Courage, Fear, and Ella the Smoothie

Dear God, Some Other Higher Being, or Maybe Just Cecelia, Who Always Listens to Me Even When I’m Rambling or Saying Things I Shouldn’t,

I’m writing to you today to tell you that I’m scared. In fact, I’m scared of everything.

I’m scared of failure and being thought to be stupid, foolish, unintelligent, unworthy of affection, respect, and love.

I’m scared of heights—they make my knees tremble and my whole body shake so much that I simply cannot move. Fear has sent me down countless stairs, gripping the bannister as I slowly bump down the steps on my bottom.

I’m scared of never being spectacular at anything, the thought that I’ll be caught in mediocrity and the masses forever, that I’ll never do anything extraordinary, that I will never be a person of great consequence.

I’m scared of other people, that someone will grab me and steal me away. I’m scared of being touched. Once, when someone tried to slide their arm around my waist as a joke, I screamed, jumped, and ended up cowering under a table. Another time tried guiding my out of room faster by lightly pressing their hand against my upper back, I screamed.

I’m scared of food. I don’t know how to eat. I hate the tiny bumps in yogurt, the color and taste of dairy, the bits of fat in meat, the light bruises in vegetables and fruit. I call contact with any of it as “being poisoned,” and object in a manner so melodramatic that I rival those orange spray-tanned loons on Jersey Shore.

I’m scared of the chemical changes in my brain, the way that I suddenly feel afraid of nothing at all. The paralyzing fear of the world as a whole. The electric pulses in my stomach and chest, the tingling in my arms, the heavy weight like a million textbooks that settles on my chest, making it near impossible to breath. The way that I sometimes lose touch with reality.

And I’m scared of a million, little, silly things like seaweed and profanity.

But on the other hand, I am completely fearless.

I have dreams of stopping crimes, putting out fires, leaping in front of people to be a human shield, doing something that would save someone, anyone, from harm. I haven’t had a disaster of the magnitude yet, so I just try to walk on the side closer to the street when I’m with someone or test things first. I like to walk in front to lead the way.

I do the things that scare me. I always speak up when I can. I speak even when I am unsure and when there are twenty, fifty, eighty, one hundred, three hundred people staring at me. I learn to love my racing heart and sweaty palms. I learn to love the staring eyes, the listening ears, and the judging minds. I am determined to transform that fear into fun.

I say no. I say no when things are too much. Though I must admit that I do sometimes fail. I say no, I cannot take this math class. I say no, I will not put your white, powdery pills and brightly colored capsules in my mouth. I say no, I will not believe that that person is entirely bad. I say it with authority and finality.

I ask for help even when I want to believe that I can do it alone. I am the one who announces that I need to go to the hospital, the outpatient clinic, a nutritionist. I swallow my pride and fear of the judgement, and I do it because I know that it is right. I do it when it hurts to admit the failure because I know that I will stand back up again and run headlong at the problem with more fury and strength than ever. I just need some assistance before then.

I share things because in many ways, I feel that privacy is overrated. The world is an easier and more welcoming place when you have less walls and things to keep hidden.

I believe in Lady Macbeth and when she says, “Screw your courage to the sticking point and we’ll not fail.” Only I don’t go kill Duncan. I just set my jaw and slightly narrow my eyes and go. I believe in J.K. Rowling’s Gryffindor and the power of being brave. I remember the strength of Hermione, who I admire the most, and I become courage personified. I fight my own battles against my own evils, and I do it with only the briefest and few second thoughts.

I work to come to terms with what scares me the most.

Death, which once kept me in a fetal position on the bathroom floor hyperventilating and crying, doesn’t frighten me too much anymore.

When I go to sleep at night, handing over my conscious, endlessly whirring brain to something—maybe you, God, that other Higher Power, or just humanity as a whole—that I can’t control, is easier now.

Because if I never wake up again, it’s okay.

Sleeping has never been painful, and I expect death to be just as easy.

Besides, I’ve lived my life fully. I walk with open eyes, brain, and hands. I am endlessly thirsty for the world. I delight in the minutia and the macro. I embrace it all. I adamantly refuse not to love things no matter what others think.

I create things that will last after I am dead. I love words even when they feel like they’re coming at out horribly, horribly wrong, because they are my words, and my brain thought them, and my hands wrote them. I commit to the challenge of writing everyday despite how much I sometimes fear and hate it because it matters to me, and I will never give up caring. I try desperately to give up my fear of judgement and failure to continue creating things in the pursuit of making something someday that is truly beautiful.

But like with anything ever in the history of the universe, I am never entirely fearless or fearful. Light does not exist without dark, empathy does not exist without malice. Without opposition nothing holds any meaning or power. I am a melange of all things and all emotions.

So I wrote you this letter because I wanted to tell someone all of this, and I know that I can always speak to you and that you will listen without judgement. You don’t have to respond, and I don’t want anything in return. Imagine that I’ve written that thing people put at the bottom of party invitations that says, “The gift of your presence is present enough.”

I think about these things and bottle them up inside, until they threaten to explode like the contents of blender when you fill it too full and forget to put the top on. This is me sending the contents a smoothie all over the walls, the floor, the counter, and the kitchen cabinets. It’s quite messy, but also a little bit sweet when you ignore the chaos and just enjoy the taste of the flying liquid.

And I guess I’m a lot like that flying smoothie. I’m a colorful mix of so many things, and I just hope that it’s a nice combination like bananas, strawberries, and mangos, and not uncomfortably acidic and sour like that time I mixed orange juice, lemonade, and raspberries.

Thank you for listening to me.



For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

4 thoughts on “Courage, Fear, and Ella the Smoothie

  1. I can’t imagine any of this for you: ‘I’m scared of failure and being thought to be stupid, foolish, unintelligent, unworthy of affection, respect, and love.’ We all fail at one time or another, but you just keep striving. I, for one, think you are wonderful. I admire you so much! You have accomplished much in your young life.

  2. “I try desperately to give up my fear of judgment and failure to continue creating things in the pursuit of making something someday that is truly beautiful.”

    That “someday” is now. You already do & have the courage to share it with the world. Very proud of you.

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