Monday, August 6, 2007

the things i fear

exactly one month after i got my driver's license, i got into my first car accident
a 15 minute trip to the grocery store suddenly become an ordeal involving the police, concerned parents, an old woman in a fur coat, and a dented gold mercedes (not mine, of course) and i was pretty shaken up
after everything was settled and i was back in the safe confines of my house, my mother asked me if i was ever going to fulfill my errands at the grocery store
i responded with wails of refusal, i never wanted to drive again, and unless she wanted me to walk down route 206, i was not going
she shoved the keys in my hands and forced me out of the house, telling me that if i lived my life in fear, i would never get anything done

this anecdote is not meant to be an attempt to reveal how ironclad my upbringing was, but rather that my parents raised my sister and i to be fearless girls, who did not feel bound by paranoia, timidity, or gender roles
we were expected to advance into life with no hesitations, no fears, no looking back, and no expectations that some prince charming would show up to do things for us

subsequently i do not suppose that i fear many things
sure, i used to race up the basement stairs refusing to see what was chasing behind me or have childlike paranoia about high winds (long story) but i was never truly fearful of anything
there are lots of things i don't necessarily like, but i have never felt the option of letting these things get in my way (i.e. flying in commercial airplanes, eating pork, killing millipedes, getting shots)

even these days, my mother constantly reminds me to fear nothing
that with god & j.c., i am invincible (in a spiritual sense, i suppose) and that regardless of what happens, where i go, or who(m) i lose, i have god and my family supporting me and subsequently, i will never have to truly fear anything

however, as i approach this new stage in my life there are moments of reflection and thinking and over-analyzing and one of the recent topics in my mind has been:
what do i fear?

i may be reluctant about peeing in a hole in the ground or wearing long pants and t-shirts in the dead heat or not speaking the language or being alone in dark creepy nights or being cut off from the modern world or not being able to bathe on a regular basis
but i don't think i necessarily fear these moments because i am confident that in the end, i can champ it out and deal with it (maybe with some bitching and moaning on the side...)

but what is it that i fear?
after all, we are all programmed to fear something
i have come to the realization that my biggest fear in life is LONELINESS
i don't like being alone with nobody but me and my thoughts to taunt me
loneliness is what drove me to a box of petit ecolier cookies (per day!) and endless hours of mtv europe (and subsequently an additional 30 pounds) when i lived in paris
loneliness is what drove me to the string of broken relationships that trail behind me like straggling shadows
loneliness is what drove me to the numerous mistakes and mishaps i made my earlier years of college
loneliness is what drove me to dangerous situations with strangers in e.s. that nearly destroyed my dignity
my fear of loneliness and what i do to appease it drive me to be a silly, (sometimes) insolent, hopeless person and this is what i fear in africa

i fear the nights in which i have no companionship, nobody to talk to, nothing to seek comfort in, and the heart wrenching ache of feeling like you are the only person in the whole wide world
i don't know which came first -- my fear of loneliness or my inabilities to have close, intimate relationships with people but sometimes i feel like i've lived much of my life in isolation
yes, i have some true genuine friends that i don't see myself being able to live without (and i love and appreciate them so dearly) but often times i feel like my existence is much like the moon
that there is a dark side of me that is unexposed and only satellite snapshots have been taken of it,
otherwise, it remains unexplored, mysterious, and perhaps somewhat ominous
maybe it is because i have moved so often or had a childhood shrouded in secrecy or grew up in a homogenous town or maybe it is just my character, but i struggle so much with loneliness, fragmented relationships, and the feeling of being isolated in a world so full of people, chatter, and companionship

i am afraid that in my times of utter loneliness and desperation in senegal, i will be driven to make stupid decisions or to have stupid thoughts and/or feelings or to simply give up
i struggle with communicating my feelings and emotions and subsequently bask in peoples' misconceptions about me which only furthers the loneliness in my life
i am uncomfortable with taking up people's time talking about my personal feelings and therefore, alienate myself from being honest and genuine with people who deserve more than just an idea of who i am

i am quite convinced that the biggest thing i have to fear (and battle) in senegal is my chronic loneliness
and since i have vowed to be completely honest on this blog,
i hope people will understand where i am coming from -- rather than feeling insulted or annoyed at my complaining or assuming that i am drowning myself in self-pity
this is truly my downfall and i am not (yet) entirely sure as to how to deal with it
i just hope the loneliness does not consume me and prevent me from doing what i have been destined to do
(which is -- as of now -- hugging trees and people)

on a lighter note, i went to the beach today and roasted myself in the sun in an attempt to get some color and when i came home my mom thought it wise to point out to me that i have the next two years to turn as dark as i want so why bother exposing myself intentionally to the poisonous sun
point taken
which leads me to wonder...
what am i going to do without my mom whispering wisdom into my ears for the next two years????

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