My name is Stephanie, and I am afraid of everything.
I’m afraid of wearing hats. I’m afraid of singing karaoke. I’m afraid of scarves. I’m afraid of coloring my hair bright red because it will fade. I’m afraid of wearing eyeliner. I’m afraid of making the tiniest of waves at work. I’m afraid of going skiing by myself. I’m afraid of inviting people to hang out with me. I’m afraid of going to work or skiing without full makeup, including three shades of blended eye shadow. I’m afraid of people seeing me taking pictures, especially of myself. I’m afraid of asking strangers to take a picture of me. I’m afraid of interior decorating. I’m afraid of wearing skinny jeans without boots or a super loose top. I’m afraid of playing video games. I’m afraid of striking up a conversation with strangers. I’m afraid of wearing lipstick. I’m afraid of eating alone in public without a book.
My name is Stephanie, and I’m tired of being afraid.
Seriously, it’s fucking stupid. I’m 25, almost 26 years old. I’ve done so many things, accomplishments that I never imagined myself reaching. I light rock shows, I run mile after mile, I ski ridiculous hills, I write a marginally-successful blog. And yet, I’m terrified of going to lunch alone or wearing a fucking scarf. I think it really comes down to being terrified of what others will think of me or how they will respond to me. I’m not afraid of diving down a black diamond run or running 13.1 miles. Okay, lies, both are terrifying. But I can overcome something like that because I know that my success or failure is objective; either I make it to my goal without dying or I don’t. And that success or failure is entirely within my control. No one else can help me or hinder me; it’s all up to me to either kick ass or end up on mine. But when my success or failure depends not only on the judgement and reactions of other, but on a subjective opinion…that’s when I find myself frozen in my tracks and scuttling to my safety zone.
My name is Stephanie, and my motto for this year is, “New Me, Fuck You.”
I don’t me you, personally. (I like you.) I mean the rhetorical “You.” The You who judges me and makes me feel afraid. The You who looks at me weird and makes me feel self-conscious. The You who is the voice in my head telling me that I look like a jackass. All of You. Fuck You. Especially the me You. You’re the worst.
In case it isn’t obvious and annoy yet, you guys can probably tell that I’ve been spending a lot of thought on introspection lately. I think it’s a healthy way to approach a new year and soon, a new age of my life. Kyle says it’s what happens when I have too much time on my hands. Regardless, there’s no denying that I’ve spend a lot of time lately thinking about the person I want to be, the person I wish I were. (I promise guys, I’ll be back to writing about transvestites and my underpants soon enough.) And all that thought has brought me to come up with a plan of action.
I call it Project Ridiculous.
I call it that because once a week I want to do something that scares me or makes me feel ridiculous. Not because these are necessarily tasks that I feel I can’t live my life without accomplishing; I can probably live my life without ever singing karaoke and still consider myself a well-rounded, successful adult with a full life. But I need to do these things because they scare me. I need to be able to feel that fear and do it anyway. Because the reality is, I’m tired of being afraid, I’m tired of second-guessing myself, and I’m tired of worrying that I look ridiculous. Just fucking tired.
But I also call it Project Ridiculous because it’s fucking ridiculous for me to be 25 years old and live in so much fear of embarrassment, ridicule, and failure. I’m afraid to act because I can’t stand the thought of not receiving approval from those around me when the reality is I shouldn’t give a shit about the approval from those around me. The strangers I see on the street, the people sitting across from me at the bar, the checker at the grocery store…they don’t care about me or have any of my interests in mind. They don’t give a shit about my success or failure. So why should I allow what I perceive as their judgement to keep me held in a stasis of fear? The answer is I shouldn’t. Hence, Project Ridiculous.
Sometimes I’ll tell you guys about it, and whether my foray into the uncomfortable was successful or not. Sometimes I won’t. I already know what this week’s challenge is going to be, and it’s a dozy: I’m not only going to go skiing without Kyle, but I’m going to meet up with a woman who I’ve never met before and only know through the internet. I know. It’s terrifying. Spending the day skiing, which traditionally is a pretty social activity, without my emotional safety net AND meeting a new person for the first time without that safety net in place. The possibilities for awkwardness are endless.
My name is Stephanie, and I’m ready to be ridiculous.