I’m Scared!

Today’s topic is insecurities. And for those of you who are reading these posts daily (why?), I want to circle back on an action I had from yesterday. I did check the prompts list to make sure they still make sense, and was happy with it for at least the next few days. So I’m sticking with it.

What am I scared and insecure about? Well for one I’m scared of putting out into the world what I’m scared about! I have my reasons, but I’m not sure if any of them are serious enough to warrant me keeping everything bottled-up. But on the other hand, I’m not sure if there is enough upside for me to put them out into the world either. I’m basically trying to weigh it to see if this gamble makes sense right now, and I don’t know. Who cares.

I am going to try to avoid bringing any other people in my life into this too, as a reminder, since I haven’t formally asked anyone else to get involved here.

Ok, I have a couple ideas, let’s get started.

  1. I am insecure of my cultural identity. I am first-generation Indian-American. I don’t even think that’s an accurate description now, or I can get more specific at least. I am first-generation Punjabi-American. My name, our religion, and our culture at large has always given me a lot of headaches, and I have viewed it historically as a cross to bear. No religious pun intended. I used to think many of these issues were a curse that only I had to deal with, but of course that’s not true. There are thousands of children of Asian immigrants who have lived through very similar circumstances.I don’t want to re-litigate all of the challenges, but I will list them. Difficult to pronounce name, shortened to a monosyllable. Originally wore my hair long for religious reasons (Sikh), later cut to assist with assimilation. My Dad also cut his hair, but then decided to wear a turban again. Extended family from India staying with us for long periods of time while completing schooling, etc. Family involvement with local religious community – going to our temple on the weekend. Going back to visit India every few years to see extended family.I would say that our culture led to problems you can already imagine in a predominantly white-christian area throughout my childhood. I was always very conscious of it, and to be honest deeply resentful of it. Never saw any upside to being that different. And this resentment spilled into anger, at my family primarily, for putting me into this situation. I tried as hard as a could to pretend that I was not different. Over-doing it with my love for the local sports scene, food, etc. Trying to completely distance myself from my ethnic heritage.This pretty much worked from the standpoint of moving through the school system, getting a job, etc. But even into my adult years I would say that I was still resentful, especially at my parents for not giving me a western name, for holding onto their culture and religion visibly, and from my perspective not working hard enough to assimilate or become American.After 9-11, and after a local shooting at our temple by a Nazi, and some reflection with age, I have started to hold less resentment against my family. What did they really do wrong? Is there even a true American culture? But I am not all the way there yet. I still don’t think it makes sense for my Sikhs to wear turbans. And I wish both my parents got more into “American things” so they could make American friends and not have the basis of all of their interactions with white-Americans to be around Indian restaurant recommendations, etc. And I am still embarrassed when we have relatives and or friends over who don’t even speak the language.I think about this topic a lot, and frankly the internet has been hugely helpful in allowing me to process everything since it’s connected me with lots of other similar people and stories. These stories helped me realize that my family didn’t do anything wrong really, and it would be non-sensical to blame them. But I don’t want to give off the impression that I have resolved anything, and I am still not proud of where a lot of what I would consider to be my true beliefs sit.
  2. Money. I am insecure about money. I would say this is a combination of being scared I will run out and become a destitute, and also I will be judged harshly for not having enough. Both of these insecurities I would consider to be irrational, and I feel like their prevalence in my mind is getting smaller and smaller. I am fairly confident that I already have enough, and if I start working again I absolutely will have enough. Equating success or happiness to money is also not something I really believe in anymore either.
  3. Physical Appearance. I am vain. I am always looking at myself in the mirror, and thinking about how other people see me. I started to get myself back into shape years ago, and I did it all under the guise of wanting to be healthy, but it was really about wanting to lose some weight and look better. Now I’m afraid of losing what I have, so I continue to train compulsively. It’s not because I enjoy it, or even because it makes me feel better. I do it to maintain my physique. Same with diet. Sad!
  4. I want other people to like me. I wish I could make myself immune to the opinions of others. Or at least reduce the amount of stock I put into what others say. But I am really sensitive to it, and deep down I want people to like me. And not even just a few people, everyone! Family, colleagues, grocery clerk, everyone. This relates directly to all of my other insecurities.
  5. I am afraid that I am becoming professionally obsolete. I haven’t help a job with a company in a few years and sometimes am overrun with fear and grief that I can’t compete in the market anymore. This happens especially when I see a younger person who is clearly talented, and on the assent.
  6. I am afraid that I might be getting too old to ever have a serious lasting relationship. I’m approaching 40, and assuming I want to see someone roughly my age, what does that mean? They are on their second or third try, or they have had something which prevented them from succeeding in relationships in the past. This gives me pause, but obviously the other person would be thinking the exact same thing about me! And they would be right to have some questions. I don’t think I’m in a great situation right now from a relationship standpoint, and it’s only getting worse! The contra to this negative take is that I am a much better person now versus 10 years ago, more with it across all the health quadrants, so in theory I should attract better people?
  7. I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. I am not doing anything right now, sometimes that bothers me, and sometimes it doesn’t. But the reality is I am not sure what I should do with the rest of my prime years, I think I’ve got a solid 20 good years ahead of me. I don’t want to look back with regret.
  8. I am not sure what type of role I will have to play for my family as they age. The generation above me is all well into their golden years. Thankfully everyone is still healthy, and thriving even, but what happens when they aren’t. I am afraid that I will begrudgingly shoulder the load out of a sense of duty, and it will even further put me behind in certain areas of my personal and professional lives.
  9. I am afraid to put myself out there or to try. This is fear of rejection put another way. I have a lot of examples talking myself out of trying something, or rationalizing not trying something, just to avoid the chance of failure. Obviously this limits what you’re going to see, do, experience, etc. I need to get over it. Actually this whole writing stunt is me trying to force myself out of it, so I will credit myself for at least trying on this one. I don’t want to limit my life experiences because of fear.
  10. I am scared that I am trapped in my current situation. This is closely linked to #s 7&8. Duty to be around for my parents combined with my own general fear of going out and trying something on my own.

I am sure there are more, but those are the big ones that come to mind right away. 51 Minutes. 1561 Words

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