(I typed the + into my last list title as a joke.)
  1. I'm afraid no one would make a suggestion.
  2. This is silly, I know.
  3. I have friends.
    👋🏻Hi friends! I know you're here.
  4. I have followers.
    👋🏻Hi followers! Thanks for following.
  5. But.
  6. I still have that tiny, persistent, nagging fear of rejection. And insecurity about exclusion.
    I tense up at the thought of opening myself up with a + list, but I know this is about fear and insecurity, not really the list.
  7. In the fifth grade, a Mean Girl invited all of the girls in our class to a slumber party—except me.
    She made sure I "accidentally" found out. What a cruel little bitch.
  8. Someone I loved abruptly terminated my trust in them completely.
    I was shocked. And broken.
  9. Another person I loved slowly pushed me further and further away until I finally realized they were gone.
    I wondered if they were ever really there.
  10. These experiences and more are not uncommon, but stuff like this has been feeding my fear and insecurity for a long time.
  11. I've mostly learned how to deal with it.
    I recommend therapy for everyone. No shame.
  12. I mostly don't take things on the internet personally, though it takes continual practice and self-set boundaries.
    Like my hard candy shell.
  13. I try to project an attitude of confidence so I can feel what that's like.
    I also usually imagine the worst case scenario so I can try to feel prepared for that, too.
  14. But the fear and insecurity still lurk.
  15. I'm shining the spotlight on them so I can continue my work at chasing them away.
    (Even though I'll probably hit "publish" and then spend the next hour catching up on my feed and hiding from this list. One step at a time ❤️)