Over and over, we are subjected to men defending having murdered someone by saying they felt threatened, as though merely feeling afraid is the same thing as being in actual danger. Those are not the same things. And the conflation of the two is the inevitable result of privilege, which does not teach most men, especially most white, cis, straight men, how to sit with fear.
To have so little experience with actually being in danger that one cannot discern the difference between feeling afraid and being in clear and present danger is a luxury that most marginalized people do not have.
i went into university this year extremely scared and nervous. it’s something i spent a lot of time discussing with my therapist. there were times when i literally felt like i’d rather just die than go to school, because i was so scared.
my two main worries were a) that i wouldn’t make any friends and b) that i’d find the material boring or unfulfilling and want to drop out.
well, socially, i’m doing alright. there are a few people who i can comfortably talk to, and even when i’m keeping to myself, i don’t feel like anyone is judging me for being shy/introverted. but beyond that, socialization just isn’t as crucial to me as i expected it would be. i feel happy enough just being surrounded by like-minded people. we don’t strictly need to be best friends in order for that to feel okay to me.
as for the material - weirdly enough, even though i have little to no interest in the politics, business, etc. that we are largely concerning ourselves with, the classes are hugely engaging to me. i’m learning how to write and research, how to articulate myself concisely and clearly. in my electives, i even get to learn about unrelated but interesting things, like themes of sexist oppression in literature, and how human psychology works. i don’t think i’ve been bored by anything i’ve learned at ryerson thus far.
i don’t know why i thought university would be different from any of the other fears i’ve conquered in the past. it’s the same exact thing. if it terrifies the shit out of you, but there’s a deep secret part of you that feels drawn toward it, well, that almost definitely means you would gain and grow a lot by just doing it.
case and point:
-trying out for the improv team
-telling a cute boy i liked him
-reaching out to randoms on okcupid
-running the improv club
-being interviewed for shameless magazine
-volunteering at [name redacted because it’s supposed to be anonymous]
-getting naked with other girls at a body pride party
-attending a mixer for sex-positive people even though i’m painfully shy
-dressing weird even when i just want to blend in
The simplest advice I have is to stop thinking and say yes. Start counting in your head in the morning, and just try to not think much, just like Kate says. Then, when an opportunity comes to you to do something, just DO IT. Even if you’re afraid, just make yourself do it. If you’re scared, you can either count to stop thinking, or take deep, slow breaths. It’s like going on a rollercoaster or jumping off a diving board. You just have to trust you can do it. All it takes is practice.
The best part is that you can just ask the universe, “I want to feel confident and allow things in my life.” Then relax and go about your life as you normally would. If you’re present enough, you’ll find you’re probably already in a place of confidence and allowing. Just stop thinking and say yes :)