What is doubt, and why does it belabor its victims with extraneous buzz? Such describes the intersection of Release Street and Dwell Drive, a point whose inconsistent signals have swarmed my hive for quite some time. While dwelling on my reservations inevitably leads me to lower my wings to a mental standstill, releasing my qualms can result in fortuitous bouts of sweet, sweet honey. But there's a stinger...
Absurd analogies aside (not sure how those came to bee...), an inclination towards various risks (or honey) does not presuppose a doubtless mentality. Indeed, why would we call such ventures "risks" if a certain level of skepticism did not precede them? I wouldn't deem myself a risk taker in the traditional sense, but I have certainly reserved a quark of energy for pursuing my passions, many of which I realize have only a 50% success rate. Beginning with academic and athletic goals, I later extended my realm of risk to include social and extracurricular undertakings. Part of this transition lay in increased independence; part of it lay in decreased doubt. But none of it stemmed from depleted doubt altogether.
Doubt, here, is not intended to euphemize anxiety; that is a much broader concept that interweaves my deepest proclivities. Quite the contrary, doubts are the electrons to our anxiety-ridden nucleus: the former surrounds and skims, yet also complements the latter. Also like electrons, doubts are much lighter in gravitas and more numerous than core anxieties. Where the analogy fails (and my AP Chemistry retention ends) is in transferability. Whereas Sodium can impose an electron on Chloride willy nilly, human brains cannot partake of the same luxury. We can rub off a little static or tension onto our neighbors, but our doubts are uniquely our problem and can only be abolished through internal means.
But are doubts really our "problem"? Do they not serve as relatively gentle reminders of our priorities and brief windows into our value systems? By this, I mean we would never know what truly irks us, bores us, and fulfills us if we didn't, first, experience and, second, register the degree of doubt paired with any given situation. In short, we can never really be certain of anything, including our own philosophy, without intermittent spurts of uncertainty.
As we grow up and learn more about what constitutes a personally fulfilling life, we learn that not all of our doubts--past, present, and future--are merited. We learn to knock down certain assumptions--whether our own or those we inherited--in order to achieve satisfaction. That's where risk and reward come in. But most importantly, we learn that many of our doubts cannot be helped, and that's exactly as it should be.
You're a snowflake, you're a flower, you're a bird, you're a bee. Whatever your moniker, just remember you're free.
Buzz off, indignity,
Blazer: Urban Outfitters. Tees: J. Crew. Flowers: Whole Foods Florist.
All photos by Sean Su.