Like perhaps all of humanity, I have experienced many things in life. Some of which is wonderful and exciting, and good. But if I had to name the emotion that most influenced me as a child, it would be FEAR.
Fearing all the challenges faced by adults, as well as the ridicule and bullying of others, I used to wish to be held back in school so that I would not have to deal with growing up. How could everyone else be so confident? When I was young and afraid I would never succeed at life, a part of me wished I was physically handicapped so that I would have an excuse not to try.
I had crushes on pretty girls, one even kissed me several times when I was five, but none had wanted to be my girlfriend. When I thought nobody would ever want to marry me, or even be with me physically, I wanted to become fat and unattractive so that nobody would be surprised that I was alone. I told myself that I wanted to be alone anyway. Who needs other people? They usually just hurt you and make you feel stupid, incompetent and unwanted anyway.
I'd like to say that I totally grew out of this, and my life is now perfect. I am rich and successful. I have unlimited confidence, and always know that, as an old Saturday Night Live character used to proclaim, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough and, gosh darn it, people like me!" I'd like to, but it would be a lie. The truth is, life still has many ups and downs. I am now 49 years old, married for more than twenty-seven years, with two kids. Sometimes my wife and kids bring me great joy. Sometimes they think I'm stupid and embarrassing, and make me feel like I don't matter at all. As I look toward the future, I don't know where I will be or what I will do, or even if I will succeed. But it's okay. There is ugliness and pain, but also beauty and joy all around me. I love living this crazy, incredible life.
What are some things that make you afraid?