I am afraid.
Scared. Frightened. Apprehensive.
At first this section of the blog was to be titled the Fearless Files. I have a thing alliteration and the f’s, i’s, and l’s reflect my surname. However, the title was too similar to V’s blog, the Relentless Files, and I want to respect her intellectual property.
The full truth: I am full of fear, so the title is not apt, not honest.
I am most scared of exposure, that despite collecting degrees and other external accolades people will see the “real” me: a lazy, not-so-smart nobody.
But that’s just the crow talking. That’s what I call the voice, you know the one, the Impostor Syndrome, the you suck at everything, you’re not good enough voice. The name originates from a poem one of my soul sisters, Ang, wrote forever ago. (You can find her writing here)
Fear isn’t all bad, it can be healthy when used in the service of action, like this blog.
I am completely terrified of writing this blog, of publishing an essay week. My initial reaction was: a week?! Are you fucking kidding me? There ain’t shit I do weekly. (there’s my commitment-phobia showing up, the joys of being a Sag)
But I need this. My writing needs this. Desperately.
So here I am, at two in the morning, on my grandmother’s couch, writing by the bright ass street light filtering into her apartment trying not to listen to the ticking clock chiding: Go to bed. You have work in the morning.
That’s when the crow decides to join me.
What are you doing?
No one cares what you have to say.
“Imma do it anyway.”
Growing up my little brother was fearless. He would careen down life with not a care for his safety.
Once, a passing driver kept honking at my mom. When Mami finally deigned to roll down her window the person yelled: “Hey lady, your kid’s hangin’ out the windah” (yes windah, New England). Turns out my brother had Houdini-ed himself out of his car seat. He would magically escape from any confines and leave everything as it was, including buckled straps. He would do the same with his high chair. Escape his crib. He didn’t like containment. But I digress; during this particular escape my brother’s objective was to feel the breeze on his face. He sat on the window, holding on to the roof of the car, his upper body exposed to the elements, free as he wanted to be. I, seated next to him, of course, was quietly, obediently buckled in, . When these things would happen, my brother flagrantly acting of his own accord, and me, nearby, his silent witness who always followed the rules, my mother would look at me with betrayal, as if to say “Why didn’t you say anything?” I returned her gaze with a look of my own: “You wouldn’t have believed me anyway. I’m not the one breaking the rules.”
Look at us now. Here I am defying my perceived familial rules of what it means to be a Dominican woman: living alone, unmarried, childless. Meanwhile, my brother and his wife have been married for over a decade and have four gorgeous, amazing, adventurous, brilliant children. God, I really love being Tia Kika.
Am I scared of dying alone? Of not finding my romantic life partner? Of continuing to get my heart broken from disappointment?
Of never figuring out or accepting my own definition of woman hood?
Of course I am.
But I will keep leaping anyway.
I will jump off the ledge of the cliff into waters of undisclosed depths. I will dance by firelight.
Bathe in moonlight.
I will hit submit. Publish.
And I am afraid.
But I’m gonna do it anyway.
I am afraid that my addictions will get the better of me. My lethargy, compulsory shopping for things when I’m restless, eating to fill the gnawing that has nothing to do with physical hunger, or the hunger of my vulva, my penchant for alcohol, or of escape through any of these things (plus excess sleep) will get me, will turn me into the drunk, lonely, middle-aged woman who uses my gifts of divination as party tricks.
But you know what, Imma do it anyway. As Chuck would say, via Anne Lamont, bird by bird. (Chuck writes here). I will do more than survive. I will speak despite my fears of confrontation. I will move despite my fears of awkwardness. I will act despite the fear of falling.
Stunts cannot be performed safely or effectively if you never learn to fall. So here’s not to learning how to fly, I already have wings, but to learning how to fall…
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