When someone asks you what you’re afraid of most in this world, what would you answer? Dying? Snakes, spiders, or any assortment of creepy-crawlies? Flying? Tight spaces? Public speaking?
Disappointing the people I love.
That’s always my answer. That fear is what drives everything I do, every single day. And I can’t remember not being like this. When I was younger, I wasn’t driven to get good grades because I wanted to be the one on stage getting awards; I didn’t want to compete with my friends for who had the best grades. No. My good grades hinged completely on getting that report card in the mail and making sure I did not see even a hint of disappointment written on my parents’ faces. So I worked as hard as I could to make sure they were always proud of everything I did.
Eventually I internalized some of that and I wanted to learn, I wanted to do well in school. But to this day, so much of what I do is based on whether or not I think I’m making my loved ones proud.
I’ve realized in recent years that this desire to not disappoint people has morphed into something much more extreme. It’s not just that I don’t want to disappoint my loved ones. To an extent, that’s normal (though most people my age will do what they want anyway, regardless of how their actions affect the people they love). But now, I’m worried about disappointing people that I don’t even necessarily care that much about. People I haven’t known that long, people who I know in my mind are only worried about themselves and don’t think twice about what I’m doing.
I think this is a huge part of what I’m dealing with right now. I’m worried I’m disappointing so many people in my life right now, close to me and otherwise, and I don’t know how to deal with that. I have huge decisions to make right now, and one way or another, I’m going to leave people upset and disappointed. As the Boyfriend keeps reminding me, though, I have to make the choice that is right for me and my health. And though neither of us knows what that decision is at this moment, I know he’s right. It’ll be a tough decision either way.