The following is part of a 20 day challenge to get into a better habit of blogging. Each day presents a new prompt. Today’s prompt: We all have anxieties, worries, and fears. What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears. Each post is a rough draft, so please excuse typos, flights of fancy, or hyperbole. (But feel free to leave suggestions for improvement, corrections, constructive criticism or crass remarks in the comments below.)
I once had a friend say to me, “Brian; you are a seeker. I don’t know what you are looking for, but you always seem to be seeking.”
I can only think of two other times when someone observed such an absolute truth about me. Once was a photographer who noted that I was “angry,” just angry, and at nothing particular. She said this without knowing me that well. She could just see anger written in my posture and reaction to situations. She could see it despite my natural mechanism to consciously practice kindness to keep that anger in check, an emotion not expressed physically, but in a torrent of negative emotions such as jealousy. I’ve changed at least a little in the 15 years since that observation. I’m no longer as angry, perhaps a little more morose at times.
The latter sentiment leads to that other observation. Many years ago I started working with a woman about my age. We became friends. She’s the woman who introduced me to the Eels. She being pretty and me being an oaf, I tried to coach her along in her new job as a manager. One day she looked at me straight in the eye and said, “Brian, you’re not as smart as you think you are. I mean, you’re intelligent, but you’re no genius.” There was a bit of frustration involved in what she said, but no malaise. She never apologized. I never asked her to. I’ve come to realize that I tend to shore up my self-esteem and worth when down with a conflated sense of superiority. It makes for a wicked cocktail when life knocks me down, because well I think I’m so damn smart and wonder why I’m not getting the result I want. It also ties pretty nicely into whole anger thing as well.
As I have grown older (I almost wrote “matured,” but, no), these two things evolved into my greatest fear. They are what led my one friend, another person I knew long ago in a far away land to say what he said. I fear I will always be discontent, unhappy with life. I know some people call this adulthood, but I always imagined adulthood would be something different. It would be this magical time where I got my shit together, and everything fell into place. Contentment would find me.
I’ve tried a million ways to get there. Running. Reading. Writing. Study of spirituality. Job changes. Most recently, guided meditation. I plan to write about the last soon. Through small measure, each has helped sooth the voice that wants to howl out in some dramatic fashion. Each has helped me hone my response to the great question, “What am I searching for?”
The problem is, I still don’t know what that looks like. I’m dating someone at the moment. I’m enjoying the relationship. It’s forcing me to get out of my head and into the world more often. When I do that I find myself more content. I have a job that pays well enough. I’m finally getting my finances under control.
But still, there is an ache in my heart, dark clouds in my head and too often do I find myself ruminating on my lack and wonder, “Is this all? Is this where the world ends?”
So, maybe it’s not so much the discontent I fear, but what it means. I will not live up to the pretend world of accolades and accomplishments I imaged in my head, much like my inflated sense of intelligence I once bought into. I don’t know where, or how, I picked up these delusions, but they are still there.
And I try to the best of my ability to confront them on a daily basis. And I try at once to accept and find ways to be more than who I am.