A Letter to My Fears

A year ago, I conquered you—held you back for long enough to say to my parents, “So, I’m leaving my job because I just have to write full time. And I know I’ll probably be bussing tables or something just to pay the bills, but what do you think?”

And even as I waited for them to tell me what they thought, I knew what I thought—what you would have me think. This was ridiculous. This was impossible. How could I even think such a thing? And I half-expected my parents to be the rational adults they are and tell me the same thing. But if I conquered you for a moment, my dad wiped you away forever when he said the words, “You have your father’s blessing,” which are words every daughter needs to hear at least once in her lifetime. Because if my father could approve of me just barely getting by, then you had no room to protest.

I chose the words that would propel me onward over the doubts that held me back.

Not that you wouldn’t resurface. Not that you wouldn’t come knocking on my door saying, “About that writing gig… How’s that going for you?” As if you didn’t know I struggle. As if you hadn’t figured out that words are hard to birth some days.

And people might say that your constant presence in my life means that I haven’t conquered you after all. But we both know the truth. We both know there is a difference between the Fear of last year and the Fear of today. While you may still come knocking on my door uninvited, I certainly don’t ask you to come in and stay awhile. Not anymore.

No sir, I’ve wised up to your ways. Now, when I open the door to see your face, I tell you you’ve got the wrong address. The girl you’re looking for has long moved on and, no, I don’t know where to find her.

And I might be the sort of person who would kindly take you in, except my table is already full of new friends. Friends like Hope and Promise and Faith and Trust and Believing, and, well, I’m just not sure there’s room for one more. Besides, you sort of give my friends a bad feeling, and everyone knows that you should never ignore a friend’s warning about a guy. And when you have five friends who are all sharing the same disapproval… Well, call it an intervention if you must, but I’m cutting you out of my life for good.

I used to be in this dead-end relationship with you, but I’ve realized the error of my ways. And don’t think you can come crawling back here and sweet-talk your way back into my heart when I’m feeling a little down.

You see, this world holds something better for me, and you didn’t want me to see it because you knew it meant leaving you. And you knew I had it in me to leave or you wouldn’t have tried to hide the truth for so long.

So this is goodbye—I’m cutting my ties. And don’t you come knocking around here, no sir. Don’t you dare come knocking.

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