Friday, January 29, 2010

Irrational fears you're not supposed to share with other people because it's sorta angsty and thus embarrassing

Sometimes I have really, really irrational fears that come out of nowhere, and they sort of take over my brain for a while. So today I decided that it might help if I write them down and share them with the entire Internet. You know, like it might just make me feel a little better to know that everyone who reads my blog knows how I really feel deep down inside, on my worst days. #human #dontjudgeme

So, firstly, sometimes I read blogs like this and worry that I will never ever have what they have. What if I never get married? What if I never have babies? What if I never have the home life I want to have?
Even worse: What if I've already had the great loves of my life, and I've like reached my quota, and I don't get to have any more?
Even even worse: What if I don't deserve any more love because I fucked up my past ones too much?
Even even even worse: What did I do wrong? What is so wrong with me that all my past relationships failed so miserably and I can't stay in touch with even a single one of my exes, even just as friends?
What if I'm just one of the unlucky ones?

Did you ever hurt so badly that you loved it?

What if I never write anything meaningful or far-reaching?
What if I never finish my book?
What if I lose my writing voice, or my drive to write, or people stop liking my writing?
What if I never achieve anything great in my life?
What if I just think I have something great to offer the world, but really I don't?
What if I spend my whole life doing a job I like, but don't love, just because I want the security of having a job, and then I never make enough art and I forget my passion and I wake up and I'm 30 and I've made nothing significant?
What if I just keep telling myself there's always tomorrow, and I put off all the things I want to do, just because it's easier that way?

It's just one day, one day, one day after another.

What if there's actually no order to the universe, and every action is ultimately devoid of meaning?
What if that lack of order means that it's possible to make just a few mistakes and totally fuck up the rest of your life?
What if I've already fucked up my life and I just don't know it yet?

Ugh. I hate when I get like this, and I hate even more when I sound whiny. I finally watched Conan's last episode the other night, and I teared up when he said the following, because I felt so inspired by his positivity. I have to hope that what he says is true, because otherwise I have no idea what to think.

All I ask of you, especially young people, is one thing. Please don't be cynical. I hate cynicism - it's my least favorite quality and it doesn't lead anywhere. Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you're kind, amazing things will happen. I'm telling you, amazing things will happen.

Sorry, Conan. I promise I'm not usually this cynical. I'm a really optimistic person, I swear! It's just that I'm human, and I'm honest, and as an honest human I have to say: the future is fucking scary sometimes, and your early-mid 20s especially suck because it feels like all the decisions you make carry the weight of the entire world. People keep telling me they don't; I can't help but suspect that, secretly, they do.

Perhaps our entire 20s can best be summed up with one singular, rather annoying symbol. Get ready. It's a classic. Here it is.



  1. I like your post a lot because of its honesty. I think all of us have worried about some of the things you've listed if not all. Some of us have reached our 40's and have had to rethink our direction in life. The good thing here is that not everything has to be decided at once and sometimes by the time you start thinking of them again, you decide that what was worrying you before is not so important anymore. Just take every day and be as creative and aware as you possibly can be for that one day and I guarantee you that you will achieve more than the average just-existing and not thinking person will in their entire life.

  2. You are not alone in all the things you question. I ask myself the same questions, only with different words. Life is hard, and I think it is harder given the age/time/culture we currently are living in. Not too long ago, you went in to the family trade, your parents had your mate selected not too long after your birth. I mean, society as a whole has made many progressions since this time and perhaps we face too many choices. We can have movies and music on demand, thousands of different coffee combination's, and one of everything in every different shape/size/color. Perhaps in creating a "better" life for us, our parents actually created one of more confusion. Maybe that whole "be anything you want" spill was the beginning of the end. Who knows?

  3. I asked those questions and yes, at one time, I loved to be in pain... anyway, you wont get answers if you never ask the questions. Never be satisfied knowing what you know now.


  4. This is THE most inspiring post I have ever read. The fear that there is no order to the universe and every action is totally devoid of meaning scares the shit out of me. I am so humbled by your honesty.

  5. One can be in their 30's or 40's or older and still have those questions.... I think what it comes down to is whether u are comfortable in your own skin and not to worry what others may think.... I am at that pt. in my life and I am in my 50's... I think it came w/age and experience or the lack of experience? (lol)... I am at that age where I feel comfortable enough to say what I feel w/out fear or cringing what others may think... I do my own thing as long as it does not hinder others... or my own 'safety'.....One can always find something to worry about but is it worth it? when u can be doing what pleases u? to me its wasted positive energy.....

  6. I'm 28, and my 20's seem to have gone from "?" to "?????????????????????????????????????". I'm going to be 30 in less than two years, and in a lot of ways things feel less certain than they did in my early-mid 20's.

    I'm married and have a job and an apartment and all that. I've reached all of these "benchmarks" for successful adulthood that are supposed to give you stability and answers. And you wanna know what? It doesn't mean shit. I don't think we'll ever know entirely what we want to be when we grow up. I don't think anything we do will ever be significant enough or awesome enough. All we can do is never, ever give up. Plenty of people do. As long as we don't, I think we're ahead of the game.

  7. Woah, woah, woah. I identify with many of these thoughts, but "What if...I wake up and I'm 30 and I've made nothing significant?" Sweetie, thirty is not the end! If you're an artist, you're an artist for life. Don't put time restrictions on yourself. The way I see it, you've already got 810 strangers following your thoughts, and that's pretty significant.

  8. You've already achieved great things. You've graduated from college, you've saved up your money, and you've gotten to the point where you are soundly stable in the city of your dreams. It's not whiny to feel this way – it's human. You've accomplished so much in the past two years; give yourself some credit.

    Love follows good people. You're a good person. It'll come.

  9. do you read all of these comments? i hope so. i hope you know that you are in no way alone in these thoughts; you are not isolated in your fears. a good friend of mine noted the other day, "we are all so alike, i desperately wish we knew it," and the more i think about it, the more that i observe and take in, i understand that this is the truth. enjoy the futility of your worries, the connection to those who have the same fears and goals and sadness and strife, the sleepless nights and writer's block. know this. not to ease your fears, but to grow from them.

  10. Ooh, self-doubt is such a time-suck. I always hate what I'm writing - be it an essay or a book - just before I finish it. I have to put it away for a while, and when I come back I'm either blown away by how good it is or I see just how to fix it. Life is kind of like that, too. We set high goals, we make good progress, we hit an obstacle, we wonder whether we can overcome it...or whether we want to. You're good at working your way through these things. Trust yourself. And remember that those powerful people who look like they really have their stuff together are usually feeling like imposters, too. Or they should be!

  11. My take, since I'm in the writing mood...
    Fuck your life up, then you'll have more things to write about, right? The twenties are messed up more than other stages of existence perhaps, because we've just entered the adult world with burgeoning adult minds, but it seems humans are capricious being, everchanging, forever fearful of the hereafter, and perpetually confronted with that question mark, which I like to call the allure of all the other options. I've reconciled with the fact that I'm going to feel lost most of the time, and I remember being young and looking at adults, unaware that their confident countenances were just a pose, that their doubts and insecurities were hidden, and that someone should have told me that it's okay to feel fucked up.
    You may not like to hear this, but you probably won't write that cherished and revered literature or whatever else you're interested in, and that's okay. Make art for yourself, for the downfall of many talented people is believing that they're doing something special, listening to the hype and thinking they're above others. I've seen it happen to people I know, casting off their old friends, every encounter with someone, a judgement about whether or not that someone can advance their prerogatives. I got more, but I got work on this book I'm pregnant with. Yeah, I just can't suppress this ego.

  12. My 20's were so bad that I couldn't wait to get to 30 and I have to say I love it. I got married and have a beautiful baby girl. Do I have the career that I love and look forward to going to work every day....NO. I would rather be a stay at home mom, a preschool teacher, baker or mostly a photographer. Hang in there and you will be fine.

  13. I found you because you linked to my blog today and well... now I am going to have to do some reading around here. Looks like you are being well taken care of in the comment section. Almost all of those questions you put forward are familiar, and I'm still asking some of them about career and losing my voice.

    Thanks for the link and am glad to have followed it back here.

  14. @Sincere Lee: Thank you so, so much. I can't believe anyone would ever say that about something I wrote, but you did. So I really appreciate it.

    @Kari: Great. Now I'm fucking scared. Even when you're married and have a good job and are a successful writer and shit you still don't feel like you have it figured out?? Noooooooo

    @The Panic Room: Hello! I'm so glad you made it to my blog, and I'm flattered that you want to read it. I didn't mean to come across like I am bitter or jealous about the happiness you have with your wife... I mean all the congratulations in the world! Just typical 20something bullshit angst. I would like to hear about your life story and how you felt in your 20s. Also, I love your photography. Beautiful.

  15. my friend cam would say: try jesus, not crack.

  16. wow. I absolutely can relate. and also, Love that quote. jus sayin.

  17. love your blog! i was born in NY and moved down to GA. i thought i had royally f ed up my life. sleeping around, lashing out, slacking off at school, and just being stupid. i felt like you SO many times. if it makes it better, i now have my B.S. in something i love, a husband who loves me despite all of the above, and a new baby who i assumed i wouldn't even be able to have because of karma being a bitch. life is a big ole ? and it took me until now to realize that is the fun of it. looking forward to following you!

  18. If your passionate in life, everything else will fall into place. You have talent. Love happens when you least expect it. One of my favorite quote by the most famous person of all time "If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you, if you do not bring forth what is within you, what you did not bring forth will destroy you"
    Oh and hey, thanks for stopping by my blog, I have you listed on my blog roll!

  19. You should probably wake up to the reality that life doesn't end at 30. It's only just begun. Oh, and the random font changes annoyed me.

  20. I am in my 30's and still worry and fear about these things and more...

    my first thought is...

    don't wonder if you will ever have what someone else has, because no one's life is ever perfect or without fears and worries, and accidents and trauma, etc...what you may think is perfect, really isn't sometimes. and I bet those people often wonder about what someone else has that they also want. did that make sense? ha!

    I think it is normal to ask these things.

    my current worry if, will I ever have children, will I ever have a career I can be proud of? before I am 40? forget 30, that is now gone.

    I often let my fears and self doubt hold me back and have lost out on things because of it. I lost years and opportunities because of it.

    I think we can question these things, but then we have to also let them go - face fears and take each day as it comes...

  21. Just tread lightly. At 39 I can say that I am spending time in therapy to repair the damage I did to myself in my 20s and 30s. Be honest with yourself. Don't invite people into your bed unless they are worthy! Take your makeup off at night. Moisturise. Look for God. Enjoy good food, friends, and the city. Mercifully, the universe gives you JUST TODAY. So just keep working in the now. It all adds up to a great life.Promise, girl!

  22. I'm not entirely sure why I'm posting this. I think just about everyone in the world knows this song but when I get the fear, It never fails in making me smile (maybe even cry a little too).

  23. Those are not irrational fears. An irrational fear would be the fear of chickens with lips or dildos. What you described is the fear of the unknown and many people have that. Some continue to have the fear of the unknown their whole lives. Basically it boils down to some pearls of wisdom from my dad. "Girl quit yo belly achin' ifs and butts were candy and nuts it would be Christmas everyday!"

  24. They don't call us Gen Y ? for nothing.

  25. omg when I watched that last episode I cried at the exact same spot. And wrote a post about it. Don't sweat it - good things will happen. Plus you've already created something that people read and enjoy every day!!!

  26. I actually take comfort in the thought that universe is all chaos with no meaning, perhaps then we are responsible for developing our own meaning and being in control of our own destinies. Also, I think our 20s can be summed up with this: