A Collection of Fears

by Serena Lee, age 15
A Collection of Fears Serena is always tired no matter what. She would like to sleep more, but her sleeping schedule is screwed up.

“I think my biggest fear is creating something of little worth. More than that, creating something that floats around aimlessly in space on its own, not meaning anything to anyone. No one would be paying attention to it. No one would be bothering to even glimpse at it.”

Account One: Creating

I think my biggest fear is creating something of little worth. More than that, creating something that floats around aimlessly in space on its own, not meaning anything to anyone. No one would be paying attention to it. No one would be bothering to even glimpse at it. Or, if someone did look at it, they would be detached, unfeeling, uncaring towards this thing. What’s the point of making something if no one even cares?

You could do it for self-fulfillment, to tell yourself, Wow, I made something. But that only satisfies you a bit for a certain amount of time before fading into a sad, insignificant speck.

I see other creators who are widely successful. It’s crazy, the amount of people who like them. People are inspired by them! People are actually changed by them. Isn’t that insane?

But I also see creators who create and create and create. But they get nothing. Absolutely nothing. And that’s terrifying.

 

Account Two: Grainy Memories

When I was younger, my friends and I would run down hills, climb and fumble on top of gray-red slides, and build fantastic things of imagination, only to leave it alone and start a new project. Even with a cold, fall wind whispering about the incoming winter, nipping at our noses and ears, we still played outside, hugging our knees, and leaning on our toes while trying to capture crickets. The next year, we didn’t go outside as much.

One day, we stayed inside as the clouds clung together, rumbling ever so softly once or twice. My friend’s phone glowed bright on her face, and her hair spread out behind her since she was lying atop of the table. I sat on a squished chair, that was meant for equally-as-squished toddlers, sketching with flat, teal crayons that would go in every direction except for where I wanted them to go.

My other friend was opposite from me. Her arms were crossed, and her head was comfortably placed on them.

“I’m so bored.”

“Hmm.”

“Yeah.”

“Do you remember pretending to do gymnastics at the old building?”

“Yeah.”

“Hmm.”

We kept on sitting there, each to their own, by ourselves, with the rain randomly tapping the window.

 

Account Three: The Dark

The dark is an unknown expanse that swallows anything with its boneless jaws. In a house, it’s unbearable. Every whining creak from old, wooden floorboards made in the 60’s, every soft whirr from basement machines, every sound fills me up till it’s overcome by an even more booming heartbeat.

God, I almost want to laugh at myself. The dark? Seriously? Especially in my own home? One that I’ve lived in for so long, that the smell of it is my blanket. Each squeaking floorboard engraved into my very being, and I know every secret. Yet, here I am, struggling at 1 a.m., trying to walk to my own bed. Groping the walls while I lie to myself that I am okay. I am definitely okay. Ha.

The light reveals – no, confirms – everything that I know. Everything is in its proper place, and I am perfectly sure that nothing will change. But in the dark, that comfort is replaced by uncertainty. I think that the bag I just stepped on is mine? Or is it my sister’s? Maybe that’s my bedroom over there? Or maybe it’s my mom’s bedroom. No, it’s my mom’s bedroom. I can hear her light snore.

In the dark, my once-assured guffaws at serial killers and slippery demons that crawl along the walls, with deception slithering out of their grinning lips, fade away into fake chuckles. The kind that the main characters of a horror movie does in order to persuade themselves that nothing is wrong, and they won’t die. But they usually die.

In the end, I do make it to my bed, the bright, neon clock in our room glows on the silhouette of my sister. I lie down. I cover my entire head with my quilt and try to sleep.

 

Account Four: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

I hate making the wrong choice or feeling like I’ve made the wrong decision. What if that wrong choice leads to a terrible future, which then makes my life miserable, and all of that terribleness is just because of something I had decided?

So I sit down in the middle of the room. My arms are holding my legs close to my breathing chest. And I sit, eyes closed, doing absolutely nothing.

On the flip side, I hate missing chances, chances that could be absolutely amazing, and change my world someway, somehow. So I stay in this stalemate, where I sit and refuse to do a thing.

 

Account Five: Love

I’m afraid of love. More specifically, I’m afraid of loving someone so much that the love is squeezed out of me until I’ve fallen out of it. Then that would mean I was never really in love with that person. Or maybe I was. I suppose I was in love when I only knew them for what I perceived them to be rather than for who they were. Maybe I was in love with only half of the person, or maybe just a quarter, or maybe even less.

People romanticize the idea of falling in love. This flowery, rosy affair where both parties are happy. But what happens when you spend too much time with them? What happens once the rose petals and pastry crumbs are dusted off? What happens then?

Of course, a good, healthy relationship goes beyond the flat gifts and compliments. It’s a deeper understanding of that person. It’s the maturity to know that a person is a multi-faceted being that needs more than just hugs and soft kisses on cheeks. It’s for that knowledge to really click. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that kind of relationship, though. Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t. Who knows.

 

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