What Are You Scared of?
Sometimes I wonder if this feeling will go away.
The moments before stepping into the mall dressing room, the tugging of the jeans up my legs, the text message conversation between myself and my ex, the fights I have with my boyfriend, the stingingly cold step out of the shower and into the mirror, the revelation of myself in a tight shirt, the feeling of being alone in my bed when I am (and when I am not)…terrify me deeply.
I understand that my eating disorder will always be with me. And that the horrifying experiences I have had with men are locked away in a tiny drawer of my brain. My past will always follow me, despite its lack of ability to DEFINE me.
I wonder what fears other people have. An alcoholic at a Superbowl party, a closeted gay man on a public street, a man who lost his home in the recession only to rise back to success years later…everyone is scared of something. Aren’t we all scared all the time?
I don’t think we can avoid our fears, but learn to live with them.
As for me, I need to cut the bullshit. I need to stop LIVING in my mirror. I need to stop defining myself by what others think of me, especially others of the opposite sex.
My little anxious dog hates to be alone. When I am gone for a measly hour (and he’s already emptied his bladder twice outside), he will leave me a present when I get home. Sometimes he aims for the pee pad. Sometimes he misses. Sometimes he doesn’t even try.
I get so angry with him. I tell him to “Go away!” as I get on my hands and knees and scrub the floor. I curse under my breath. “What is his fucking problem?!”
But, as I sit here watching him sleep, I envy him. He is afraid only of me leaving. He gets nervous that I will not return and he will be abandoned. That is his biggest fear. When it takes control of him, he merely pees a little puddle and gives a couple barks.
And when I arrive back to the apartment, his life is wonderful again. He curls into a little 20 lb ball and puts his head on my lap or sprawls on the floor and stares at me. He is perfectly content again.
Truth be told, I could really learn something from him. Couldn’t we all?