the one with all the phobias

To escape fear, you have to go through it, not around it.
-Richie Norton

Back in February of 2015, I was feeling overrun with fear and insecurity. For some reason, I decided I would feel better if I gave my fear a real name. I came up with anuptaphobia, aphenphosmphobia, and philophobia.

Anuptaphobia: the fear of staying or being single.

Aphenphosmphobia: the fear of being touched.

Philophobia: the fear of affection.

All of these irrational fears stemmed from the one that started it all: the fear of being single forever. I was am the biggest hopeless romantic and this only made my sadness of feeling alone deepen. I pored over romantic movies and books and hung on every word of the stories my friends would tell me about the guys they were dating. I thought about this notion all the time – night and day – and would come up empty on why I was still single. To be honest, I thought I was quite the catch and to stay grounded, I would tell myself that all those possible suitors who looked right past me were the ones missing out, but I still felt empty.

I wish I could tell you that as soon as a boy finally noticed me all was well. Little had I known that it was much worse to actually have someone there to backup your insecurities — as soon as it happened I wished that it hadn’t. I would have much rathered be invisible than being told I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, reckless enough, smart enough, worldly enough… the list goes on.

I wish I could tell you that if I had only been patient and waited for the right guy to come along that all would have been well. I truly do not believe that would have been the case. Had I made the choice to say no to the few offers I received in the next two years, I may not have known the good that was my husband or I might have taken his good for granted. I believe that had I not gone through that heartache and confusion, I might not have chosen my husband at all. I wouldn’t say I am grateful for all of the hurtful memories that accompanied dating, but I do think they were worth going through, because I wouldn’t trade where I ended up for anything!

Remember that guy I used to talk about? Then one who not only made me incredibly happy, but also accepted every part of me? Well, we got married! It blows my mind to look back and see how broken I was about being single when this guy was just around the corner. I used to be afraid of being single forever, of being touched, of affection… well I’m living proof that it is possible to put that behind you when the time is right. All of those fears have been stripped away from me and I feel so much lighter now!

| Lauren Grey

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