When we’re young, our greatest fears usually have something to do with the imaginary: that big, scary monster under the bed or the darkness seeming to come alive at night. But as we grow older, that veil of childhood imagination is lifted, and suddenly, our fears are the kind that we encounter on a daily basis. They’re no longer imaginary, but very real things that scare us, rooted in our past traumas and greatest insecurities.
With more knowledge and understanding of how the world works also comes more fear. We live in a time where fear rules certain parts of our lives—whether it’s fear of public speaking or fear that public spaces are no longer safe. These fears are valid, but they can also be crippling.
This month our editors are devoted to exploring and facing our fears head-on. Because, frankly, we’re sick and tired of letting fear rule certain parts of our lives.
A major part of that is first acknowledging that they exist, saying them aloud to ourselves, and sharing them with each other. Once we started writing these down, some editors found they already seemed to have less power.
Some of our fears are deeply personal, while others are universal. We encourage you to examine your own fears as well. Maybe some of them aren’t so scary.
Caitlin White, News Editor
“I’m over being afraid of speaking up about my mental health issues, for fear that it makes me look weak or I’ll be misunderstood. Every single day, I suffer in some way from PTSD, which I was diagnosed with after trauma. A lot of those times I don’t advocate for what I need because of these fears. Every time I have spoken up about it, and nearly every time I’ve asked for help, I’ve been met with generosity of spirit and kindness—which, step by step, helps me stop being so afraid. (So even writing this is facing my fears!)
“I’m so sick and tired of feeling afraid, as a woman, of being home alone with men who are strangers. I was recently having repairs done to my home, so male electricians, handymen, and other contractors were in and out of my house as I was alone, and I was keenly aware that I was vulnerable. I think it’s a mindset many women cope with—and not unreasonably so—and it’s exhausting to always be on alert.”
Danielle Fox, Social Media Manager
“I’m tired of being afraid of how people will react upon learning my sexuality. It took me a long time to come out, and dealing with people prodding me for explanations is painful. I should be able to live as myself without worrying someone is going to interrogate me for information they aren’t owed.”
“I’m tired of being afraid of what I’ll see when I open my phone; that when I open up Twitter I’ll see news of mass shootings, violence against trans women and also the LGBTQIA+ at large, attacks on reproductive rights, or any of the other horrors that feel far too commonplace these days.”
“I’m tired of having ridiculous workplace fears because of imposter syndrome. I’m holding myself back when I constantly operate from a place of panic that today is the day I get ‘found out’ and fired—and I doubt many of my white cis male counterparts are having these same thoughts.
Mackenzie Dunn, SEO Writer
“I’m sick and tired of fearing confrontation and going out of my way to avoid it because I’m afraid if I do, people won’t like me. It’s empowering to speak up and stand up for yourself.”
“I’m sick and tired of fearing financial instability and saying “no” to fun plans because of it. I have to remind myself that it’s okay to splurge and enjoy every now and then. Not every hit to the ‘rainy day fund’ isn’t necessarily going to set me back for my future plans, despite what my fear tells me.”
Claire Harmeyer, Assistant Editor
“I’m sick and tired of being afraid to showcase my professional work on my personal social media accounts. I’m scared I’ll come off as braggadocious or attention-seeking when I should really just be proud of myself.”
“I’m tired of being afraid of hearing people use the word ‘bipolar’ to casually describe someone’s behavior. Just because someone is moody doesn’t mean they’re bipolar. Tossing around the term is offensive to those who actually do have bipolar disorder and to those with a loved one who does.”
Pia Velasco, Senior Fashion & Beauty Editor
“I’m terrified of mass shootings, and I’m so sick of our government not doing anything to protect people. In my opinion, people are entitled to live infinitely more than they are to own a gun.”
“I’m tired of fearing people saying they feel ‘depressed’ because it takes away the severity of actual depression. I’m even more tired of people who don’t think depression is real, and I’m sick of having to explain science—and myself—to them.”
“I’m tired of being scared to walk home alone at night for fear of my own safety.”
Hayley Mason, Editorial Director
“I’m sick and tired of fearing people asking me when I’m going to start a family, if I’ll leave New York City when I do, and how I’ll manage my career when the time comes. I don’t know, and you don’t need to.”
“I’m tired (and frankly a little afraid) of Instagram ads that know me way too well.”
“I’m tired of fearing earnestness as being a trait that is no longer ‘cool.’ Can’t we make it cool to care again? Or better yet: care anyway.”
Brittni Brown, Senior Video Producer
“I’m sick and tired of being afraid to make doctor appointments and checkups. I’ll put important health issues or appointments on the back burner because I think I can’t take time out of my schedule, or I don’t want to go to the trouble of dealing with health insurance or whether or not I can afford my medication or treatment. Health care isn’t always easy or accessible, but I keep reminding myself that I need to make this a priority in my life, despite what is going on around me.”
“I’m tired of holding myself back. Gushing about my creativity and projects doesn’t come easily, but putting myself out there is part of the process, otherwise people won’t know what you are working or what you want to do next. I want to take the next step forward in taking pride in my projects, hyping myself up and letting myself shine. I’ve come to realize, I have a lot to offer people if I just speak up.”
Dan Magro, Senior Managing Video Producer
“I’m so sick and tired of being afraid to say no. I am constantly overextending myself either out of FOMO, or because I’m putting someone’s needs before mine. I want to learn how to not feel selfish when it’s simply self-care.”