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You probably wouldn’t know it just looking at her. By all appearances, she seems happy, successful, and loved. For the most part, she is. But it’s that “happy” part that is toughest for her to pull off. There are moments when she is genuinely happy, but they never last. Let’s face it. You really can’t be happy all the time. That just isn’t normal. We should, however, be able to enjoy it for more than a few minutes, a few days, even a few weeks. And that is where she struggles. Not because she doesn’t want to be happy. Not because she doesn’t think she deserves to be happy. Because she is deathly afraid of it. There have been too many times in the past when she was happy and things were going well and then…


The bottom would just fall out from under her. Something happened that ruined the happiness. The first couple of times, she just attributed it to bad luck, coincidence, a world she had no control over. But when it seemed to happen over and over and over, like a horrible case of déjà vu, it started to eat away at her psyche. Work, school, relationships. None of them were immune from the reach of this unknown entity, seemingly hell bent on tormenting her. This feeling of dread dogged her waking hours and invaded her dreams. She tried to push it aside but it just wouldn’t budge.

Yes, if you passed her on the street, you wouldn’t see that darkness lurking behind her eyes. The sadness. She’s become good at disguising it over the years. Nobody wants to hear about how paranoid you are when your life starts going well. They’ll just tell you to ignore it, that it’s just the fear talking. No shit. She knows that fear is behind all of it. In those stronger moments when she can step back and look at her life objectively, she knows the fear is causing all the doubt, all the paranoia. She knows that fear pushed her into two relationships she never should have been in, and those experiences just fed the fear and paranoia more.

Now, her life seems to be taking a positive turn again. She’s finally getting recognition for how hard she works. Her personal life is moving forward and she has hope for the future. She’s been through hell and seems to have come out more or less unscathed. And that is why the fear is stronger than ever. That is why it is so hard to tune out those voices that keep telling her to look over her shoulder. She doesn’t know if it will ever be possible to not hear that voice. She actively tries to ignore it, but some days, it’s just too damn hard. There’s so much at risk now.

She doesn’t want to live a life without risk, especially when the rewards could be so wonderful. But she’s not sure if she can drown out the fear and doubts. She’s going to walk into the unknown and pray there isn’t an undertow waiting to pull her down.

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