It’s been years. Eons. It feels that long since I've turned my insides out in words, but I feel somewhat that this is a safe space (ghost town that it is) to say that I’ve been in a bit of a melancholy lately. Maybe it's just the January blues, maybe an in between quarter & mid-life crisis as another birthday approaches, or a bit of a Sylvia Plath and the Fig Tree moment. The thing is, I've been feeling somewhat stagnant, and I find that stagnant waters breed regrets of the heart, and regrets breed fear*. I imagine them festering and growing like algae on a rock, slowing strangling my soul.
It’s not aging I fear, it’s the thought of dying having never really lived, or loved, or fulfilled whatever purpose there may be to find. The fear that with each less day I take a step forward, the more my limbs atrophy. A claustrophobic feeling of the years ahead and the world around slowly closing in on me like a goddamned trash compactor as I sit paralyzed in the middle. The debilitating, stifling fear that choosing risk over comfort will lead to ruin, and that choosing comfort over risk will kill slowly, and that by the time I decide it will be too late. Fear that the right time will never arrive, or doesn't exist. The fear that roads left untaken will end up crippling me with regret. Fear of getting hurt, fear of hurting others. Fear that no one will ever really (really) know me, not because they don't care to, but because I won't allow it--maybe because I'm not capable of it. Fear that I will be my own undoing out of fear of letting someone else be. Fear of settling. Fear of not settling. Fear that maybe optimism is just a quirk of youth, and self-growth a myth we tell ourselves to grasp at hope. I'm afraid that the older I get, the more fearful I'll become.
I know that I will probably never say these fears out loud, and that I'll keep going out into the world with a cheerful (if sometimes sardonic) face. And it won't be a lie. But I know that lurking in the back of my mind, and in solitary moments, the fears linger. And I imagine that algae covered rock slowly sinking to the ocean floor as the world swims past, into the sunlight without me.
*I'm talking internal fear, here, not scary external fears like the thought of Donald Trump somehow being elected president; that's one dystopian future I'm not ready to face the possibility of yet.