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Fear Factor

This week, Sally Sampson confronts her fears. After having a breakdown, of course.

It won’t be me! It won’t be me! It WON’T be me!

Four words that have been echoing and bouncing around in my head all day, like a spoilt, rich brat of a kid leaping around on a bouncy castle as his mother runs after him, trying to get him to come inside and take a nap so she can sneak into the den and have a few shots of vodka.

I’m obsessed with these four words. I’m frantically writing them down on my hand, in my diary and now in this article, because I fear if I don’t get this out, my parents may, in the near future, discover me muttering to myself and lying naked on the floor of my bedroom with a permanent marker in my hand, surrounded by four, formerly white walls, with the words ‘It won’t be me!’ scribbled everywhere.

I joke (sorta), but I think something is going on with me. I think I’m freaking out a little. Maybe a lot.

I usually share my philosophies or my passions, but very rarely do I speak of my fears because, in a way, I believe that actually speaking and putting them out into the world, empowers them and lends them the ability to wield a power over me. It’s like giving Kirstie Alley a spoon and a tub of ice cream and then asking her to watch her weight. The chances of the shit hitting the fan go up quite significantly.

Consequently, if I can avoid talking about my innermost demons, the images that haunt me, the shadows that creepily lurk in every compartment of my mind, I will! However, seeing as I’m one inch away from nose-diving into a shallow puddle of my own urine, I think it may be best that I attempt to articulate(God help us!) whatever it is that seems to be plaguing me before REAL crazy sets in!

Well, for starters, I woke up this morning with a peace of mind that was promptly broken three minutes later by my mother who started going off about something that I failed to follow in the first place because:

a)      I am not a morning person.

b)      My mother made no sense.

And I don’t know how, but with my morning-time book in my right hand and a cup of coffee in my left, I promptly started to cry. I had only been awake for six minutes, and I was already crying. Bawling, in fact.

My morning-time book is coincidentally Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and come to think of it, that may have something to do with my current state of mind as well. I mean, Virginia Woolf famously committed suicide following a serious bout of depression and the lead protagonist of her book, Clarissa Dalloway, has, so far, been reminiscing bittersweetly over a life that has gone by much faster than she anticipated that it would. So overall, it’s been like looking for a fun time at a concentration camp.

Don’t worry, I’m not reaching for the permanent marker yet!

In all seriousness though, it’s been quite some time since I felt quite so despondent. I know everyone hits those lows sometimes and our strength of character is put to the test when it comes to how long it takes us to bounce back, tell our circumstances where to stick it and keep pushing towards whatever goals we hold before us (or something like that which you’ve also inevitably read on a Hallmark card!).

But it’s been hard for me to have that clarity. At least, for today!  

I’ve been watching motivational speeches, funny skits and making lists of things that I need to do in my life in an effort to be proactive and fight against the low that I’m facing, but all day it’s felt like I’m trying to chip away at an iceberg and I don’t even get to make margaritas!

I know what ‘it won’t be me’ means, by the way. Don’t think that you alone have cracked the code. It was pretty damn obvious that ‘it won’t be me’ means ‘Dear God, I hope that I am not a washed-up , self-righteous, bitter, angry, air-headed, life-wasting, soul-sucking miserable old hag like the many (unnamed) people that I am surrounded by in my life!’

(Side-note: The previous statement does not imply or reference my mother in any way, shape or form in case she reads this and decides that homicide is not necessarily an option that should be left off the table! I’m not talking about you, mother! I know other people who need more help than the two of us combined, believe it or not!!)

The joie de vivre that is currently out of service in my system is not because I don’t understand how I feel; it’s because I know exactly how I feel! I, like so many others, am TERRIFIED of failing! I’m scared of giving up. I’m petrified of mediocrity. I lie awake at night, praying that at the end of my life, I’ll have something significant to show for it. I don’t want to be someone who talked the talk and then couldn’t walk the walk because she was lazy or too much of a chicken-shit to break out of her comfort zone!

I’m terrified by the subtle threat that a sentence like ‘it won’t be me!’ can instill! What it menacingly whispers is ‘What if it is going to be you, and what if there is nothing you can do to stop it from happening?’

The thing is, I don’t usually believe or even listen to that voice; that panic-stirring voice of dread that makes the grim reaper seem like a Teletubby, but today that fucker got to me! And I think, every once in a while, he gets through to everybody and it can be really hard to shake him off.

And so, where I lack wisdom and experience, I’ve turned to those that have done all this before me for guidance (nope, not my parents… Although that would’ve been a blast!), and I’m praying that they’ll be able to give me a psychological/intellectual/emotional enema to release the backlog of negativity that is obstructing my system!

Here’s what some of my mentors had to say:

‘If you are going through hell, keep going.’- Winston Churchill

‘Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.’ - Walter Elliott

I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.-Abraham Lincoln

And of course, Ms. Virginia Woolf herself who said: You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

‘It won’t be me!’ is my inner compass, not the menace that threatens to unhinge me. So I turn to that voice in my head and I say ‘bring it!’ Today was not my day, but maybe tomorrow will be! So that’s that! No big controversial statement and no punch-line.

See you at the finish line, BITCH!


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