Photograph: Nurdan Yüzbaşıoğlu
It is with fear and horror that I begin to write this article. As a cowardly woman, I had an awakening in my forties. Looking back, I realized how much the powerful emotion we call “fear” influenced my decisions and guided my life. I realized how the fear of so many things that I don’t understand, that I don’t know, that are alien to me, drives me and even determines the way I relate to people.
I realized that in my past I was intolerant of others and lacked empathy. I wore a lot of blinders and came to this age convinced that I was right about everything. Age 45, by the way. Then I thought: Was it because I was a spoiled, arrogant, bratty, know-it-all, callous, mean, treacherous and terrible person, or had I created such a persona for myself out of an instinct of self-preservation? When I looked inward, gathering the courage to face what I was about to see, I realized that I had chosen the easy way of masking my fears. It turns out that I was such a coward that I didn’t know how to deal with myself. I thought everyone was brave and created another character to hide my own cowardice. I misunderstood what real courage was, and went around saying I was brave too. I told a lie and believed it myself the most.
As for the awakening I mentioned at the beginning of my article, I don’t know why or how it happened, but I started to admit that I was afraid. Yes, I am afraid; I am very afraid that people don’t like me, don’t like me, don’t find me smart/intelligent, don’t find me successful, think that I am unlovable, lonely, lame, loser, empty, mediocre, mean, bad-hearted, arrogant and stupid. I am also making peace with these fears. I don’t know whether it is obvious from the outside that I have such fears or not, but in the past I have tried my best not to let it be noticed. How successful I am is the appreciation of the people around me.
Then it occurred to me that if this is how I feel, I think everyone, no matter who they are, no matter what they are, must be experiencing similar fears. It is not possible that they don’t. When I was walking on the road or sitting in a café, I couldn’t help but look at people and think, “I wonder how scared that woman or that man must be?” When I was chatting with people, I would come to the conclusion that this person is scared to death just like me. It came to the point of rating them out of ten. This is the world of scared people that we live in!
This awakening has completely changed the way you relate to people. It has helped me to build my work friendships, personal friendships, family relationships, and my girlfriend relationships (although not my girlfriend, let’s call them potential girlfriend candidates) more accurately. Because I can see that they are as scared as I am, trying to survive in this unknown world in terror. I can understand them better and empathize with them. They are as lonely and afraid as I am. I can tolerate the reasons for the decisions they make in their lives, their obsessions, their aggressiveness and rudeness. I don’t take things I used to get angry and offended by so seriously anymore. He is right in his own way, he can only cope with this life in this way, and I don’t take it personally. I am healthier. Eventually I think I grew up and finally became a mature person. Or I may have gone completely insane at the height of my mid-life crisis, but I am happy.
We all deal with our fears in different ways. Some of us, like me, create a different persona and hide behind it, some of us obsess about our children, our wives, our husbands, some of us obsess about our work, in other words, we do everything we can to forget these fears. Know that anyone who says “I am not afraid” is lying through his teeth. Relax, everyone is scared. I have decided to embrace, accept and cherish these new fears. I am relieved. Recommendation. Likewise, I am ending this article with the fear and horror of the possibility that readers may think that it is “such an idiotic and empty article”! I’m going to deal with this somehow…