The Fear

by The Dreamer

So today’s topic is gonna get a little bit trippy, so brace yourselves, people! It’s basically about fear, and recognizing it, and accepting them. All along, I’ve had these feelings bottled up within me. I didn’t want anyone to know how I really felt on the inside, so I sometimes gave superficial, politically-correct answers I was sure wouldn’t hurt the feelings of others. I understand that this was deceiving myself, and it made me hate myself so goddamn much.

Yesterday, my friends Hai Ern and Kahei brought me to Starbucks. We all ordered a venti Chocolate Chip Cream and we had a serious heart-to-heart talk. Up till then, I never truly realized how important it was to have a listening ear and to be able to fully express your thoughts as they were, not manipulating them to be what others wanted to hear. We talked for 3 and a 1/2 hours, about literally everything – friends, studies, family, and mostly ourselves. I felt like that day, all of us could confidently say we sort of lifted a rock from our hearts. This heavy burden was just…gone. It was indeed an enlightenment session for me. Through it, I acknowledged my fears and it felt good to say it out loud.


I mean, who doesn’t? Unless you are Four from Divergent, you have multiple, multiple fears. However, as a saying goes, “With fears in your head, there is no space for dreams.” It is essential for all of us to acknowledge our fears and accept that we are flawed personalities. Today, my school held a motivational workshop for the Secondary Fours. We were made to reflect on our fears and write them down. Anyone could volunteer to pick up the microphone and share them, because it was scientifically proven that it could help you overcome the emotional hurdle you have for fears. I really felt admiration for my friends who bravely stood on stage and told the audience, “Hey I have fears. I am not perfect.” It was in a way, revealing yourself as vulnerable to others, and that is something not anyone could achieve. I mean, who would want others to see that you have a fragile side too? Therefore, I felt their courage was applaudable. The silence weighed heavily in the air then, I remember, sitting ontop of us like an elephant. Everyone shed tears, because I knew, in a way or another, it was as though our friends had conveyed our fears as well. We could relate to them, or we could emphatize.

So even though I didn’t go on stage today, I felt like it would remove some emotional baggage on me if I told the internet what were my fears. Here I go.

1) The fear of being hated.

I have always felt that hate was a strong term. And I repulsed it. I would rather use strongly dislike, or abhor, than hate, because it had too much of a negative connotation to bear. And I couldn’t stand the feeling of knowing someone would stare daggers at you. That someone was probably gossiping and criticizing you behind your back. It would be the worst feeling ever. Therefore, I back away from confrontation and conflict whatsoever, because I’m afraid I would leave a sour feeling amongst the other party and then they would think, “Oh, Jean is being a complete ass.” I don’t even dare think of planting such thoughts into their heads. I walk cautious circles around everyone, don’t dare to speak my thoughts just because of this fear. And all this is taking a toll on me, I can tell. I get suspicious of whether my friends are secretly hating me, and all this is making me feeling so much fatigue.

2) The fear of being ostracized.

Again, this is a problem revolving among human relationships. As I mentioned in my 20 facts about me post, I’m the awkwardest person on this planet. I can’t stand the amplified noise of awkward silence. Others may conceive it as comfortable silence, but I would feel very weirdly pressured to stretch out a conversation. Do you know the feeling of being there, yet not being there at all? I get that a lot. Recently, it seems like I can’t figure out who is truly my friends whom I can confide to, and will be there for me when I need them.

I feel like everyone has an ulterior motive. That no one is my true friend. And it sucks to feel like this, because I feel so overwhelmingly lonely and cast aside. Everyone has someone they can look at, and know they can be partners for group work. It’s so exhausting that I have to constantly deliberate, who do I go recess with? Why can’t I be included in the conversation? Why do I have to be the subject to ridicule for others to notice me for once?

I really can’t stand it. And when my friend mentioned this, I felt like she had searched my soul and took the words right out of my mind. Everyone is living behind a mask. Everyone isn’t being true to me. Maybe it’s just me being sensitive and paranoid, but everyone seems to have someone they can fall back on and count on. I will never be the first choice. I can only exist in group friendships. I will leave the school feeling alone.

3) The fear of under-achieving. 

Everyone seems to be placing such high expectations on me. “You’re Jean! You don’t need to study! I thought you would be able to do every question!” All these make me feel sick. Like, can’t others understand that I must put in twice, or thrice the effort to get the results I’m achieving now? It doesn’t just fall from the sky, you know. And I always tell myself, “Eff those people, Jean. You don’t have to regard their passing comments.” But they stick to me like freaking lovegrass to velcro. I can’t shake off that feeling, and that disappointment, and that ANGER and ANNOYANCE. Especially when people will be like, “Oh, you failed the test? I thought you would get an A.” DON’T YOU GUYS GET IT? I’m human too, and I’m not perfect. I make mistakes, and my grades fluctuate from time to time. I get tired and can’t smile all the time and entertain you. And then there is my parents who think I’m a good speaker and stuff and expect me to achieve so much. Unknowingly, they place pressure on me when they emphasize my sister’s academic successes and practically overlook mine. And that they want me to enter the same prestigious Junior College as my sister.

I still remember, till this day, some words a guest in my house said. She was addressing it to me, my sister, and my cousins. “Oh, Sabrina is the smart one right? Michelle is fantastic at sports! Madeline will grow up to be a beautiful actress and singer. And Jean…Jean is really kind.” I know these were meant as compliments, but even at a young age, it really made me feel so upset and crestfallen. Everyone in my family seems to have a talent, and then there’s me – the kind one. The one with the nice heart, as she explained later. It makes me feel so inferior.

4) The fear of my existence.

I often ponder to myself, when it’s late at night and I’m staring at the fluorescent bulb of my ceiling. Why do I exist? I can’t believe I’m actually a living particle in this magnificent universe. Till this day, it terrifies the hell out of me and flabbergasts me. What is the meaning of life? Is it to study and be tired and to hate your life? I fear that I am so insignificant in this universe, that someday a calamity may befall us and I will just be a floating speck of dust in this land of great unknown, so insubstantial.

I freak myself out sometimes too. My mind starts thinking this: “OMG! I actually have a mind of my own! I control my thoughts! I have feelings! I am alive! How does gravity work? What if oxygen is actually poisonous and it takes roughly eighty years before it slowly suffocates us and that’s why our lifespan is so short? Where do I go when I die?” And then I overthink and burn out my brain badly. It’s really trippy (yes this is my new favourite phrase) and scary in a way. And then my dreams fuse with my reality and I have hallucinations and it makes me even more afraid of the way my body works. Makes me awed on how I’m in Singapore, in all places. In this family. With this personality.

This is so hard to explain because of the complexity of it all, but you get the picture.

5) The fear of dropping babies.

This may sound hilarious, but I’ve been having this irrational fear ever since my young cousins were born. I imagine myself losing control of my arm and flinging my cousin over the window OR dropping them just like that. Like splat like an egg.

But digging deeper within, it’s probably the fear of taking responsibility and taking a life. I’m afraid of claiming lives and being responsible for hurting others and making them suffer.

Then again, these are intrusive thoughts that we have on a regular basis everyday, like “I have this strange urge to drop my phone into the toilet bowl.” And again, it freaks the daylight out of me, sometimes, how my mind works. Sometimes I seem to tell myself, “So lazy to walk down the stairs. Let’s just jump down four stories.”

I know what you’re thinking. JEAN IS CRAZY. You know what? I probably am.

Ah, I feel tired but better already.

-Jean xx