July 24, 2011
My greatest fear
I read A Place of Yes over the weekend and it changed me. I really try not to throw grandiose statements around lightly, so believe me when I say this book was monumentally therapeutic for me.
By sharing her stories, Bethenny made me realize things about myself -- noise (fear) that I wasn't aware I had necessarily, and how those fears were holding me back.
So what's my greatest fear?
That I won't be accepted. That no one will like me.
This, like a lot of our fears, stems from my childhood.
Growing up I didn't have many friends. I wasn't an outcast or bullied, I just never seemed to find my way into the crowd of acceptance. I was the last person picked at kickball and I wanted to die anytime you needed to find a partner because I never had one.
When I did have friends, they circled in just as fast as the circled back out. I would have a glued-to-the-hip inseparable friendship with someone for a period, until it abruptly ended. Sometimes that person turned on me and got my peers to turn on me too. It was lonely. These intense--Tasmanian relationships have continued on throughout my life and have happened as recently as this past year.
In high school, however, my outsiderness wasn't so bad. It allowed me to be acquainted with everyone (true, my senior year book is signed lovingly by the prom queen, quarterback, math team captain, class misfit and the valedictorian) but I never fit into any one social circle or wolf pack. I could stop by and say hi, sure, but I didn't run with them. I was transparent. I was lonely. and I felt left out.
Even now in the vegan world I feel like an outcast sometimes... I just never seem to fall into the in crowd, and perhaps that is why my fear is my fear. Ever since I was little I wanted to be liked and accepted and be part of a group. I see now how that has held me back. But it doesn't have to anymore.
Those who don't follow have to lead, right?
As part of my realization, I saw how irrational my fear was because I have been liked and accepted for a really long time.
Her name is Courtney and she is my sister. Courtney came into my life when I was 12 years old and our relationship reaches to every part of my being. For whatever reason, Courtney likes me and accepts me. I will never be alone in this world because I have her. I've showed her the ugliest and worst parts of myself and she still loves me anyway and without judgment. Her love is unconditional and eternal. I don't have to be afraid because I have what it was I always wanted, it just took me until now to see it.
I may not win over the masses, I may never fall into a circle of peers, I might always be a weirdo, but I am not alone. As Courtney said in the 8th grade "What is normal? There is no such thing as normal because you have to get an average of multiple things to create a single normal. "
There is Jim, too. My best friend. Next month we will be celebrating 15 years of friendship. Tasmania be damned. Plenty of others have circled in and circled out, but Jim stays put, hurricane winds and all.
I've never felt so loved in my whole life as I do now. I've never felt so wanted or accepted as I do now. Jim and Courtney love me for me. Imperfections and all. I'm totally--completely-- accepted. I don't have to win them over, or impress them, or get them to like me. I have what I always wanted.
Of course Scott deserves a nod too. I don't always make it easy for Scott to love me. My fear of not being liked or accepted also creates a fear of rejection and failure and the way I sometimes I address that fear is to hurt others before they can hurt me. My hope is by admitting this I can quiet that noise (fear) too.
Publishing a book was the most terrifying thing I've ever done -- it played right into my deepest, darkest fears, but I did it. and I survived the rejection. I survived the mean words. I survived the crushing feelings of fear... But I also embraced all of the overwhelming positives -- like being accepted. and being liked. I took it all in and I'm better for it. Stronger...and less scared. Love me or leave me, all I can be is me.
I still have a long road to travel in fighting these fears, quieting this noise, but today's post is a step. Thank you for listening.