Like A Girl

Pushing the conversation on gender equality.

Code Like A Girl

My Letter to Fear

Dear Fear,

Thank you for being around those times I really needed you — like when I was 13 and needed to run from the creepy taxi driver who had his hand on my knee and when I was 36 and needed to understand that its not normal for my boyfriend to leave a loaded gun on the dresser and say its there to help me out because I’ve been depressed. I really appreciate all the times you’ve been there when it was really important. I’m still here because of you.

Your desire and efforts to keep me alive are totally awesome. However, we need to talk. Our relationship is far from healthy.

You keep showing up without a purpose or an invitation. Whenever I get ready to go do cool things you arrive and suck all the air out of the room. I know you think that I need you but I’ve really grown as a person. I’m pretty good at taking care of myself.

You keep repeating the message that there is something wrong with me. We know that’s not true. Stop telling me to believe it.

The “Gretchen was born broken” hypothesis has been rejected by a solid data set that proves otherwise.

Oh. And the constant telling me to worry because people might judge me? People are going to judge me no matter what I do. There’s no point in paying so much attention to it. I’m busy! Stopping blabbing about my appearance, my personality, my ideas and my worth. Its such a worthless conversation. You are the least attractive part of me.

That whole “telling me love is dangerous” thing you do has got to go. You are such a liar! We are getting ready to celebrate my 10th self-iversary. It’s a bit much. I know you want to be exclusive but I refuse to say I’m in a relationship with fear on Facebook even if “its complicated”.

You’ve interrupted my relationships with more than a few good men. Get out of my love life please. I know I didn’t listen to you and the bad men did bad things but I got them out and I know why now. I can take care of myself. I’ve learned and evolved and you need to get current on that. The lessons have been integrated.

Stay away from my business! All your chatter that I need to worry about my value. You are terrible at customer service! No one wants a career coach that needs validation to calm you down. All my clients need is for me to be me and for you to go away. Whenever you come to the office you totally ruin the vibe.

You are going to keep away from my parenting. My daughter doesn’t need your blah blah blah worry noise. She’s got her own personal fear to write a letter to. She has films to make and stories to tell. My job is to support my daughter — not yap at her with your worries.

Choose your words carefully. You make so much noise I can’t tell the difference between imaginary and real threats. Tell me the important things — like “do your taxes” and “look before you cross the street”. Leave the judgement and ego related things to me to handle.

So here is how its going to be. I hope you remain in my life because I’d like you to be there when I am in real danger — like if a bear, or a t-rex or a REAL super-villain shows up please help me out.

The rest of the time I’m going to continue to grow and do new things even though it really upsets you. Instead of telling me to freak out you’re going to help me understand what I need to learn. You’re going to be a teacher not a productivity block.

Fear behave or be-damned. I am going to spend more time with my new best friend Truth.

Yours Sincerely,

Gretchen

Written with many thanks to a powerful friend, a powerful coach for powerful women, who told me to write this powerful letter. I didn’t do it until months after you told me about it but the message stuck and when I needed it — it was there. Everything we do has amazing impact even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment. You were the genesis for me writing this piece and I am grateful.. 😀 Also written with gratitude to a powerful client, friend and Truth teacher who helped me understand that fear says blah blah blah a lot.