People are so scared.
So afraid to fall. Even at the bottom, where it’s pretty much impossible to, people still fear a bottomless hole to open up under them.
We grow up with some kind of adult or parent around. No matter how good or bad they are at the raising us- part, we still think they’re pretty much like all the other adults when it comes to confidence and competence to survive [out there]. Nothing can break our parents, and no matter what happens they’ll stay strong and defend themselves and us and it’ll never be a problem or even feel hard for them. I mean they’re adults, right? They know how to handle things.
I don’t know at what point people usually understand that that’s not true. Sadly, lots of people my age still seem to believe that they’ll wake up one day and have the confidence and knowledge that their parents and ‘all the other adults’ have. That, to me, is scary.
As a 3-4 year old, I used to think that an 8-year old can handle their own life. I mean, they reached the sink and could manage in the toilet alone and even bake a pie! Then in pre-school someone asked me what an adult is. And I remember answering straight away that an adult is a person who does their own bank errands. That stuck with me in my head until I, 13 years at that time, went to the bank to ask about my first ever bank card. I was nervous like hell and I regretted going alone like 5 times between the door and the cashier. But I went up to the desk with all the confidence I had and asked the lady behind the glass what I had to do in order to get my own card. And she lifted her eyebrow and looked at me and asked ‘How old are you dear?’. I remember starting to sweat and shake and mumbled a tiny little ’13….’. She looked slightly amused and went ‘Oh little friend, you should take your passports and your parents with you and then we’ll see what we can do. Okay?’. And I probably blushed and mumbled an ‘Okay, thank you’ and rushed out.
I rode home being so mad at myself for not sticking up enough to ask what else I needed and how the process would work, and tell her not to call me ‘little’ and for letting her crush my confidence like that. So it took me half a year to build up the confidence to go back. And ever since, I’ve done all errands like that by myself, and making it very clear that I do not enjoy bringing my parents with me everywhere to sign everything. And people have laughed, looked amused, given comments like ‘I think you’re overreacting’, ‘That’s how the system works, little you’, ‘I think you’ll change your mind in a couple of years’ and ‘Oh, you’re so young, what do you know?’. This is how the system works, until we change it. So what if I change my mind in a couple of years, it’s what I’m feeling right now that matters, I might as well be dead in a couple of years. Carpe Fucking Diem. And what do I know? Well at this point I know more about bank affairs than a lot of people do when they’re aged forty. Why? I ask questions, I read articles and I show interest. I also take chances and stick my head up in discussions.
A while after this bank incident, I started to meet a lot of ‘adults’ in all kinds of branches through the youth council. I worked, what to me felt like, alongside them, but constantly feeling the need to impress and show them that I was good enough. But then at some point, I started to see holes in the facade they all built up. I could see this adult politicians wiping tears in the city hall toilets, I saw them stressing with problems they had no idea how to handle, and I saw them shifting their gazes and nervously biting their nails, in fear to do something wrong. I remember when it hit me in the middle of a meeting, and I giggled out loud. They feared the situation just as much as I did. Me, with a 2 month meeting experience and them, with 30-40 years of careers in politics and business.
Someone said that if you’re nervous when giving a speech, imagine the audience naked. It’s a good saying, especially if you don’t take it literally but symbolically. Sadly, we live in a society where a lot of focus goes to the psychological games between people. It’s a science, an art form, to master your own mind enough to master others’. A lot of people try, most fail. And they’re afraid to fail. If you’re playing this game, you know that it’s about convincing others that you are good [the best], even though you might not even be. You’ve got to have the power and show off confidence and knowing what you’re doing.
So when imagining people naked, we get a way to see these people as smaller/not as powerful/funnier and more ebarrasing than ourselves. Which is nice, it lowers the pressure a notch. Personally, when it comes to confidence, I’ve always played safe with ‘Fake it ’til you make it’. I’ve faked it so bad I’ve even lied to my mom to keep the facade up. And I never got caught, but slowly and with a lot of work and challenging myself, I gained the confidence needed. Even so much that now, I enjoy standing in front of 400 people and telling them EXACTLY what I think.
But back to the fear o taking chances and so on. My biggest [political] stands include the freedom of the individual. I can tell everyone everywhere how important I think it is that a person makes the choices concerning their own lives by themselves, even from a young age. And I can tell anyone not to be afraid and just enjoy life and do what feels right. But ironically, the small choices in my own life, are very often made by others. And the reason to this is simply my fear of burning bridges. So I actually let people tell me what to do, even if it’s not what I want, because I still think they’ll like me better if I let them think they know what’s best. Totally crazy.
It’s that fear, that keep tying us down. Older people go ‘ No, I’m too old to do that, I might break something or something might happen’. And young people go ‘No, I’m too young, that’s for the real adults’. Really? Real adults? The sweaty, nervous, nail-biting people that are too afraid to admit that they don’t have a single clue about what’s going on or how to handle the issues they’re [supposed to] be dealing with. We’re all just babies taking baby-steps into the big big world, which is full of these other babies, all in disguise with working overalls, their own kids or suit and tie. No, we’ll never know it all.
And the same day, I hear a grown-up complaining about being too shy to talk in front of big audiences, and a teen asking me when that confidence will kick in and they’ll be able to feel comfortable enough to be themselves. I asked both of them what they thought was the problem. They looked at me as if I’d been crazy and this was the most obvious thing in the world (probably is). And both replied; ‘I’m afraid they think I’m stupid?’.