I’m not afraid of being alone.
Because loneliness only feels lonely when you give it your power. And though a city can make you have solitary thoughts in the solitary confinement of your tiny hole of the concrete landscape, you’re constantly surrounded by energy. It consumes you while it confuses you, and though you’d rather not break a smile or a sweat, if you walk the streets or catch a train, you’ll find yourself doing both. The city keeps you company, like it or leave it. And being alone isn’t better than surrendering to something you don’t want or becoming someone you’re not because you ache for love. Or maybe it’s just touch that makes you desperate. Learning to stand up single and stand up tall may not be the greatest lesson of all, but it’s one that’ll sustain you. Walking to the beat of the route you decided to take and being proud of who you are — with or without someone — is happier than sitting in the back seat when you should be driving full speed, windows down, ahead.
I’m not afraid of being wrong.
In fact, I’d rather make mistakes if it means that I will ultimately become a stronger, smarter version of myself. Falling down isn’t the same as giving in — but they are equally important. Before you can fly, you have to be able to land and yes, even crash. It’s only in the aftermath that you can put the puzzle of yourself back together. And sometimes, to recreate the parts and mold them into something that fits again, you have to hang on before you can let go. Sometimes you walk down the path or into the bedroom of something so wrong that it tastes eerily right. And it’s only when it all turns from sweet to bitter that you can feel yourself release it. Before you can figure out what it feels like to be right – to be so right, you can’t believe it – you have to be able to detect when it’s painstakingly, not. You have to admit that you put yourself there, that you’re to blame and it’s you that’ll have to change.
I’m not afraid of having hope.
Sure, seeing things as peachy-keen when life has a knack for serving you lemons may seem irrational and naive. I may be a Pollyanna with a bit of a kinky side who sees the light in all of the emptiness, the good in every bit of sorrow — but I wouldn’t trade that blind optimism for anything. Because you have to believe in something or someone or some entity that you can’t describe and you’ll never be able to define, to get yourself through the muck. There are no amounts of charming tall men in suits, yellow chariots, magical cocktails or hideaways that can disguise the unfortunate things that will happen to us all — but if you keep faith somewhere buried inside of you, you’ll never really care. Because even if everything else fades away or disappears, if everyone you know becomes people you used to know — at the very least, you’ll still see that glimmer that you tucked away for days just like this one.
I’m not afraid of imperfection.
Aren’t flaws rather stunning if you think about it? The most gregarious and gorgeous of individuals aren’t cookie-cutter or Hollywood print-outs. Instead, they’re like you. They’re like me. They’re people who have courage and wear t-shirts that show a little too much skin. They rock teeth with gaps but they do the most with what they have, where they are and however they can. The beauty I see in those around me has almost nothing to do with their style and everything to do with their souls. You can’t see what’s really inside of a person or really know how they’re light was lit until you’ve witnessed what made it flicker in the storm. You can’t look past your own silly shortcomings until you’ve been able to look past someone else’s. And not just see through them, but love those wrinkles, those crooked smiles, that freckled face. That madly beautiful, imperfect face.
I’m not afraid of being last.
Because honestly, I forgot I was racing. To the big, high-powered, executive suite job with the burgeoning paycheck. To the altar where I’d convince myself that this man grants my every wish and will lead my every dying decision. To the mortgage and the 401K, the bonds and the stock markets I’m just now starting to teach myself. To the sweet nursery with the sweet baby that’ll depend on me for everything and I’ll find myself consumed with a love I never knew possible. You can’t rush such luck or such joy — and I wouldn’t want to, even if I could. Maybe there’s an ideal time for all of those milestones and maybe it just works itself out. Maybe it doesn’t. But I’d rather be last than to be first and find myself wondering why I moved so quickly when I could have just treasured all the moments before all of my little ducks lined up in their little row.
No, these things, I’m not afraid of. But I used to be.
I needed to be the star — to be the girl who did everything so fast you would miss her if you hesitated for even a second. I wanted to fall in love as soon as I could and marry sooner rather than later. And the thought of being alone was enough to knock me off of my up-on-her-high-horse feet. I gave myself a hard time for having a heart full of hope because surely, if I was too positive, something was damned to go terribly wrong. And if I was wrong, how could I ever find all that I wanted to be right?
I was so fearful of not being the person I had set myself up to be. And if any sign of trouble crept into my picturesque view of how life should be, I would royally freak out. I had a two-year, a five-year, a ten-year plan for everything: this would happen then, that would happen after and all would be well.
But living that way — full of fear that nothing would happen just as I laid it out — was more painful than pleasurable. How can you live in the now if your now is surrounded with anxiety? And so, I decided to stop being pensive. I stopped doubting. I started just savoring. And enjoying.
Because when you stop being afraid of these things… better, not-so-scary, not-so-planned things start to happen instead. And those worries you held onto for so long, they all become things you’re not afraid of anymore. They suddenly just become… things.