We're All Scared | Brightside
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We’re All Scared

28 May We’re All Scared

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An Evening with Marianne Williamson, Miami Book Fair International, 7/8/1993

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
-Marianne Williamson

You who read this now, friend, family, or stranger, are a perfect human being just the way you are. All of your imperfections and quirks have come together to form the unique being that is YOU, and the time you spend fighting that truth is time better spent embracing every single adventure upon which you were meant to travel this life, fearlessly.

Allow me to share something with you I would otherwise not think would be appropriate to put on the Internet. The following is simply a plea from my heart to yours, without any other intentions of validation-seeking or anything of the like. I write to you today in the hopes that this will help somebody else.

As I sit on my couch watching the final installment of Harry Potter, I am racked with anxiety. I am not talking about the mundane struggles and anxieties of school or work or personal relationships, I am talking about the life-threatening anxiety. It’s something that I have dealt with (or avoided) my entire life. I don’t know if it’s biological, chemical, spiritual, physical, psychological, or any other “al” that could be put into a descriptive adjective. All I know is that when it hits, it hits like a freight train and I spend the greater portion of the aftermath in a shaking stupor, trying to take deep breaths and make myself calm.

Antidepressants did not work. Drugs and alcohol did not work. Working out like a madwoman did not work. Being a cold-hearted bitch and shutting out all sort of emotion did not work. The only things that bring me solace without any self-harm are the belief that my struggles are for a greater purpose and love that never leaves my side.

I recently moved home to surround myself with this love. My only reason for moving at the time was that I was unhappy (again) and wanted to make myself happy (again). I ignorantly blamed my surroundings as the cause of my mental state. In many of the conversations of the time I found myself saying things like, “There’s just so much bad energy here,” or “I hate big cities.” While those may be true in some respects, what is more true is that I was rife with negative energy and I was aiming it outward in any way that I could. I didn’t want to feel the negative emotions and vibrations that I had been storing inside of me for so long. I hopes the feelings would dissipate without the need to address them once I returned home. This was true to some extent, but now that home is the geographical location in which I find myself the anxiety has returned even harder than before. It’s always been there, lurking in the shadows, but up until this point I had always managed to diverge my direct attention to something else. I would shove these feelings into a compartment labeled “school stress” or “body image stress” or any other stress I could find to put a name to these feelings. However, as I opened these individual boxes one-by-one, I found that they were empty. The true feelings sit inside me like a fire that threatens to burn my heart from the inside out.

None of us knows why were are here. We have a tendency to only believe in what we can experience, and all feelings are rooted in either love or fear. All I know is that the only thing that’s kept me going are the people in my life. They are so beautiful, with such incredible spirits. Whenever things are at the absolute lowest, they find their ways to me in a manner that can only be described as magical. It is love. Love is a power so strong that it keeps me here, daily, fighting to overcome the feelings inside that sometime threaten to take me down.

If you were to take a look at my book collection, you’d find some Harry Potter novels (obviously) and a collection of Eastern religions, self-help, and nutritional books that all tend to circle the same general question, “How can I be okay with myself and my life and, not only that, learn to thrive in it?” I’ve spent some time with therapists, I’ve gone the Western route of medicine for anxiety before and that only sent me into a manic mess. Doctors were quick to label me as “rapid cycling bipolar” or “depressed” or wrought with “Severe anxiety disorder,” but in all honestly I can’t bring myself to believe any of those labels to be an accurate description.

If I had to put a label on my seemingly nervous emotional energy, it would look something like this,

“Caucasian female born of a Middle class family in Northern California and raised in a Catholic School Environment

While her surroundings were nothing but blessings in disguise, she evolved over her teen years to believe that her self-worth revolved around how much she weighed or how popular she could be or how good her grades were or how much she excelled in athletics, you could call her a perfectionist

After several close encounters with death, with nothing but her own self deprecation to blame as the culprit, she made the conscious decision to explore the true meaning of love and began to love herself as best as she knew how

After cleaning up her physical health, the anxiety returned and manifested itself in another eating disorder. After the eating disorder failed her, she turned to yoga, writing, and service of others to help quell the feelings inside, and those are the only things that help”

I write this to anybody who may feel they have been wrongfully medicated or worry about them being anything less than perfect just as they have been created. We were all made to contribute something to this world, to leave it a little bit better than we found it. There is a lot going on in this day-and-age, and subconsciously we are all aware of it. It’s the people who bring it to a conscious level that receive either praise or ridicule for their courageous efforts. Nobody wants to be reminded of the terrible things in the world, because it is love and light that keeps us going despite the bad. Without the dark, we wouldn’t even have a world in the first place. The two energies are at a constant battle just like I am constantly battling this monster inside of me with the loving and healing energy of a happy, positive person. Some days are better than others and balance is sure to be found some way, some day. Until that time comes, all I can do is share my experience, because we are all going through the same crazy thing called


Let’s talk transcendentalism,


Shawna Rodgers

My name is Shawna Marie Rodgers and I am a sprightly English major currently taking a break from higher education to pursue a life of simplicity. My physical body is 22-years of age, but I’ve always felt that it houses the soul of a 90-year old woman. A “Norcal” girl born and bred, I am an ever-curious student of life constantly seeking out information in any realm that interests me. The past two years of my life have been highlighted by a commitment to living a spiritual journey, which has been the biggest single influence in my writing. I revel at the opportunity to share my perspective with the word via Brightside. Since this is a music-based enterprise, I feel it pertinent to mention that my favorite artists are Van Morrison, Billy Joel, Macklemore, Ray La Montagne, and Ben Gibbard. That being said, I can also bust out a mean Eminem rhyme whilst going 40 in a 25. Feel free to email me at smrodgers10@gmail.com if you’d like to talk transcendentalism.