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Dealing with the Fear of Change

A few days ago, I took an online quiz with my friends to see which Pokemon best matched my personality (this is important, trust me). One of the questions caught me off guard, and I’ve been thinking about it for the past few days. The quiz asked what my biggest weakness was, presented me with several options (e.g. “loneliness,” “darkness,” “other’s ignorance”); I chose “change.”

Now here I am, awake at 5am, thinking about this. Among many other reasons (today’s reason is that my neighbors were playing basketball in the parking lot at 4:30am), I’ve been unable to sleep restfully for the past week or so.

Today is June 1st. I’ve been dreading this day for months. I don’t really care that I have to take finals, and the only reason I’m somewhat happy about being this close to summer is that I’m going back to Guam for the first time in years. I’m not ready for summer yet because my life is in such a good place right now (aside from the problematic environment I live in, and the fact that my community and I are still coping with the trauma of what happened in Isla Vista). I have a network of close friends who make me feel at home when I’m away from my family, and I have a boyfriend I get to spend time with every day. Unfortunately for me, he and a bunch of my close friends are graduating this year. So more than anything, I’m scared of change at this point, because I don’t want to lose the things that make me so happy.

I’m trying to understand exactly why I’m feeling so sad and scared. Change scares me, but it shouldn’t leave me lying awake in bed or using TV as a distraction for my real life fears, both of which I’ve been doing a lot lately. June makes me feel like I’m saying goodbye. It feels like this part of my life is over, and sometimes I fear that this is the peak of my life, and I’m never going to get it back. For months now, I’ve been having flashbacks to when I was 17, right before I moved from Guam to California, leaving behind a happy life to go into the unknown. The period from right before I moved to the end of my first long distance relationship was one of the most painful, traumatic experiences of my life. Reliving this experience makes me feel like the weak, scared teenager I was four years ago.

But after I moved, I grew so much. It was difficult and different and terrifying at first, but I made it through somehow. In fact, it led me to the life I have now which I’m so scared to lose. So if there’s any lesson I can take from that painful experience, and I know how much cliche quotes suck, but Marilyn Monroe’s words ring especially true for me today:  good things fall apart, so that better things can fall together. I loved my life on Guam, but if I hadn’t left it behind, I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend, or all my incredible friends who shaped my college experience; I might not have found my passions for blogging or social justice activism; I might not have come to terms with my queer identity; and I don’t even know if I’d consider myself a feminist today.

My life is beautiful now because I accepted and adapted to change. And although my heart breaks while I think about how I won’t see my friends who are graduating anymore, and I won’t get to be with my boyfriend every day like I do now, there will still be good times ahead if I stay positive and embrace change. If there’s anything I’ve learned from my life experiences, it’s that the fear of the unknown can be crippling, but the change I feared can bring about a better life I couldn’t imagine myself living without.

Endnote: I found some advice from my dad’s blog that’s really helpful with dealing with change and uncertainty too: Finding Peace with Uncertainty.