When "nothing to fear but fear itself" creates more fear
I have moved, once again, across the country. But this time I moved to back to my home state of Texas.
Trust me when I tell you I am really happy to be in Texas and relishing in the summer heat and the amazing drinks and food; however, even though this place is familiar I still unsettled and scared.
No one talks about the emotional toll of moving. No one tells you the money that is going to cost to pick up your life and relatively start over, even for a better opportunity. It is funny, in order start a better thing you gotta pay a hefty price—emotionally and financially.
So, here I am in Austin, TX. The place I have been to countless times when I was a child and even when I was an adult. The place that is supposed to be fun and full of life and growing in population daily, yet I feel alone. And maybe it is because my husband has been out of town for what seems like 3,000 years but the feeling is the same.
I am three hours from my hometown and I could easily hop in the car and walk around the streets singing Hometown Glory like I am Adele; however, I know that I have to sit in this change in order to full overcome the fear of it. And that in itself is mind boggling and scary. You always hear people say there is nothing to fear but fear itself but the more I think about that phrase I don’t even know what that means.
I am supposed to be afraid of the fear that I have because fear is bad but now I am scared because I have fear that I am supposed to be afraid of. So here I am writing this blog post about how I am struggling with the fear of change that no one told me would come.
There is something to be said about the strength that it takes to move over and over again. I have watched my oldest sister do it a few times and I have idolized how easy she makes it look but I know it isn’t easy on her ata all. I often ask myself is this the life I have chosen of being an academic? To move from place to place and re-establish my friends over and over again.
I do not want you to think that I haven’t made connections here in Austin because I have. I have met some amazing people and gotten plugged into a church and a connect group; however, nothing feels as comforting as the walls of apartment. I willingly stay inside and then feel lonely for staying inside and not socializing. But I don’t have the energy to socialize all the time.
I often look in the mirror and see a face staring back at me that is hollow with eyes always on the verge of crying. I often find myself thinking do I deserve to be in Austin? Do I deserve to be in a top doctoral program? Will I fail? And I know that mentality just sets me up to fail and struggle in the future and thus I am really trying to work on it.
I am afraid and that fear makes me afraid because I know I shouldn’t fear anything but fear. It is like this never ending cycling of fear that my anxiety won’t let me escape from. That I will be on this merry-go-round of depression and angst.
So, I am writing this post to say I am struggling. I am not asking for pity. I am not asking for advice, although feel free to give some as long as it doesn’t involve me “praying about it”. I am just writing to get this off my chest and I know others are in stages of transition and there maybe other folks feeling this same and not know what to say or do. And maybe all I can do right now is write about these feelings in an open forum in hopes my brain is cleared just a little bit.
I really do not want to slip into constantly yearning to be somewhere else. I do not want to slip into the “if only” and “what ifs”. I am working hard to live in the present and again no one said how difficult that would be.
Somedays I feel as empty as the walls in my new place. But then I feel overflowing with emotion that I have nowhere to put. I have no one to describe it to. I don’t have the words to even try to explain it and that is why this post is all over the place.
I really am scared of failure but I am scared of success. I am scared to be hurt. I am scared to make connections and attempt to build friendships and they just end up letting me down. I am afraid to be one of the only Black people in a space. I am afraid my research ideas won’t matter or that they won’t make sense. I am afraid that I will never lose the weight. I am afraid my skin won’t ever clear up. I am afraid that I will never be stylish. I am afraid I won’t be successful. I am afraid my life won’t matter, because Black lives often don’t in this society.
I am afraid. So, I sit in my house with a book and my dog and a cup of tea. It’s not that I don’t like people but its that I don’t know if those people will like me. Will those people see the real me? Will they know that behind my snarky remarks there is just a vulnerable young woman who is trying to navigate marriage, school, and starting a business all while being in a new city that feels like home but feels foreign all at once.
I am not afraid to say I am afraid. That is a good thing I guess.