If you follow me on Facebook you have heard me reference my “bestie.” She happens to be another blogger, a USMC spouse (once a wife always a wife, if once a Marine, always a Marine, right?), and my soul mate. My husband understands this and finds us utterly ridiculous. She is a talented woman and very honest and insightful. She wrote a post about fear. And she shared her greatest fear with so much bravery that I was inspired.
I have plenty of phobias in this world. I have a paralyzing fear of clowns. It is known as coulrophobia. I once froze in a haunted house and began to cry and the person who ushers people through had to ask the clown to leave the area so I could continue. And while I actually enjoy going to haunted houses (I’m saying the words knowing that is a lie. And it’s a lie I tell myself every year. I love them, but I don’t) then I get there and can barely wait in the line to get in.
But for all of the things I have phobias of, spiders, my dogs breaking legs while playing, human blood, and even the fear of my husband dying (which haunts many of my dreams), the one fear I have, that I have only told one person in my life is something that seems so simple and so silly.
I have a fear of not being believed.
I don’t know where this stems from. Maybe it is from some of my troubled life, the life I led before my husband, before blogging. Maybe it stems from the tales I used to tell as a child (remember my “I Might Be a Sociopath” post?). Who knows where this fear comes from, but it paralyzes me.
I have nightmares often. I also have what I call stress dreams, which are like nightmares, but more stressful than scary. But at least once a week for my entire adult life, actually, for as long as I can remember, I dream that no one believes me.
This might be no one believing the alien invasion I have witnessed; it might be my husband not believing I’m angry at him for dream-cheating. It takes many forms in many different scenarios. But they all amount to the same fear. No. One. Believes. Me.
As the dreams progress, sometimes I continue to try to explain or yell to be heard and taken seriously. Then my voice no longer works, or I have something in my mouth and no matter how much I take out, wads of gum or crackers or food, I can spit and swallow and pull out handfuls. But nothing makes a difference. I can’t be heard.
No one believes me and I can’t be heard. I am ignored. I am discredited. I am patted on the head and sent on my way.
The panic rises; I begin to freeze and fight to be heard. I continue, against my body, to struggle to say what I need to. But no matter what, it does no good.
I often awake panicked, but more often pained. I physically hurt from the struggle and fight. My neck is tense, my shoulders are sore, and my heart aches in a way that it only does when I have this dream.
I live my life as a writer and my deepest fear is not being believed when it’s truly important. That no one will listen when it really matters. The fear haunts my sleep and my waking life. And I have no idea why.