an unsettling settlement

March 4, 2021

I have a recurring demon that haunts me when I least expect it. She comes during the day as I sit to do my homework; She slithers into my mouth as I jab my toothbrush to the crevasses of my molars; She peers up at me from the bottom of my tea cup; settled at the bottom, the tea leaves are arranged in a message that reads: this could be you.

The fear of settling has taken over my typical day-to-day parasite of anxiety. I’m sure that we all can relate to this on some level given that we are still in a global pandemic with what seems to have never ending restrictions.

Let’s play a game… state your biggest fears and ask yourself why. Ready? I’ll go first.

Fear: death

Why? – not having a fulfilling life filled with accomplishments, achievements, and reaching my goals. Getting to the end of the road and not being satisfied. Having regret that I didn’t reach my goals.

Go deeper.

Fear of settling and adapting my goals as time goes on because I couldn’t reach them in the time frame I had.

Fear: aging

Why? – My skin, my face, my body. Being ugly.

Go deeper.

Why? – death.

Which circles back to… not having a fulfilling life filled with accomplishments, achievements, and reaching my goals. Getting too old to do what I love: modeling. Not reaching this goal that I have right now of being a full-time social media model/influencer. Settling for what I go to school for.. Teaching.

Nope, go deeper….

Fear of settling.

Fear: Maturing.. Adulthood. Pregnancy. Marriage. Kids. Jobs. Putting my baby blanket away.

Why? It means I’m not a kid anymore. More responsibilities. Less opportunity to reach my goals.

Go deeper. 

Aging… ok that circles back to..

Death..

Which circles back to..

Settling on a life that didn’t fulfill my dreams and aspirations.

Turning 25 last month struck me like a brick. Ten years ago, I thought I’d be married with a child by now, just like my mother. But now… I feel like I’m going to need another ten years before I even consider. Okay, maybe seven, which is still terrifying. I fear settling for a job that I have to work day in and day out until I retire. Settling for a routine. A partner. A house. A lifestyle… I want to travel. I want to create. I want to love, and love hard. I want to dance and sing and be a gypsy and live in many places… well, at least visit. This fear of settling continues to find me throughout the day and haunt me in the car, in the shower, or even mid-conversation with a friend.

It always seems like there is a new level added to my anxiety every month. “Anxiety” feels like such an overused word these days. I was diagnosed with chronic anxiety and insomnia years ago and I was on antidepressants for awhile. I got off of them when they started doing strange things to my body like constantly being dizzy, feeling the floor moving, and seeing the walls move. I was having what appeared to be hallucinations and became very bipolar; It just wasn’t a good fit for me. Since then, I still struggle with anxiety and insomnia. The anxiety is daily and takes new forms all of the time, but the insomnia comes in waves.

It feels like every month I say “I have a new level of anxiety” because there is always a new level to add.. Especially after this past year. Turning 25 last month was a trigger for anxiety because not only am I not what I thought I’d be at 25, but I’m also just not happy with where I am at 25. That does not at all mean that I wish I was married and had kids. I just wish that I was in a much more successful job position than I am.. Currently living off student loans, which simultaneously puts me into immense debt, while also pursuing a degree for a job I no longer want but I’m already too sunk into the program to quit.

I’m getting my teaching degree and in this progress have realized, I don’t fucking want to be a teacher. Maybe in like, ten years?? When I am retiring modeling.. But right when I graduate at 25, FUCK no. But will I need to pay off this debt I’ve sunk myself into? Probably. 

I don’t regret getting my bachelors in English, but so far, grad school is a bust. I 10/10 do not recommend. If anything I feel like it has set me back. I am further into debt and still barely making it with a part time job babysitting. I’m 25 and I work as a babysitter, well, a nanny, but still. I’m unhappy with that, too. I haven’t ever left the U.S. when all I want to do is travel. Well, I went to Canada once at night to see a show, but I came back the same night so I didn’t even see anything except the venue in Montreal, so it doesn’t count.

My point is that I’m 25 and I’m still just barely scraping by with student loan debt and babysitting jobs while trying to make something of myself online via instagram modeling which is the exact same thing I was doing at age 16, except on Tumblr (I was cat-core.tumblr.com, so scene). Maybe I’m being too hard on myself, but this is why the dread of settling persists in my mind. For years I’ve dreamed of seeing England, where my ancestors are from. Now between the pandemic and my financial debt, I fear that it won’t ever happen.

I am so impatient and eager to just feel.. Content? Happy? I’ve flipped this never ending indecisiveness onto my hair. I decided to try going brunette again. I thought maybe going back to my roots would make a difference. It didn’t. I didn’t make it a week before missing my copper red.. Now I’ve been washing it out. The red is coming back through, but it’s not like it was. I’ll be seeing my hair stylist soon and apologizing profusely.. When everything is out of control, I try to take control of SOMEthing. Next up on the list: my fitness goals. I’ve always been strict with that, but now it’s time to get serious and go into game mode for summer.

What I truly want is to be a full-time content creator. I want so badly to be able to just create art as my job and make a living while paying off debt. The fear of settling terrifies me that won’t ever happen and I’m going to have to become a teacher one way or the other right away. I am so sick of feeling like, “Yeah that’s what I want to do, but I need to do xyz first…” I wish that I could just drop everything and solely focus on influencing, but that is just NOT practical. I have homework, I have bills to pay, and not to mention the other priorities of life like doing laundry, dishes, going to the gym, etc…

In my opinion, the reality of the situation is that I have less than two semesters left before I have my degree. I need to just finish it. I am not even in a place yet where I could quit my nannying job and be able to pay my bills. It’s just not practical. I’m not a big risk-taker and never have been. I play it safe, and maybe that’s why I’m so unhappy, but at least I’m going slow and steady instead of potentially risking everything. I am trying to just enjoy the process. Slow down, trust the process, and enjoy it. If I ever do make it big in the influencing space, there’s a lot of negatives to that job as well. So enjoy how slow it is now… and dream that it picks up.. I have massive anxiety that may not happen, but I AM at least trying to enjoy the process. Even though that’s hard because I am so impatient.

Does anyone else read books and just dream that you were elsewhere? Living a different life? Lately my escapism has been re-reading the Twilight saga and the Fifty Shades trilogy. Say what you want, but I fucking love these books. I haven’t read the Twilight series in over ten years, so I actually forgot most of what happens. It’s been a fantastic journey to relive. I’ve read the Fifty Shades trilogy… five times. No rAgRetz. It’s phenomenal. @ me. 

I also read Midnight Sun recently which is what sparked my desire to re-read Twilight (also low-key blaming Midnight Sun for making me want brunette hair again)…. It’s these books that also triggered my fear of settling to an entirely new aspect: my relationship. I’ll admit that since I moved back to Vermont for the time being to live with Connor, we have not been doing well. It’s almost as if living together has pressure cooked our relationship. There’s an intense lack of space in the apartment between us and our two other roommates. I’m unhappy being here without my rabbit. Connor is unhappy that I’m unhappy. I get really snappy and sarcastic easily.. So he does too.. The whole spiel. Two stubborn Aquariuses, one with a Cancer moon (him) and one with a Capricorn moon (her) & you’re bound for trouble.

So I won’t deny that reading Midnight Sun had me second guessing my relationship because like, shit, I want an Edward Cullen. Fuck. Me. Up. Not saying I’d leave my boyfriend in the hopes that an immortal vampire would bite me, although, immortality would be fantastic. Where do I sign up? It’s the intense desire that Edward has for Bella that I want. The intense desire that Christian has for Anna. The hopeless devotion of romanticism and desire and lust and love. I want that. Not fighting over Connor using the toilet plunger to unclog the kitchen sink.

So the fear of settling entered into my relationship. Am I settling for this relationship? If so, why? Am I too scared to be alone? I would argue that there is a little bit of that, but ultimately I am not ready to just let go of Connor. I don’t want to. I have not wanted to. My intense desire to be desired stemmed at Connor. I wanted more of him.

So that is what we discussed over the weekend. Telling your boyfriend of three years you’re scared of settling with him isn’t necessarily an easy conversation, but it had to be done. I told him I need more, I want more. I want to feel wanted. Along with this conversation, I explained to him about the whore that is the fear of settling and how she’s been sliding down my throat, day in and day out. I told him I’m terrified of death because I don’t want to get to the end of the road and have a life where I couldn’t reach goals or feel a sense of accomplishment and his response knocked me off my feet.

Connor took awhile to respond to me before he said, “Well, not to be a dick about it, but only you are in charge of that” and proceeded to explain to me how if I’m so scared of settling, I should be working hard to ensure I don’t. I should be saving money to maneuver a trip to Europe in the cheapest way possible. I should keep pushing my content creation and be persistent with trying to work with more brands. This response really seems quite obvious in retrospect, but I truly wasn’t expecting it. 

He’s right. I am in charge of deciding whether or not I settle. I don’t want that teaching job, I better get to work looking for something else. I want to travel, okay, maybe don’t buy another dress.. When it comes to my relationship… Well then, we better get working on fixing our issues. We know the pan is hot, but at the same time I think that there is something beautiful at the way we don’t stop trying.

I realize that Fifty Shades and Twilight may not be the best stories to create my relationship expectations from. It’s similar to porn. It is unhealthy to interpret porn as reality and create sexpectations based on porn. Fifty Shades is my porn. And I shouldn’t base my relationship goals off of such stories… but at the same time, like, where is my Christian Grey??

I talk a lot about wanting that intense desire, hopelessly romantic, unconditional love, but I fail to recognize that I may already damn well have it. All of our disputes, bickering, break ups (two of them), & we are still holding on strong. He never gives up on me. While the universe is screaming, “No! No! No!” We continue to stand hand in hand, screaming “Yes!”

So while the fear of settling hasn’t fully escaped my cerebral cortex yet, it has begun to trickle down and deplete itself through my tears. Connor’s advice really helped me, as it usually does. I’m going to try to keep in mind that only I am in charge of avoiding settlement. Now for fuck’s sake let’s get me back to my copper hair.

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