Thursday night I went out to Bodega for a drink. I was celebrating the completion of my senior thesis and the end of my last day of classes….EVER. A gentleman sat down next to me and he appeared to “be somebody.” The owner shook his hand, he had on an expensive suit and shoes, and ordered a glass of wine. I later found out that he co-founded a capital management company, lives in Chicago, and consults with President Obama and his team on occasion (which is why he was in town last week). As we talked I also found out that he has a daughter in college and that a woman on the street that day told him he has kind eyes. At first I was interested in the conversation. We talked briefly about politics, about college, and about California but then I realized that I hadn’t actually said much and that he was beginning to preach.
I couldn’t blow him off though because to me his “kind eyes” looked like sad eyes. He claimed to be a happy man but I was getting the feeling that he was actually quite a lonely man. The words kept coming out and it was as if he hadn’t talked to anyone in years. For such a content man, I couldn’t help but notice how many times he said “I’m afraid.” Sometimes it was in that smart person, spectacle-wearing way like, “I’m afraid if I don’t use very big words that you won’t know I went to an Ivy League university” but other times “I’m afraid” was used to express legitimate fears. “I’m afraid our country has lost sight of what is important and I fear that our economy will fall behind the Chinese. We are so focused on the problems that we are failing to innovate and prepare for the future,” he continued on and on, “I’m afraid we have an odd system of beliefs; we believe that we can bomb a country or a person and disguise it as helping them.” This man is afraid. He is afraid of the path that our country is headed down.
Last night President Obama informed us all that Osama bin Laden is dead. The people of Washington, DC stormed the White House and cities across the country rioted in celebration. This (the royal “this”) all started out of fear. We were afraid (and rightfully pissed off) on September 11th, so much so that we retaliated with attacks of our own but now what? He’s dead. Some fear that we are in for more attacks now that we’ve killed him. Some fear that more of our troops will be killed despite his death. Some are fearless and see his death as closure. They are too happy to care about the repercussions right now. I don’t have clear opinion about “this” stuff yet but it makes me think: What am I afraid of?
In comparison to the magnitude of the bin Laden situation, the possible future attacks on our soil, and the unstable condition of our economy, my fears seem utterly insignificant. I am aware of this; however, they still exist.
I’m afraid I won’t feel good enough about myself in the next couple weeks to really enjoy the end of my Georgetown experience. I fear the fun I’m supposed to be having will have a not so fun affect on my body and its appearance. I’m afraid my physical insecurities will overshadow the bigger picture.
I fear that I won’t get a good grade on the senior thesis I spent a semester stressing about.
I’m afraid that if I move to California that I’ll miss out on what’s happening on the east coast. I’m NOT afraid of the move, I’m NOT afraid to take chances or to “see what happens” but I am afraid of missing out. Of course the east coast and the people who I love will be there when I get back but nothing will ever be the same. I’ve learned that I excel in new environments and switching it up is unbelievably healthy and necessary for me to survive but that’s a BIG ass change. I’m afraid that I’ll move there, start to build a life, and then want to come back but am unable to after a certain period of time.
On the other side, I’m afraid that if I don’t move that I’ll get stuck in old habits, old ways, and old routines on the east coast. I’m afraid I’ll go back to the old Christie, the Christie I was before I moved to DC and became Sassarella. I fear that I’ll get bored, restless, and frustrated. I’m afraid I’ll wait around.
I’m afraid that he’ll never grow up. I don’t fear whether or not he’ll say the three damn words, but I do fear that I’ll care if he does or doesn’t. I fear his indifference. More importantly I’m afraid that my fears are out of loneliness and not out of real love. I fear that I’ll go away and then he’ll realize. I fear that I’ll stick around and he’ll never realize. I’m afraid I’m going to be waiting a long time to find someone as fearless in the love department as I am.
I am excited yet fearful of the unknown. I am fearful (and annoyed) that I will have to endure more months or maybe years of the lectures and the looks on faces when I say, “I’m not sure what I want to do yet” or “I think I might like to be a writer of some sort.” I stopped in a restaurant in my hometown over Easter weekend and the owners there have known my family and me for years. We used to go there several times a week throughout middle school and high school. The husband couldn’t believe I was getting ready to graduate and the wife asked me what I majored in and what I was going to do. When I told her sociology and English and that I still don’t have a “real job” she just stared at me. I felt compelled to say more, “I might want to write,” I said and still nothing from her. She was fighting her judgement and finally she said, “Okay well you can come waitress for me so you have some money, come see me, I’ll train you.” She wasn’t entirely serious so we both laughed but I left a little pissed off. I was mad that a woman who actually doesn’t know me very well, just how I like my burgers, was judging me and my life. She assumed that as a writer I won’t have any quality of life. (I was also insulted that she thinks she would need to train me how to waitress…get real, lady). I was mad that this is a similar response from a lot of people I talk to recently. I get the, “Oh okay, well you have time, don’t worry” … If I want to worry, I can worry but don’t assume I’m worried about it. I do have moments when I worry but I don’t need people who don’t know me very well lecturing me about the future. Even the sad eyes man was talking to me about happiness, life, and change without knowing that I am quite an evolved young person. And if I want to write then I can write. I’ll be sure to send the wife a “thank you for serving me egg whites all those years, OH and for being a brat that one time you looked at me funny for being 22 years old and not having my entire career planned out yet” note with my first best-selling novel, script, or whatever. Yeah, whatever, this is a post in itself but I’ll cut it off before I start babbling about how I’m afraid I’m going to start comparing myself to my friends and their careers yada yada done.
I’m afraid I’m going to throw my laptop out the window if it freezes and re-boots one more time while I’m trying to write this post.
I fear that one day in a fit of anger I’m going to take the jackhammer that wakes me up every morning and use it to kill the construction workers who have been “fixing things” all g.d. year.
I fear that I won’t have the patience to wait all of this out and let fate take it’s course. I fear that in my need to make things happen for myself that I will be sometimes too impulsive, too aggressive, or too pushy for things I might not actually want simply because I am impatient. Then again, I fear that in my attempt to be patient that I will let opportunities pass me by. Ha! Yeah ok, I take that part back because that really doesn’t happen very often. I fear that I’m going to drive my mother crazy in the process of all of “this.” Anyway the point is, fear affects us in all kinds of ways. It makes us bomb other countries, it makes us move away, it keeps us around, it makes us work even harder, it makes us confess our love, it makes us deny love, it makes us hesitant, it makes us bold. Whether we’re fearful or fearless…it’s the way we get by.