Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fear

*Hi there, this is just a piece of writing about how I've been feeling lately. I do not expect everyone to read it, certainly not those who've come here primarily for vintage fashion, but it felt cathartic to write and share (regardless of whether it's read or not). To those who are knew to my blog, thank you so much for stopping by and I assure you I'll return to vintage in my next few posts. Thank you*

Aside from holidaying and general busyness, the reason I have been away from blogging has been fear.

Fear that I will not complete what I want, will not achieve the goals I have set, will not have lived the way I want to live.

It is not a fear specific to blogging, nor even writing in particular, though I guess that’s what has brought it on.

This year marks my fourth year at uni and as it is, my honours year. I’m expected to create a thesis, 15 thousand words of something meaningful and impressive. Something that I can study for a year and something I, alone, can create.

But I can’t. I am paralysed with indecision and emptiness; and with that I am full of fear.

I work at a retirement village, it is my first and only job, one that I have keep for over six years and I like it, I really do.  Sure, the primary reason I have it is to pay the rent so to speak, but I do find joy in it besides the money. I really like talking to the residents about their lives. I like learning their names, their perks and quirks and I like hearing about their day. I like thinking I make a difference (even if it’s a small one) by smiling and laughing with them each week. I like learning from them.

But, as to be expected, there are quite a few sad and unavoidable things that come with working at an aged care facility.

Though I do not work in high-care (like a nursing home, yes there is a difference) some people who live here do suffer dementia, some Alzheimer’s, some Parkinson’s, some suffer from different types of depression, anxiety or disorders. Quite a few have physical disabilities.

But, I want to be clear. Despite all of this, the village is a mostly a happy place. It is not a cage where the elderly are hidden away. It is not a prison or a cuckoo’s nest. It is their home, just like yours. What makes these people incredible is that they don’t focus on what they lack or the problems they have. They do not focus on the years they have lost. They do not dwell on what makes them unhappy. They just live like the rest of us; better than most of us really!

But yes, there are some sad things.

And yes, some people die here.

But this is not what I fear, really.

I mean yes, it does terrify me. Death, dying is terrifying, but I think the reason I’m so petrified is that I will die having completed nothing.

I avoid thinking about it. I concentrate on frivolities, like fashion and current trashy television. I rigorously follow the plots of several dramas, comedies and crime shows. I fill my day with chores, errands, meaningless nothings, but nothings which feel important enough at the time. And when the fear nibbles my toes, I pull them tight up into my bed and hug the sheets till my fear melts into the shadows unable to reach me.

But my fear is there, and it is furiously strong. Strong enough to wake me up in a sweat, so that my panting wakes my partner in worry. Strong enough to chill me while I wait for a coffee and overhear another person’s ambitious plans. Strong enough to make me write about it, again and again. Editing. Always editing, hopelessly wishing I could edit my life too.

And it reaches me at the most unexpected times. On the train, in public; I strangle my tongue so my tears aren’t noticed by the stranger’s backs across from me.
 

I ask, what to do?

I ask it again and again and again. As a question, as a plea, as a silent prayer and as a resignation.


What can I do?

What do I do?

Help.

I do not want to finish incomplete.

And as my deadline for a thesis steadily draws nearer, the only thing that is clear is that I cannot do nothing.

7 comments:

Maja said...

I know the feeling. Sometimes the only thing to do - when it comes to exams and life - is to take a deep breath and jump. Make a list of all the things that makes you nerveous and look at it. When it comes down to it the list aren't that long. The same comes to making list when you are writing a report - if you can't decide on the right angle on your subject make a list and more often than not you can find a red thread through all your questions and idears.
That's what I do when I feel like you do and it often helps me (a little anyway)

Anonymous said...

Committing to something can be a difficult task, especially if you dont know if its the right one or if its the right path to take.

I agree with Maja, make a list of possible subjects, what do you feel like pursuing? what grips you?

You are not alone in feeling incomplete, useless, second best. Fear grips like a finger and strangles productivity (i think i cant) and happiness (i know i cant). It always hits at inappropriate times too.

I try to block it out, but otherwise i deal with it in a somewhat logical sense with thought replacement, multiple lines of evidence (where i have achieved something that someone has said was great), the people who love me, the friends that ARE there when the day closes in, my cat (or your dog) for someone i can talk all my ideas, worries, thoughts and decisions to.

If i cant change anything (if im at work and stressed about an assignment), i stop worrying about it because i cant do it now, instead i give my mind a break.

For me, eating well has a BIG effect. fruits and vegetable help, but i find sitting in the sun probably the best cure. The icy finger of fear is no match for the warm rays of sun, you can sit there, idly think about what you have to do. Also the vitamin D is a big one. If i havent been out in the sun in a few days i can see my mood drop.

Maybe try to write your list outside, sometimes ideas can hit you when you least expect them.

Above all, believe in yourself, you and i know you are smart, who cares if someone else is better, they arent you, they dont have what you have.

Chris :)

Johnny and June said...

Don't worry hun, you are not alone in this. So often I can't fall asleep for hours because these similar fears and thoughts just roll around endlessly in my head. The only way I get through it, is to have fun and enjoy my life. Because I know that if I do get to the end and I haven't achieved much, to be able to say that I had fun and loved life, then I'll be fine. But I'm still not at that stable point yet. And I don't think we're meant to be. We're young, we're supposed to mess it all up and start again. Many times :)

Anonymous said...

:(

Betty2Tone (Laura) said...

I feel the same way about school stuff, and I'm not even a senior yet. Have you tried talking to an adviser or a professor you like? They can often help you get started and guide you through problems like that. Just start on it a little at a time. A lot of people feel the same way, even though they might look like they have their stuff together on the outside. Sometimes it helps knowing that you're not the only one who feels a certain way. Good luck!

Shelly said...

:( X

Hope you are feeling better X

Rebeccak said...

Sarah, I know you posted this ages and ages ago now (this is how out-of-date I am with blog reading!), and hopefully by now things have taken a turn and are looking shinier.

But I just wanted wish you all the best for honours. It is a trying year. I feel like any big research project is a soul-searching experience - you are absolutely not alone in having these sorts of fears and uncertainties. If you ever wanted to talk about it - I am more than happy to lend an ear!

Also - more pragmatically - you might find sharing these sorts of things with your supervisor might be useful. My supervisor has offered some very sound advice in my times of woe! It also helps to have her up-to-speed on where I am emotionally in regards to my research!