a broken heart, rejection mails and a growing faith.
Self-reflection has become a part of my adult life. I…
Fear and Self-doubt have become my best friends. I dine with them, and we all share my bed. It started as sleepovers until they became live-in best friends.
She has been with me as far back as I can remember. She used to live in the neighborhood. She paid daily visits to my mother. They would sit and talk for long hours, especially on weekends. Fear held her hand whenever my mother talked about starting a provision store or owning a spot in the fish market. Hard enough to drag her down.
Fear would ask my mother about society. What would the wives of your husband’s brothers say? That you’ve left your teaching career to run a business? Your husband no longer provides for the family, so now you need a side hustle? And when my mother suggested hiring helps, Fear would shake her head, clap her hands loudly and say, “what if your sales boy dupes you?”
I watched Fear move in with us. She became best friends with my brothers and me. She would nurse us while our parents traveled. She would seat me down to have conversations. I let her in on everything about my life. We became so close she went everywhere with me.
During school debates, she would hold my hands so tight that I could feel the numbness on my tongue. Or when the teachers ask for volunteers for the school play. She would whisper sweet words of discouragement to my ears. She’d remind me that I’d never act as good as the girls in my class, so what was the point? I listened to her so much, we did life together, and now she has become one of my roommates. Holding me indoors while the rest of the world was outside doing the things I knew I could do.
My friend and other roommate is quite the fashionista. He shows up in different designer outfits. His favorite cloak is the imposter syndrome designer wear. He’s the perfect escort to job interviews and events on days I struggle my way out of Fear’s grip. We ride to the venue, and he whispers his discouragement while rubbing my head. Who do these people think you are to offer you this job? You are not deserving of this role. I’m not trying to be a spoilsport, but are you sure you can do this? It’s you; I’ve known you for a while; you’re not as great as these people make you sound.
I can’t remember how we met, Self-doubt and I. He’s one of those friends you never remember how you met, but it feels like you’ve known them your whole life. He’s the friend that’s always looking over my shoulder. We have the most laughable memories. One time I had a meeting with a great company. I was asked an easy question, and tongue-tied, I looked at my best friends for a clue. I can’t remember what Fear did that minute, but Self-doubt pushed my hands so hard that I turned off my laptop and ran to the bed. I heard my phone buzz, but my best friend held me on the bed and said it wasn’t that much of a big deal. So we cuddled up and stayed in bed for two weeks. In those weeks, Self-doubt had his girlfriend, Depression, visit us. I have to admit that she was good company while she was around.
I’ve recently realized the damage of staying friends with my “best friends.” I am slowly drifting from them. It is challenging to navigate life without your best friends, but it’s something I need to do for myself.
What happens when you notice you’re outgrowing your friends?
I’ve made them move out, but we’ve agreed to stay a few blocks away from each other. Sometimes they come to visit. Other times, Self-doubt pops his head into my window to say “hello.”
I’m learning that I can’t forcefully cut these friends of mine off, so I’m taking tiny steps.
While writing this piece, they came knocking at the door. I’ve changed my keys and window bolts. I know now that they can only come inside when I let them.
I hate to get rid of my friends this way, but I’ve recently been talking to this new girl, her name is Self-confidence, and I think she’s so cool.