Questions from Melony Hill’s Writing for My Sanity Therapeutic Writing Workshop (@STMSBmore), held online.
• What was your biggest fear as a child? What is your biggest fear as an adult? Are they connected in any way?
When I was a kid, I was afraid of a lot of things. But, I was afraid of letting people down the most. I didn’t want my parents to not be proud of me. I wanted my teachers to be proud of me. I wanted my friends to know I was loyal to them. I even remember crying when I lost a stuffed raccoon that I used to carry around everywhere, because I felt like I had let him down.
As an adult, those fears carry over. I don’t like the idea of not being there when my friends need me. I try to be the best romantic partner I can be, the best parent I can be, the best business owner I can be, and really try hard to hold myself to a high standard.
This means that sometimes I have trouble letting go and relaxing. It feels like there’s always something I should be improving or getting better.
It also means that whenever someone does compliment me, it melts me into a puddle. My father told me he was proud of me after watching an online art opening that I had this week, and it meant so so much to me. Because I’m so hard on myself, any bit of gentleness from people deeply affects me.
• Is there anything that gives you overwhelming anxiety? How do you control it?
I fear getting ground up in the gigantic machine that is the United States. Failing at my business and getting sucked under with taxes and bills. Being chewed up by an unjust incarceration system or abused by the police. I fear the ever-present violence that surrounds me; it feels both reminiscent of home, but I also know it’s traumatic to constantly be in. I fear raising my kids here, and worry about how it’s affecting them.
This is how I control it. Journaling, being in this class. I control it with therapy. I control it with meditation and going outside into the woods. Sometimes I control it by sleeping more.
• What are some of your goals for the year? What obstacles stand between you and accomplishing them?
I want to get on top of my taxes. I don’t want them hanging over my head anymore. I want to save for travel, so that when things do open up, I can just go. I want to learn how to invest properly. I want to set up proper retirement accounts so that I don’t have to worry about it in the future.
Most of these are finance related. My biggest obstacle before was knowledge and not knowing enough and not being connected enough to the people with the knowledge, but late last year I fired my accountant and hired a new one. I’m working through it with a new amazing accountant, which I’m excited about.
• If you had fewer inhibitions, how would you behave differently? Be specific.
I don’t feel like I have very many inhibitions anymore, and I am very much myself in very raw ways. I think what I’m working on now is twofold: looking at what I can do with the way I am, and learning to the aspects of myself that I want to expand on and grow. I feel like now is the time for nurturing and planting.
• What are some of your most prized personal possessions? Why are they so important to you?
I think probably my photos. Photos of myself when I was a kid, photos as a teenager, photos of my children. They help remind me of where I was, where I am, and where I can go.