I worry a lot. Too much. I worry about the future. I worry about change, about failure, about rejection. I worry about failing past the point of no return. I worry that I will never achieve my goals. I worry that the two big life goals I have set for myself are impossible to achieve. I worry that I am wasting my time and my life on people and things that will never amount to anything.
More than all that, though, I worry too much about upsetting people. The most liberating thing anyone ever said to me was something along the lines of, “I’m not made of glass, I can handle it.” I spend so much of my life walking on eggshells, worried that the people I care about will turn their backs on me if I ever shared my opinion or knew “the real me.” I even get that way with people I don’t care about. Somehow, despite being proud of my weirdness, my refusal to fit in, I still don’t want to be excluded.
I don’t know why I care so much. I really don’t. Because for all that worry, I don’t care about many of the people who cause me such great concern. They are people of no consequence. Take my coworkers, for example. I don’t have anything against them (most of the time), but at the end of the day, they do not matter to me. I don’t like my job. I work because I have to. I am left with no choice but to force myself out of bed every morning and drive thirty-two miles in heavy traffic because I don’t want to be broke and homeless, and having to worry about finances is just one more burden I can’t take at the moment. My coworkers are not bad people. They just don’t mean anything to me in the grand scheme of things. If I actually achieved my two current life goals, they would no longer be in my life at all. And I’m perfectly okay with that. I imagine they all feel much the same about me.
Yet, I cannot bring myself to say things that might upset them. Some of that is pragmatic; spending a day arguing politics instead of working would be both emotionally draining and counter-productive. There are moments where that has come close to happening, and I tend to just clam up, let the other person ramble on for an extended period of time, and then life goes on. More frequently, however, it is a coworker complaining about their day or a frustrating situation at work. All that goes through my head is “Why do they not realize I don’t care? Why don’t they shut up and let me be?” I don’t say it, mostly because I want to maintain a pleasant work environment, but also because I don’t want to see a hurt look on their face when I interrupt them.
My concern for how other people feel may be the most crippling thing for me as a writer. It keeps me from going too deep, from revealing too much of myself or of my opinion. I was so worried as I typed Restless that I would never be able to share it, because it revealed a side of myself I hadn’t shared with anyone in a very long time. Revealing myself reveals flaws in my character, real or imagined. Revealing myself opens me up for true rejection.
There are only a handful people in my life I feel I can be honest with, and it has weighed me down for a very long time. I worry so much about other people that I have found myself in a rut where the things I want don’t matter at all. It’s an oppressive weight I need to shrug off. I am not a bridge burner by nature, and it has served me, to some degree. But at some point, if I want to be happy, I’m going to have to give other things up. I am willing to make sacrifices for the things I want. It’s just hard to cut the cord sometimes.
Sometimes I feel like I am responsible for the world. I know that is ridiculous and self-important, and not the least bit true. Still, there is a part of me that wants to change the world. To bring more meaning to it. I think that what I really want to do is change lives. To inspire people. I know that the only way I can do that is with words.
My life needs to change. I need to stop just wanting, and start more doing. I need to stop dreaming about what I want, and start thinking about how to really get it. I need to act upon my real wants, rather than drowning them out with distraction. I need to stop taking the path of least resistance and start cutting a path for myself. I hope some of you will join me on the journey. I could use the support. But if you stand in my way, even a little bit, I’m not going to hesitate. I’m going to keep cutting.