What I Fear the Most

When someone asks me what my biggest fear is, I usually say, “Rational or irrational?”

If they reply with “rational,” I’ll give them a reply along the lines, “Oh, I have a fear of heights, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love flying or roller coasters.” If they reply with “irrational,” I’ll probably say, “the fear of the oblivion, of being forever forgotten by people after I die.”

The truth is, I’d be lying if I said either of those were my biggest fears. No, my biggest fear is the fear of failure. Cliché, right?

“That’s such a basic fear, get over it.”

“You can only learn if you fail.”

“Who cares? Everyone fails sometimes.”

I get why everyone gives this advice if you tell them about your fears, but for me it’s a fear that also deeply impacts me, my every decision, and my fatal flaws. Especially my fatal flaws.

You see, I am too prideful. Having a little bit of pride is good, but having too much pride is bad. I don’t like people critiquing my work, even if their criticism is ultimately meant to help me improve. It’s why all of my short stories and novels I keep stored on my flash drive will never see the light of day. I thought that, as I got older, this pride would go away, that I would stop being too good to ask for anyone else’s help, but it hasn’t. My fear of failure has only deepened as I’ve gotten older which has made it harder for me to let go of my pride.

Call me what you want: a banana, a twinkie, fill-in-the-blank yellow-on-the-outside-white-on-the-inside here. But nevertheless, I still identify with the Asian American community, and people recognize that I am Asian American. Which means I ultimately started playing the role of the studious, model minority Asian American. Although I only learned about the model minority myth when I was in high school, it directly affected me. It’s the reason why I had so many stress-related stomach issues in high school. I always wanted to prove myself to others, to show them that I was smart.

And my constant fear of failure plus my pride fueled that fire. Instead of actively working to dispel those stereotypes, I became the poster Asian American student. I remember applying for a scholarship one time, and one of the questions was, “How have you actively worked to question stereotypes and biases?” I thought it was a pretty good question — if you weren’t an East Asian American with a 4.0 GPA. I couldn’t answer the question in good faith because I knew that all my existence did was prove that I perpetuated the stereotypes. But the other part of me wanted to say that by actively fighting against the model minority myth, I was still upholding my end of the myth by being a good student and activist. Ironic, if I do say so myself.

Anyway, back to my fear of failure. It was like I was constantly in a battle against myself. One on hand, my fear of failure kept me from asking other people to read my writing and growing as a writer, on the other hand, it made me immensely prideful and stand-offish. It was almost like my fear didn’t want me to win. Mix that with acute introverted-ness, and what you get is a recipe for disaster.

My dad always asked me why I cried when he would told me that I should’ve “practiced more” or “studied harder.” In a way, my fear of failure extended to a fear of letting my parents down. I was so afraid that failure would equate with my parents being ashamed of me that I internalized failure to equal shame. Even though my parents never asked to be anything other than me, I was constantly telling myself that I needed to be more, that I needed to be perfect.

Perfection comes at a price. From my friendships to my mental health, it has cost me dearly. But because of my pride and my fear of failure, I have lost more times than I have won, I have given up on dreams, relationships, and opportunities, and I have lost many, many hours of sleep.

As I sit here now, and think back over the whirlwind that has been 2017, I can’t help but wonder if any of this has a purpose. What greater purpose have I been called to on this Earth? What’s the point if we all die and fade into oblivion, anyway?

Jesus.

I know that a lot of people are going to read that and think I’m a religious nut, but hear me out. First of all, go ahead and call me a religious nut. If my religious nut can grow a whole orchard of strong, rooted Christians, then I quite like the nickname.

Secondly, I truly do believe we all have a purpose on this Earth. Whether you believe that or not, we do. David writes in the Psalms that God “knitted [us] together in [our] mother’s womb.” Before we were even born, He was making wonderful plans for us.

So, then, does my faith get rid of all my fears and fatal flaws? Of course not! I am still human, after all. But it does help me to move forward. It helps me to get up every morning and say to myself, “Hey, you are beautiful and you are loved.” It says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” It says, “Brooke, keep holding on.”

And for every moment that I’m alive, for every minute I’m still breathing, I want you all to know that you are loved and you are beautiful. There is nothing in this world — not fear of failure or pride — that can make you any less of a human.

Much love,

Brooke

--

--

--

Author. Musician. UX Designer. Feminist. || Just a doing what I love: writing.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

We Need To Believe That Better Is Possible

Remember to Come Up for Air

The hospitality hack to turn inner house party to inner calm

I Bet You Didn’t Notice This

On Wellness, Well-being, and the Whole

Boobs: The Last Frontier of Body-Shaming

All we Have to do is to Keep on Turning — Crispy Words

A year in reflection - surviving 2020

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Brooke Fisher

Brooke Fisher

Author. Musician. UX Designer. Feminist. || Just a doing what I love: writing.

More from Medium

How My Shoulder Reminded Me About Life and Relationships

All those women

I Don’t Have Time to Put You in My Psyche and Keep You There