For those of us that grew up with the fear of darkness, we believed that bad things only happened at night. Whenever we were caught in dark places alone, we had scary hallucinations: figures, shapes, horror movie characters, snakes, scorpions, and all sorts trying to attack us. I remember my mother calling me 'Muskule' which means a cat in Hausa because of how much I snuggled up to her once it was dark.Of course, I still have fear of darkness not because of my childhood imaginations but due to personal experiences while growing up that sort of scarred me. Conquering that fear has not been easy, but I try. So that's about it. The belief that bad things only happen at night.

How about something much worse?. I like to believe this type has a mind of its own. It decides when it wants to suffice. When writing an exam, chilling with friends, shortly before you exchange marital vows... Anytime at all

The moment you give in to it, you become its puppet. My, my, my... Little did you know how much of a control freak it is and before you know it you start dancing to its tune. Sooner than later, you find yourself professionally trained in the art of being controlled by the dearly beloved puppeteer. It's love for you is sort of manic: obsessive, very possessive and jealous. I like to see this as a parasitic relationship that sucks you dry and leaves you barely alive. The irony of it all is you don't share the same feelings. In fact, you know this sort of relationship is wrong but you just can't get yourself out of it. It's like being in an abusive relationship you don't just opt out and leave in one day; you have to make the conscious decision to break free one step at a time.

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So what's this silent killer? Why does it sound so dark and evil? Why does it sound like a trap that has no escape route? What has anyone done to attract it? Why does it hate you so much? Why does it even exist? What does it gain in return?... and so many questions that run through my mind.. Well let's just say it all starts in your head.. Now let me give you my story to put things in perspective...

I always wanted to be a medical doctor but I hadn't decided where I wanted to specialize. I just thought they made a lot of money. My mum told me I talked so much of how I wanted to be a medical doctor because I wanted to take care of her. As I grew it got clearer, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I had mapped out how my life was going to be. Boy, was I wrong. This was were things got tight.. At 17, I became so depressed and angry about any and everything. Nothing seemed to work out the way I wanted. I felt like everyone had abandoned me and no one understood me. Because of this I started to think less of myself. I felt like I needed to fit into a particular box to count as relevant.

So at this point, I guess I was battling with two issues: self-esteem and fear of the unknown. I used to cry everyday. I knew I had the potential to do great things but I just couldn't figure it out. Carl used to get so mad at me whenever I said 'I can't' but I thought he was just being too hard on me and needed to just chill. I felt like I needed to know all my capabilities for my life to be great. It's like I wanted God to lay down the plans he had for me from the onset.

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I love to plan a lot. Gosh, I can plan my life in my sleep and if anything goes wrong, panic mode activated. So yes, I battled with fear of anything and everything: My future, my relationships, my academics... you name it. I still battle with it but it's not as bad as before. I'm sure if Carl had his way then, he'd have opened me up and rewired me. I felt like not knowing the path my life was taking made me useless. At that age, all my friends knew what they wanted to be/do. Things seemed to be going so well for them. I mean one moment I wanted to study medicine, the next minute I wanted to be a computer analyst, then a make-up artist then I wanted to study psychology but won't practice...... I just had so many things I wanted to do and become that for the better part of age 17 I had this migraine that never went away..

Short of the long story was I decided I needed to deal with my fears. I didn't know how but I knew it was time. The fact that I didn't know how almost made me not try but thank God for my support system, they refused to give up on me even when I had written myself off. That decision changed my life. Now I understand that life would have been boring if I had known what will happen every step of the way. I enjoy getting lost these days and finding my way back, I enjoy being spontaneous and I realize that I can't plan everything, I take occasional breaks from life to just sleep; a luxury I couldn't afford some years back.. I just don't take life as seriously as I used to. I mean I'm not a mathematical equation that X+Y=Z I'm more happier these days. The decision to leave that abusive and parasitic relationship between me and fear has helped me develop a new love for myself.

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This is me saying thank you to my family that kept praying for me in those dark moments, the friends that never gave up on me and taught me how to take life as it comes 'One step at a time', and to the people I've worked with that always saw and still see a light in me that I'm gradually beginning to see.

Don't get me wrong though, it wasn't and still isn't as easy as I'm making it sound. I struggled with myself to get to where I am today and I still struggle with myself daily to push past this point. I'm still a professional thinker though, as I like to call myself. I can have five different thoughts in my head at the same time. Sometimes it gets so bad I cannot control it. It's like hearing voices in your head that you cannot stop.

A discussion I had with my friend actually inspired this post. I can't remember what we were talking about exactly and the next thing I know is she snaps at me. All I heard was "Yeah right, you think you know the result of everything without trying it out first"?. You talked about maximizing your potential and dying empty in your previous blog post and you're here contradicting yourself'... So yes, I'm not there yet I still struggle.. Anyways enough about me. That's just the story.

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So I don't know who it is out there that may be struggling with such fears and so much insecurities. Just know that you're not the only one facing such difficulties and there are so many people who love you. You didn't create yourself therefore you can't solve your problems. Never compare yourself to someone else; we were created uniquely. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. So your life's course is also unique to you. There's a higher being than yourself: The Almighty God; I like to call him Ose mé (means My father in Urhobo). Only the both of us understand our relationship. My mum marvels at it, she just can't seem to understand sometimes she's so shocked she starts laughing. She calls me 'God's lucky child' and I call myself ' Erhioghene' which means 'Spirit of God'. Yes I carry His spirit within me.

I speak with so much confidence because daily I understand that for every stage in my life, God has something he's trying to teach me and if I can't learn what it is, I cannot pass that level. I'll remain in that level till I have learnt what I need to. I mean what's the worst that can happen?. When all you live and breathe for is to constantly develop yourself, do good in the sight of God and cast your fears and worries to him and trust him to handle it. He'll do so with pleasure.

So today, make a conscious decision to step out of that which is holding you down, that which is making you depressed, that which is pushing you away from yourself. Face your fears, be a better person and ask God to take control of your life. Then watch how he transforms your life to a beautiful testimony. He never forsakes his own.

Here are a few scriptures I found in an article by Heather Lindsey (Founder, Pinky Promise Movement) that has blessed me and I hope it blesses you too...

Philippians 1:6

"And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns."

Galatians 3:3

"How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort"?

Jeremiah 1:7 

…But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. "Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD.  Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.…"

 So yes, These are my fears. This is my story. What are your fears? What's your story?.. How do you handle them?. Kindly share. Would love to hear yours.

 

Published by Alicia James