Photographed and Written by Raquel Lyons
I recognized my first insecurity about a week prior to the start of this semester. My first fear was that I was running out of topics and concepts to write about–which are particularly illogical as I have plenty of ideas left to go. But this insecurity bit at me–leaving a mark on my skin as if to say it owned me.
My second doubt came one evening while I was heading to catch the train at South station. It wormed its way into my brain, expressing the questioning wonder if I would be able to complete college.
The bigger worm behind that doubt was if I was going to be able to survive through graduate school.
The next drop came when I got lost trying to get to my new therapist’s office. Annoyingly, I got lost right around where I needed to be (and I have since learned the way), but it cost me an appointment and having to reschedule for two weeks later.
I proceeded to sob in the parking lot as the snow came down to keep me company, as depression came flooding into my vision and negative self-talk seemed like the ultimate truth. It was then that I recalled why being a student last semester was nowhere near my list of concerns. It all made sense then, and I struggled to shake the shock of its pain for the following three days.
My next “Scarlet takes a tumble” came with a round of procrastination. The procrastination led to some rule breaking–no, demolishing–of my student identity as deep shame made me want to isolate myself and be deprived of sensory information for the rest of the day.
A nap settled my disgruntled mood, but the next wave of insecurities came for me early in the evening. It began gradually, a doubt again about my limited amount of content to come, then to my wondering if my articles were even interesting to begin with. Shadows of doubt dangled in my vision as I wasn’t sure anymore if my articles even mattered. Maybe, I thought, maybe they never did.
Yet, on the surface it was not merely a question of my articles worth, but of my own worth as a person.
This part occurred to be as the doubts swam in my mind heading to the train station. My brain swung left and right at me and naturally I reacted in a way that I think anybody would–I cried.
For some reason, when my brain spouts its cruel words and lies, I am aware of the fact that what it is telling me is NOT the truth. And, in part, I think that is part of the problem. Because I realize it is not the truth that I am being told, and yet I feel powerless to stop its assault. I am not even sure if voicing these doubts is a form of reassurance seeking, or if I am meant to just keep them to myself and let go of them so I can move forwards.
But, in part, it feels like I cannot move forward. I fear my articles have become like journal entries, no longer with a point but merely to update myself on my life.
Who cares about my life? I wonder. Does my story matter?
The words slice through my very soul and I am left wandering in the nothingness of negative self-talk and depression, and I am sure that OCD is hanging around the vicinity, as well.
Naturally, these doubts exhume a deep level of emotional pain. At least, I can say that my crying spell helped and I was able to move forwards by writing the beginning of this article.
What is my conclusion?
The fear is that there is not one. Yet, maybe that is not such a bad thing. When I am well, I hold strong beliefs in the idea that my story matters, I matter and the reader, out there, whoever they are, matters too. I can have these doubts and insecurities, and they do not have to rule my life. Easier said that practiced, yet true all the same. I can remind myself that my feelings are temporary, and as the most common and most heard response I get when I voice my suicidal thoughts to people, I can also remind myself: “Don’t do that.”
And of course, the factors I have outlined here are not the only concerns engaged in this thick black ball of spider web goo. Yet, that exploration is for another article.
Ultimately, I have to believe that what I do matters. It matters to me; to you and to people I do not even know yet. I hold purpose, and so do you.
Thank YOU for existing.
Written February 6th and 7th 2017. ❤ ❤ ❤