I get into very awkward or bizarre situations on a fairly regular basis. I obviously don’t intend to; it just kind of happens. Whether it’s accidentally hugging a stranger because I already had my arms out for a hug and felt it was too late to retreat or rambling on about the drink choices with a barista while the line grows ever longer behind me and he looks at me as if I’ve lost my mind while attempting to speak kindly, my life is certainly never a bore.
Just this last week, I took a lovely hour-long walk to my alma mater to visit a few professors, sit in on a class, hang out with some friends, and watch Into the Woods. Although each of these events hosted its own odd happenstance, there is one particular story which may hold more entertainment than the others.
I was hanging out with my friend, Matt, for quite some time up in the Joust’s dining area. We had sat down outside the main lobby and landed near the stairwell and the computer stations. While we were at the table there, several torrential downpours thundered against the roof as lightning raced across the sky. Matt had been there, dozing off or laughing at my attempts to focus on writing. All the while my fingers were tapping away at the keys and I was thinking aloud about my future posts, possible story ideas, and occurrences from the morning. Occasionally I made a remark on the rain or someone who had braved the deluge would walk into our presence, water trickling down their faces, hair, clothes, and bags.
As the lightning and thunder picked up, I started thinking about my computer and the fact that it wasn’t plugged into a surge protector, so I was typing as quickly as I could while trying to finish the short project I was working on so that I could turn off my computer and unplug it. But then it happened. The power flickered. Thankfully, it wasn’t even long enough for my charger to realise that no electricity had run through it for a few milliseconds. So I carried on.
I kept typing, emailing, and working until it happened again. I then frantically started pounding at the keys, hoping that what I was putting in would make sense to my editor later. I heard a student coming down the hallway talking about how he was enjoying the storm while I was thinking that I would be if I weren’t so terrified of losing my computer. But my fingers weren’t fast enough. And the power…well, it was gone.
I gasped. My computer immediately started lagging horrendously and terror set in. I automatically spewed, “Oh no! No, no, no, no, no! I don’t like this! This is scary! No!! I don’t like this! Can the power please, please come back on…?” I sounded even more frightened than I felt.
What I hadn’t realised was that my fear didn’t come across as being irrationally scared of my laptop being screwed up from the storm; instead, it came across to the student, who had just graced us with his presence, as if I were utterly petrified of the dark and about in tears. He tried to stifle a laugh as I freaked out, but his chortle had been noticed. I quickly tried to explain my fear, but by that point, I was starting to giggle and the panic was ebbing away. As all of this was happening, a few other people had made their way up the stairs and witnessed my exclamations and attempts to explain them. What can I do, right?
Now this wasn’t too awkward overall, but for a few seconds, I was completely embarrassed. I felt a fool. Sometimes my anxieties and fears override my logical thought processes, and I forget how things work in the physical world. Thankfully, there wasn’t a power surge or anything of the kind, and the power was only off for about ten seconds, otherwise it would have taken over half an hour to turn my ruddy computer off (I really need to see if I can get it fixed…). But because of my fear of my computer messing up more than it already is, I failed to observe the world around me and drew far more attention to myself than I would’ve liked. And goodness knows I let my fear get in the way of my life far more frequently than that.
If I let my fear of losing my computer freak me out that much, what is it like when I let my fears of not meeting my personal goals overwhelm me?
If I continue letting my fear of rejection keep getting in the way of my writing, then I’ll never fulfil my dream of becoming a published author. If I let my fear of messing up stop me from editing, then I’ll never fulfil my dream of helping others be published. If I let my fear of looking silly stop me from being my nerdy, overly-passionate self, then I’ll never let anyone get to know the real me. And if I let my fear of fear of meeting new people stop me from making new friends, then I’ll never meet the people who may just become my family.
It’s always a struggle to get past my fears, but I constantly do, even if it’s just in tiny increments. And I could never be thankful enough for the things I experience, the people I meet, the places I go, and the dreams and goals I accomplish. I’ve accomplished these by pushing past what my mind tells me so that I see the truth—that I am loved and appreciated and that what I do does make an impact, even if the only person impacted by it is me.