We Ghosted Our Fears and You Can Too

Every year we pay big bucks to run through a corn maze in the middle of nowhere or scream our heads off while sprinting through haunted houses — all in the spirit of the fall season. We want to feel that rush of adrenaline, but how often do we actually confront our more familiar fears head on? We know from personal experience that it’s hard to do that, and even the most fearless person you know has a chink somewhere in their emotional armor. In honor of that everlasting, spooky feeling of October, (some of) the Selva Beat staff is getting real about their personal fears and how they handle them. We're here to let you know that it’s okay to explore what frightens you, to understand what makes your heart race.

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Magdalena, Editor-in-Chief

Last fall, my long-time partner and I decided to move into our first home. It was a controversial decision amongst some family and we spent many hours second-guessing the choice. Moving into a house is a big responsibility — even if you’re just renting — and strange, little domestic quarrels find a way into your life, even if suburbia’s “not you.” Before we signed on the dotted line, we agreed to see a couples counselor, to make the transition smoother. I say we, but it wasn’t my idea. To me, couples therapy had this stink on it, a stigma of failure. We’re not on the brink of divorce, I argued. What could we possibly gain? To add insult to injury, I had recently had an awful experience with a therapist that I sought out to process a violent assault. The whole thing left me feeling terrified about becoming vulnerable to a stranger.

The first weeks, I’ll admit, were galling; like resetting a badly broken bone. All of the strengths and weaknesses of our relationship were exposed. Then, something miraculous happened. The honesty, the consistency, and the amazing guardianship of our therapist thrust us into a space we had never held and we started to thrive. Us, a seven-year couple that rarely fought; we were stronger.

It’s scary to expose the imperfections of something that seems to work so well. “Am I jinxing myself?” But the key lesson for me here was that perfection is an illusion, and there is always room for growth. I absolutely recommend you take that leap, too, and if you’re worried about opening up to someone — remember that it’s your right to question. Don’t be afraid to ask about someone’s expertise, their familiarity with a situation like yours and, if you don’t feel safe, find a replacement.

Elizabeth, Web Editor

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The holidays can be a genuine nightmare for introverts, and doubly so for those of us with social anxiety. Each year, as the festive season approaches, I brace myself for the onslaught of pop-ups and parties. It’s not that the holidays don’t bring me joy — they absolutely do — but I live in fear of burnout since my desire to participate in celebrations outstrips my physical and mental endurance for them. Every year I tell myself I will not agree to too many festivities and will only go to the ones that mean the most to me, but every year I overdo it. Thanksgiving dinner made by mom? Hell yes! Friendsgiving? Yes! Holiday karaoke, Santa costumes optional? Yes? Every organization I belong to having a seasonal shindig. Alright. Holiday party at spouse’s work? Ok. Seasonal drinks with acquaintances? I guess. Pop up shop featuring my neighbor who handmakes scented candles? Yes, wait, oh no.

While simply turning down an invitation should not be so anxiety-inducing, it can be frightening to let the people in your life down to save yourself. Not accepting this is exactly how I end up in a spiral of depression and exhaustion after a celebration one too many. It’s important to manage my expectations and energy (this could be my epitaph) so I have a chance of making it to New Year’s Eve. Okay, *deep breath* let's talk strategies to stay better balanced this year.

1. Do not overdo it on alcohol. This is a rookie mistake, but one that's easy to make once the vegan eggnog gets flowing. Don't do it. As a fail-safe, I’m planning to bring a batch of delicious mocktails to parties and sip on those between the real stuff.

2. Exercise. I'm not the type to get up earlier and work out to accommodate a tight schedule, so something else in my routine is going to have to get cut instead. I nominate social media for the chopping block as it is already the biggest waste of my time.

3. Get enough rest. I cannot overstate what a disaster I am without enough sleep.

4. Learn to say no. Goddess of seasonal activities, grant me the serenity to accept the invitations I cannot decline, the courage to turn down the ones I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

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Meggie, Fashion Editor

Several weeks ago I took the plunge and quit my cozy day job. A job that has paid my bills, been a reliable schedule to fall back on, taught me the ins and outs of buying for a company, and been my second home for the three years since I moved to Austin. I’ve been sleepin’ on pulling the plug for quite some time, comfortable in the warmth of good hourly pay and an easy schedule. But once my mental health plummeted due to the stresses and boredom of the gig, I knew it was time to uproot.

I’ve always lived a life seeking full comfort. Whether it be in my home, in my relationships, and especially in my work. I tend to invest long periods of time in any job I take which resorts in pride, but also leads to a fear of moving on — my personal take on FOMO. So, it is no surprise that the fear of uprooting my life tends to consume me once I to realize it might be time for a change.

This time, though, pure relief struck me the moment I resigned. I knew my mental health had to take precedence over my comfort in this particular case. My full-time clothes slingin’ gig left me with a sense of worthlessness. The fright of no money now compares so little to the personal loss of creativity. This fear is pushing me to do what I want — to prove to the rest of the world that I can and will succeed in the field that I desire to be in. Lately, I’ve seen an odd amount of inspirational posts on instagram about taking a leap for the better. I figured maybe it was some sort of viral epiphany I was meant to stumble upon, so I’m taking the hint and diving right into the life of a full-time set designer and wardrobe stylist — this is my plunge. Comfort, this time, came from having no actual plan, but just wants and dreams that only I have the power to make a reality. Having no plan sort of motivated my actions in a way. Facing my fear has brought me a sense of confidence I haven’t felt in years. I have no plan, but I sure as hell have direction. Chew on that, ‘fear.’

Victoria, Creative Assistant

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It was my freshman year at college as a computer science major; I was ecstatic to start something new and challenging, but I was very quickly hit with reality. After my first semester of countless office hours, all-nighters in the computer lab, and too many energy drinks, I finally broke. I finished off possibly the worst semester of my college career by dropping calculus and failing the grade requirement for my intro coding class. Defeated, confused, lost, and with no plan, I was scared out of my mind when I told my parents that this major just wasn’t working. I even contemplated dropping out, thinking the whole college thing wasn’t for me. But deep down I knew that wasn’t the answer, so I took a year to explore until I finally hit on something I really enjoyed. I love making and having a plan, so I did just that with different majors I thought I would like. Eventually, I found the communication school and voila my path seemed a wee bit more clear.

A side effect of not having a secure plan to mark the time made it feel like every moment was slipping away, and it was scary. I mentioned time. Yes, we have a complex relationship. I often feel like I’m not doing enough to capitalize on my time, which can leave me feeling almost paralyzed in my thoughts. I freak out thinking I’m missing out on living. I believe the clinical term is ‘FOMO.’ This fear of missing out makes me irrational because while it scares me to think of all the things I have to do now and in the future, I also don’t want to deal and so I try to hide. I end up wanting to huddle up in a ball and forget about everything, rather than be stuck in my own time bubble. Sometimes I get in my head way too much to enjoy the valuable and precious time I have. This fear often hinders me from social interaction, but I‘m working on it.

I know that mindfulness, being present, and living in the moment will help me feel less anxious. Through my year of deep exploration, I had no choice but to slow down and take it all in, and honestly, it helped me find what I was looking for. In this case, my temporal dilemma around my college career was solved, but it still takes constant practice to be in the moment and to not freak out as much, so that’s what I’m doing.