My fears, by comparison, had always been irrational. The fear that someone will think my nose is weird. The fear that I’d hid in the bathroom too long or too many times and everyone at the party will notice. The fear that even my closest friends would one day leave or decide I wasn’t cool enough anymore. The fear that a group of strangers won’t like me, but then will only pretend to be nice to me, and I’ll never know it. They’d say something awful behind my back, and one of them would tell a lie about me, which would make someone else believe that lie, so they’d repeat it. Then two people would tell the same story, and the third and fourth people would also repeat it and then it would become something different, and soon entire groups of people I’d never met would be poisoned against me before we ever even had the chance to meet, before anyone knew I wasn’t some huge jerk, and--
My heart was pounding just thinking about that scenario. My breaths were hard and shallow, my fingers hurt from where I’d been clutching the steering wheel. At least I’d stopped crying.
My point is, that for as terrifying as my fears were to me, I’d always found a way to get past them and function. Even when I was so afraid that I almost couldn’t move, I could fake bravado. In a bit of irony, the fear of being seen as afraid made me move on as if I wasn’t. To do otherwise would mean to just stop, and I’ve lived that life before. Sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months at a time… and you don’t get that time back. So ultimately, you were afraid for nothing. If I could impart a piece of advice onto the world, it is that more than the crowds, more than fake smiles and unheard whispers, even more than our own base, loathsome selves, what we should really fear is stasis. Life will always move forward, whether we move forward or not. Even stumbling and flailing about, unable to find your balance and rolling down a hill head over heels is still moving forward. It might not be graceful, but at least you’re not stuck with whatever you were trying to move past.