Someone recently walked out of my life, giving fear as the reason. Fear that the only possible outcome was an end, and therefore a beginning and a middle weren’t worth it. Standing by what they are comfortable with was the supposedly easy option: an option posing very little risk. It was apparently ‘not even an option’, as the fear of taking a risk without it working out paralysed the situation. Back in my letter to my 80 year old self I wrote that I hope to ‘keep taking chances on people to make the memories whilst it lasts’, but you know what? It hurts when it doesn’t last very long. It hurts when the ‘making memories’ stage seems perfect, but the fear of making bad memories stops someone from making more good ones. And the good ones can’t be forgotten. Yep, I’ve had a difficult year with relationships.
I’m not trying to put across a sob story here – I know everyone wants to tell us teenagers ‘oh you’re only young’, but to be honest, it really doesn’t help. I’m not daft and I know that relationships are not the only important thing in a teenage life, and I know I’m not exactly failing at life in general. No reality check needed here. Besides, since when does age make any difference? Teenagers being treated as if their feelings are any different to those of a twenty, thirty, or even eighty year old can be slightly annoying actually.
On the topic of fear in general, I’d say this is the first year that past experiences have made me think twice about doing things in the future. Making the same mistakes, specifically. I’ve always been pretty happy to push myself beyond my comfort zone – physically, socially, in most ways really. To be honest I’d say my ‘comfort zone’ is pretty sizeable anyway. In a way it reminds me of the time that I had a pony: I’d never been a particularly nervous rider but after a few nasty experiences, I felt quite vulnerable for a short time. 11-year-old me just couldn’t give it the same gusto for a few months. I suppose it’s subconsciously learned behaviour though: something happens more than once and you can’t help but expect and be fearful of it happening again.
One area of your life can be affected and suddenly you feel less confident as a person, or your trust in other people can plummet. I’ve never had a reason not to trust others before, but now it kinda feels like everyone just leaves. Obviously I’ve kept most of the negative stuff off the blog but I’ve had my fair share of stuff to deal with over summer, none of which has left me feeling exactly inclined to keep taking those chances on people. I still feel like I want to make the absolute most of any opportunity that comes my way, and luckily for me, there’s something in my psychology that means I can generally compartmentalise (to an extent) and remain my upbeat self in most areas whilst having the crappiest of times in others! I’m saying all this about being fearful of trusting people now, but knowing me it won’t make any difference a few months down the line and there’ll be a repeat performance no doubt. After all, I did start this post saying that someone used fear as the reason to walk out of my life (fear caused by past experiences, apparently), so I guess I’d be hypocritical to allow myself to let my diminishing trust hurt someone else in future.
I can’t help feeling that no matter how scared someone is, other feelings could override this fear if they cared enough. Maybe that’s just me though. I know – well I hope – that my fears will fade into slight wariness and caution sometime soon. I guess if I’m honest, my real fear is that his ‘fears’ were a fictional cover for general lack of interest. Can’t say that thought does wonders for my confidence.
Being just sixteen, my life experiences are a little limited of course, but obviously I know that fear is most definitely not a feeling that only teenagers experience. I really don’t want people to get the wrong idea here. I’m not talking about anxiety. I’d just really like to know how other people deal with life’s disappointments and heartaches without long-term impact. Many a long chat with my mum about it has told me that monumentally scary experiences can happen that ignite fear of doing almost anything, and that these fears can exist internally without those around you even realising. In her self-help guide ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’, Susan Jeffers says that the route of all our fears is basic: we fear we won’t be able to handle the situation if the worst happens. To this she replies, ‘you’ll handle it’. Sound advice I’m sure, but difficult to believe sometimes I guess.
How many people have felt fear holding them back when life experiences spiral beyond their control? Do you genuinely feel that everything happens to teach you something, or is it a knock you just have take, move on, and forget? If so, how do you do this?