Trigger Warning: The following post contains references to sexual abuse and rape. If you feel the need to avoid discussion of such topics it is advised that you don’t read this pose. There’s no shame in protecting yourself, either from the outside world, or your own mind. Both can be equally vicious and harmful. Do whatever you need to do for you.
Well… This is a bleak little blog, isn’t it? So far we’ve had a child eaten by wolves, mysterious anomalies in the night, drunk Shakespeare and an anthropomorphic genetic experiment, who also happens to be a genius and a murderer as well as dabbling in divination to pay the bills. Yup, still proud of that one. Anyway, the point is, we’re dark here. And by we I mean me, but I also mean you as well, after all, you’re reading it. So in order to embrace the darkness within today I thought I’d let you get to know me a bit as well as indulging that deep urge within us to look where we are scared to look, the same urge that makes us poke it with a stick, that makes us look behind us even though we know there’s nothing there, that makes us pick at scabs even though we know it’s super unhealthy and gross. Pick them until they bleed. Ladies and gentlemen, today, I’m going to tell you my fears. You already knew that because of the title, but whatever, I’m having fun. So follow me, let’s go pick at some scabs.
Without further ado, here are the three things I fear most in the world.
Number 3: Rape or Sexual abuse
Talk about starting on a touchy issue. Perhaps the least powerful of the three (or so I tell myself when walking alone at night. I’m not scared. I’m not scared. I’m not scared) it is the nastiest. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I got my first piece of advice on how to avoid rape at the age of twelve (“Don’t leave drinks unattended when you go out” Was prompted by my childish imaginings of going out to clubs and stuff when I was older), or perhaps because of all the victim-blaming that happens (don’t say it doesn’t. There’s more I could say on this, but it will have to be the subject of a future post and be more akin to a rage-frothing rant than the reasonable writings I’ve produced so far). Whatever the reason I am terrified of rape. Of getting raped. It isn’t on my mind constantly, but it will pop up every now and then, particularly when talking to strangers or people online (cyber-safety born of fear still gets the job done). I think it’s mostly because of the lack of control I have over the situation. Any interaction with other people is only half in my control and while that doesn’t scare me, it is kind of unnerving (yeah, I am a major control freak. But I’m working on it), add to that someone who doesn’t care about my feelings or thoughts, who doesn’t even see me as a person because of what’s in between my legs. Now make that person, bigger than me, stronger than me, and faster than me, and make it so that the same thing that makes me less than human in his eyes is the same thing that person wants desperately and thinks is his right (side note: female rapists do exist, but I have more of a chance of fighting off a girl and so it’s not as scary). Yeah, that right there is the embodiment of this fear. Even if I fight he could easily pin me down, even if I run he could catch me, even if I scream there’s no guarantee anyone will hear me, or come to my aid if they do. Of course, if this ever does happen to me, I will do all of those things. I will run and fight and scream as though my life depends on it, because it very well could. On that somber note, I ask the people out there a question; ladies, are you in the same boat or are you sensible and look out for your safety without worrying too much what the consequences will be if you slip up? Gentlemen, what’s your take on the matter? I’ve never heard it from the other side before, I’m genuinely curious as to what guys think of the whole thing.
Number 2: Brain Parasites
They exist. I know they exist because that’s how I developed this fear. If you don’t believe me then Google ‘human bot fly’ and be prepared for nightmares. Not much needs to be said for this one, as the thought of insects crawling around your skull slowly devouring your sweet sweet brain tissues as you wander around oblivious ought to be universally terrifying. If it isn’t then it should be. I think about this pretty much every time I have a severe or lasting headache. The thought process generally goes, either I’m not drinking enough water, or I’m not getting enough sleep OR the parasites have finally invaded my cranium and are right now chowing down on my grey-matter and laying their evil demon-spawn eggs in the hollow spaces left behind. The situation is not helped by the fact that I’ve been too scared to do any actual research on these things and so not only do I have no idea what the symptoms are, but it has allowed my mind to blow them up into epic super bugs that can occur inside my head with no warning and no known way to treat them. So yeah, if you aren’t scared by this notion then perhaps you should get the doctor to check your head. Never know what could be buzzing around up there. Sleep tight.
Number 1: Failure.
It took me a few tries to word this one correctly. I want to say ‘never achieving my dreams’, but that sounds kind of wishy-washy and no where near powerful enough. I understand that everyone feels this (or so I’ve been told), but holy shit, it’s just so huge, and cold and it sits in the dead center of my chest, crouched and sullen reminding me that of all the things I fear it is without a doubt the most likely. This one has driven me to tears on long dark nights, when there’s no-one looking and all my mind can do is churn and churn and imagine all the possible ways my great plan for my life could go wrong, all the many, many ways to fail at what essentially amounts to my biggest and most important dream. This one, obviously, is so powerful because my desire is so powerful, if I didn’t care then there’d be nothing to worry about, but the thing is, I only have one dream. I only have one true ambition in life that I feel compelled to work for. Writing. Specifically, to make a living out of writing. Sure I have other things that I want, to finish uni, to buy my own place, to find someone who shares my weird, nerdy, dark tenancies that I cans stand to spend most of my time with and sometimes we kiss and rub our genitals together (well, how do YOU show affection?). All those things are great, and I definitely want them, but they aren’t half as precious to me as my ultimate dream of finally being able to live off my writing. Well, more than that, because dreams are never that modest. No, what I ultimately want is to make a very, very decent living (enough to live in a house I want and to take a holiday every now and then) and be moderately famous (as in, famous enough to be invited to cons and do signings but not famous enough to have some stranger send me a lock of their hair. There’s a fine line there, and I wanna walk it). That’s it. But if I don’t get there, I have no fucking clue. I have no back up plan beyond misery. Even just thinking about it makes me sweat cold and want to curl up in a tiny ball. But it’s because this is such an intense and compelling fear, that I think this is the most useful of the three. Useful in that it is borne from being afraid that something won’t happen, as opposed to being afraid that something will happen. I can’t control everything that comes into my life, but I sure as hell can try and bring the stuff I want down on myself instead of stressing over the bullshit that I don’t want. In fearing the absence of an event, I can work towards making that event happen. I have control, because the job I take is a life choice and if I choose to write no matter what then it will happen. But that fear will still be there, gnawing at me, wrapping itself around my chest so I can’t breathe, whispering what if in my ear. I will never shake this fear. Even when I achieve this goal and set my sights on a new one, the fear will still be there, ensuring I never forget that failure is real, and very, very possible because of a million and one different reasons that it is more than willing to recite to me during the small hours. I hate this fear, but if forces me to keep moving better than any other motivation I’ve found.
For all that, please tell me I’m not alone in this. I ask you, the few who actually read my blog, do you feel this too?