and are probably more afraid of us then we should be of them. Now when I see a spider in my house I let it live. I’m not saying I would accept a tarantula in my house, but I’m able to live with small spiders when before I would be inclined to go running and screaming.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that the more you confront your fears, the more fearless you become. I kind of tell myself that since I am able to wear a kilt, or get naked in public, that I could surely now try parachuting from a plane, or bungee jumping from a bridge. I just haven’t confronted that fear of heights yet, but I am sure that if I ever do I will find it more than amusing and will probably return afterwards for many more jumps into free space…

    Again, the more that life moves forward, the less fears you will have. You will adapt and survive and realize that most of your fears have disappeared. Your skin will harden and you will simply take things as they come, whatever it may be, one day at a time, with the knowledge that you can make it through whatever the future may hold.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. right now: my 30th bday (in 2 years, me = strange?) and not being able to find ‘my’ partner before i reach the ‘too old to have kids’-age (means like… 40?) so… yeah, biggest fear, everything else is ‘ok-ish’ for me i guess… ok, maybe not a fear but after a while in one town i feel the need to escape to another city o_O or is that a fear? fear of nothing new to see in your used-to surrounding?

    oh and for the companion thing, hey, here’s blogging! maybe blog-friends are not the same as real-life-friends but over the past few years i got to know so many awesome people through blogging that share interests that none of my real-life-friends share with me πŸ™‚

    thanks for letting us into your world and for letting us think about our own monsters a bit here, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow ! Each fear is written and explained so beautifully that after giving a thought to each of them, they all scared the hell out of me ! You are not only an incredible writer but a magnificent observer as well ! We often tend to ignore our fears until they become a reality. But now I have been left with no choice but to go into a mode of introspection ! There are just too many wonderful lines here that picking ine or two is impossible for me. Would just be able to say, thank you so much for sharing this. This was indeed the best blog post I have read πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Jamila!!
    Another incredible post!! πŸ™‚ 5 stars!
    As I told you once, I’m terrified of death. And also aging alone kind of creeps me out… And milk (but I can’t tell if I’m scared or just grossed out about it, anyway, I don’t like it).
    About understanding politics… Do you really need to? πŸ™‚ All the rest, I think you’ll learn when the time comes and if not, you can always ask or search online… πŸ™‚
    And I’m sure you’ll never be alone. You are amazing and you’ll find a lot of people who get YOU. πŸ™‚
    Big hug
    Paola

    Liked by 1 person

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