Monday, 3 December 2012


If I could search my mind for 'most common thoughts', I think I know one that would rank pretty high:

I'm scared.

It's an odd thing, fear. I don't actually have any of the 'normal' phobias. I'm not scared of spiders or heights or enclosed spaces, insects or blood or clowns, the dark or aeroplanes or snakes.

The thing I'm probably most scared of is hurting people.

I practically have a professional qualification in guilt, and whilst I have enough self-awareness to know that I blame myself for lots of things that probably aren't my fault, I also know well enough that some things are. That there are many, many things I could have done, or not have done, in my life that would have made the people I love happier, or less sad. I can name people who would undoubtedly have had a much less screwy time of it if we'd never met. I am scared that in the end I just end up hurting everyone I touch.

It's probably part of why I find it so hard to get close to people. It's not that I'm not friendly, or that I don't want to spend time with people. I do. Christ, I am desperate for friends, and there are so many people I would dearly love to be with. The problem is that: a) I genuinely believe at a very deep and psychologically stubborn level that people do not want to spend time with me, they do not want to talk to me, or know me, or have to waste their time on me, and why the fuck would they because I'm pathetic and cowardly and needy and insane and blah blah blah etc. etc. b) I will only end up making them awkward or offending them or hurting them or telling too much truth or confiding too little or coming across as fake. c) I have zero social skills and no idea how to communicate 'I think you're awesome and want to know everything about you can we stay up all night being ridiculous please?' without being creepy (see b), or flat out rejected (see a).

And I'm scared that I'm right about this. I'm scared that if I do put myself out there and try to get close to people, they'll not be interested, thereby confirming my fears and sparking that well-travelled downward spiral of no-one-is-ever-going-to-want-me-I'm-a-worthless-human-being-and-I'm-going-to-be-alone-forever etc. etc.

I'm scared that I'm just an inconvenience, and that if I try to push myself further into other people's lives, they'll just push me right back out. Or, perhaps worse, that they'll suffer the intrusion politely, but secretly hate it and resent me for it. And I'll sense (or imagine that I sense) they feel this and oh hey let's take another guilt trip.

The most ridiculous thing about all of this is that I KNOW how ridiculous it all sounds, and how pathetically insecure I seem, and how obvious it is that I should just get a grip and trust people to be nice and take a leap of faith.

But that's the thing about fear, isn't it? It's irrational. And knowing that it's irrational doesn't make you any less terrified.

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