Facing Fear

I have three big fears. The first is too awful to write about, the second is burning to death in a house fire (but I suppose at least I would be dead) and the third is being made redundant. Anyone who knows me, will realise that catastrophizing is a skill I have honed into a super power, exploding anxiety bombs inside me continuously, driving me to do my best work, or be my ‘best self’ in the hope that I can somehow prevent inevitable (or perceived) horrors from catching up with me months, even years before they actually do (or don’t). Unfortunately my third biggest fear has come true, and I am now facing redundancy during the pandemic, and those anxiety bombs have escalated into overwhelming mushroom clouds.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not going to curl up in the fallout. I’ve done this twice before. I take my iodine pills and get up. Please wish me luck for the future. I need it. Three redundancies in 13 years may be due to some sort of curse, but it sure does justify the catastrophizing. I like that word, but I could do without the curse.

In A Dark Place

I am having trouble functioning at the moment, feeling joy, feeling connected to anything, or wanting to be a part of this world. This disconnect can be traced back to early childhood, although I didn’t recognise it back then, it keeps re surfacing in my weakest moments. The problem is, when you feel weak, then your perception of the people around you, and of yourself, becomes distorted; or leaves you open to imagined or actual attack. I have a confession. I have been diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, and over the years it has grown into a monster, which has severed my trust in friends, myself, colleagues, humanity and most of my family. I was taught to see the good in everyone, no matter how hard you had to look for it, but this has created a debilitating and confusing cognitive dissonance. Some people, some times, mean you harm. Most people, even family, don’t care about you, and that is not okay, and it goes against everything I was lead to believe as a child. I see disdain in people’s eyes, like I’m a repulsive creature that they want to jettison from the room, and in any state, because I am an introvert, most people tend not to acknowledge me in a group. Their eyes will flicker past me as if I’m not even there, even when I’m speaking, like I’m made of light which is somehow beyond their field of vision, and my words aren’t sticking to reality as much as everyone else around me. This has happened throughout my life. I am a quiet person, and never really learnt how to impose myself fully. I was taught to put others first. I wish I was born male, and although I’m disguised as a woman, something tells them I’m not quite right, and that is why I believe I am excluded and sometimes ostracised. I don’t know how to cope with a deliberately turned back, strategically positioned to block me from a conversation, or the old classic conversation sniper, hungry for attention, devouring words before I have a chance to spit them out. That one drama whore, who everyone else in the room adores, but hates me, and wants me to suffer silently, the scapegoat, locked inside an abusive battle of unspoken contempt, coated with niceties to fool the other people into thinking everything is okay, because the battle is only visible to the ostracised and the perpetrator. For the most part, I have been able to ignore it, to use my invisibility as a power to conjure people inside my head, to write them into existence. The writer gives life, and the reader, is made of better stuff than the flimsy world that the writer is used to, and they listen, they hear my voice, they see my words. I exist, but I resent having to live outside of writing. I’m so alone, and so broken. So lost.

Unbound Boxes Limping Gods: Behind the Writing


I have problems fitting in. I won’t lie. I try my best, but somehow feel comfortable around smaller groups of people, or even fictional people. I like people, in fact I’d call myself a humanist, but from a very early age, connecting with most people has been something I’ve had to work hard at. In truth, most people have to work hard to talk to me, as I’m not the greatest conversationalist, and that is a severe disability in this life. Monitoring myself, gauging what’s appropriate to say can be tiring, so I’ve become quite quiet these days. Perhaps you think I’m oversharing? Maybe you’re right. But maybe a small part of you wants to read on? I might disclose something inappropriate? The thing is, I don’t really care what people think of me in this virtual world, but put me in a room full of strange or even familiar people and my mind begins attempting to scramble out of my body, out and up into a place I’ve made for myself in fiction. A place where my alter ego exists, a woman called Alexand, or maybe Katherine, or perhaps if I’m feeling brazen I can turn into a man, I’ll call him Juba Apfvarzian. I love the way his name rolls off my brain. These are my characters, my family and friends, as real to me as anyone I’ve met in this physical world. You may like to meet them? You can visit them here.  You see, the best part of being a writer, is becoming someone else, going places you couldn’t possibly travel to in reality, and taking people there with you. That’s when I truly connect with other people. Of course human emotions are the same in fiction as they are here, and I am a very emotional writer, but going to their world is so liberating, it’s almost like finding a part of the afterlife. (I’m a recovering Christian but I’ll talk about that some other time) In a way I have emancipated myself from having to exist completely in my physical body, bar the mundanity of an 8.30-17.30 job which pays the mortgage but is slowly draining me of creativity, and identity. When I write, I become part of someone else’s life. Cheryl stops existing, and finally people listen.