I’ve always been afraid of heights. Just imagining looking down over a ledge at this great abyss was enough to make me dizzy…
I have always been afraid of falling. Of failing. Of being rejected, criticized. Of being ridiculed, ignored, despised, laughed at.
I’ve always been afraid. Of heights, of spiders and bugs, of dogs, of other people, of getting hurt, of pain, of suffering…
I was born weak. Fragile. Bad eyes, bad health, bad posture… when it came to first impressions… I suffered from what folks like to call social anxiety – I just wasn’t good around people. I lived inside my head. I despised going out. I despised talking to others.
From my father, I understood that I was dumb, ugly, and a failure at everything. I understood that I was afraid of so many thing, because greatness hadn’t been bestowed upon me.
I wrote, yes, but no one bothered to read my words. My stories. I kept writing nonetheless.
A part of me hoped that my words would make me feel less invisible. Would make this pain go away. Would stop me being afraid. Would silence these voices that kept telling me that I was too dumb, too weak, too ugly to succeed. To be happy. To smile. To laugh.
It was just me and my words. For a long and silent time.
Then, my first week of high school – among all the new things to suddenly be afraid of – one of my teachers asked to read a story of mine. This teacher looked me in the eye and told me I was talented.
And I decided to be talented.