Life Is Scary (Until It Isn't So Much Anymore)
Written by: Alexandra Wyatt
Life can seem scary sometimes, even if there isn’t a pandemic looming over the world.
I’ve spent a lot of my life paralysed by fear and uncertainty. I’m an only child and I’ve spent the majority of life living with my parents, so I’ll be the first to admit that most of my life has been pretty sheltered. But the last few years have brought a lot of changes for me, and I want to talk about them a little.
The truth is, I did not start living until I was twenty.
It was January last year when I got on a plane, travelled thousands of miles over the ocean, and dropped in free fall into an unfamiliar life. I moved in with four strangers in a tiny flat, in a country I didn’t know surrounded by people people I didn’t know. Everywhere I looked I was surrounded by newness.
There were no parachutes then. Nothing to hold me back. My last tether snapped two months in when my then-best friend and I stopped speaking, so I forced myself to make new ones. I went out to parties with lips painted dark pink and thick eyeliner to hide the tears. I drank peach schnapps and crappy four-pound wine from Tesco when the buzzing in my head got too loud and laughed shards of glass in between.
A couple weeks later I found myself in a small hotel room in Budapest, broken bits cobbled back together, and breathed again.
Life isn’t linear. It’s one step forward, two steps back, then three steps forward and another one back. Going home was like stepping into shoes a half-size too small. They fit, but just a little too tight around the edges. I came home, got a job, and moved out in the space of a few weeks. My brain couldn’t catch up. I spent the next few months trying to fit back into all my old roles. I laughed a little too hard again, stayed up too late, and tried to ignore how I was feeling. Eventually, I got on the right medication and started seeing a therapist. The noise quieted a little. I got better again.
Some days I feel like Frankenstein’s monster - a bunch of pre-owned parts sewn together into one mostly-whole body. But just a little off. I used to describe myself as the puzzle piece that didn’t quite fit in anywhere. The black sheep. Dark curly hair, glasses, hushed words. I slipped by in high school; people forgot about me most of the time. I’m still surprised when, every once in a while, people remember me.
But I’m still going to continue. And so should we all. Life is scary, and anxiety is a part of life for a lot of people. But life continues; sometimes, you just need a little break to start again.