“The Knife” Prompt

Anxiety can be killer. In many cases, it’s a minor case of butterflies in the stomach before you go on stage during your fifth grade play. It’s like if you were to shake up a soda can in the lunchroom and then open it — sure, the soda will explode everywhere, and you’re going to have to clean something up, but it’s nothing permanent. Not a big deal. 7up washes clean off of tiled laminate flooring.

Yet, in some other cases, it’s not as minor. A lot goes into anxiety and much of what I’ve experienced in the past is a fear about trying something new. You never know what you’re going to get when you try something new, and to those who don’t have the daredevil attitude that inspires many to try new, crazy things, you’re going to go through all your options. It feels like there’s a team of the world’s greatest scientists inside your head brainstorming the craziest scenarios that could possibly come out of the most normal situations like trying to meet a new person or asking an employee for help at the store. Any possiblity is valid to those who have trouble with anxiety — it’s like the Halloween party game where you put your hand into a dark box, not knowing if you’re going to emerge with candy or wet spaghetti in your hand.

For those with recurring anxiety, it’s important to remember that whether your situation turns out to be a “candy” situation or a “wet spaghetti” situation, neither of those will kill you. Sure, I’d definitely prefer candy over spaghetti, especially on Halloween. But you’ll be fine either way. If you don’t want to even take the risk and see what could be in that box, you know for a fact that you’ll never get that candy. You’ll have to take risks to move forward and experience new things, and I know how hard it can be. I’ve struggled with it in the past, but thinking positively about a situation rather than negatively helps a lot. Instead of focusing on the negatives, think about how well a situation could go. It’s difficult the first couple times, maybe even the first ten or twenty times, but it’s something that one can get the hang of: focus on getting the candy, not the wet spaghetti.

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