Fear and Becoming an Adult
Adulthood began with the heavens opening, a waterfall pouring over my piano in the living room. A broken pipe (maintenance suspects that it was a sabotaged pipe) connected to the upstairs neighbor's shower was the culprit. Ceiling tiles fell and broke upon the piano, the ivory keys using their last bit of life to indignantly testify against their perpetrator. Unfortunately, this is the third time that bathroom has flooded into my apartment this year.
The same evening, my middle-aged neighbor, who is addicted to a variety of drugs, came to my door asking for a knife. As I stood there, I realized that I wasn't even worried considering it isn't even the strangest request from a neighbor I have gotten at 1 am. He claimed someone broke into his apartment, damaging the lock. Somehow, he thought a butter knife would help the predicament and denied my request to call the police to report the break-in. I doubted that the lock was really what he wanted to use the knife on, and I've always looked strange in jumpsuits, so I sent him away muttering only to hear him breaking into his apartment through the basement window.
I can't help but wonder if these are all signs—the world above me falling in on itself and my neighbor politely asking for a knife to murder me with as I politely stand in my entryway. Maybe I take concrete things too abstractly but I always want to know that I'm making the right decisions. Now that I'm graduating college, the stress to make all the right decisions is heightened. It feels like if I make one wrong step now, people will shake their heads because they knew I would never be able to accomplish my lengthy list of goals. I don’t want to be known as the girl who failed because she didn’t have whatever “it” is.
If college is like being suspended in gravity, then That First Year is the fall to planet earth. You know you’re falling but you’re not sure when you will reach full impact or what the damage will be. In an effort to minimize what I assume will be utter destruction, I try too hard to pretend my heart has not dropped down to my stomach in anxiety. The mere thought of a 40-hour, 9-5 work week makes me nauseous. I’ve even lost count of the number of times I have woken myself up from a falling dream because my legs jerk up to my eyeballs.
What I’m beginning to understand though, is that I don’t need to try to make a parachute out of thin air or even get one of those little umbrella hats to wear in my apartment. Instead, I need to lean into those hard times when everything seems to be in mid-air and allow the impact to break my shell and find out what I’m really made of. When I think worst case scenario I am forgetting that I am my best case scenario. Worst case scenario is doubting my resiliency and determination to do the hard work to develop myself personally and professionally. Becoming the CEO of my own company could start by making good little decisions, like not giving away butter knives at my door.
[Photo by Juliette Kibodeaux.]