Melbourne VIC Australia

©2018 by Alicia Pavlis.

  • Alicia Pavlis

Smile... It's not the End of the World... Yet!

Some objects may appear happier than they actually are...

Boy oh boy have I been emotional lately. Sometimes I leave the house, but I gotta paint on this smile mask. There's a lot going on in the world, there always is. Politically, environmentally, socially. 

There's always some huge global issue like climate change that may end life as we know it. For thousands of years humans have been fearing impending apocalypse. It's in every religious text and ancient prophecy from civilizations past. Who knows, it might actually be just around the corner, but we can't let that stop us from choosing to live. 

Something I haven't talked about often is that I used to have crippling fears and irrational phobias. Like a fear of talking on the phone. As a teenager I would write a script before calling a friend, planning how the conversation might go so I could be prepared. I was terrified that I would freeze up. 

I was also afraid of my house burning down. I'd turn off every power point at bed time. Even if it meant everyone would wake up late because alarm clocks would be reset. 

These fears faded eventually. 

I had a fear of driving after losing several friends in car accidents as a teen. To this day I still don't have a driver's licence. I can drive just fine, but I still fear hurting people. I'm working on it. This is one of my last phobias left (aside from cockroaches. Ha!)

Another irrational fear I had as a teen was a constant fear of impending doom. I would have frequent dreams of the end of the world and I would wake up and feel a heavy sense of doom all day long. It stopped me from following my dreams and making positive choices for my future. I decided going to University was a waste of time because I wasn't going to live long enough. I was so convinced that the world was ending, and I felt powerless that the end was coming any minute and we would all die, so I didn't make plans for my future. I just blindly let life push me along as the years passed. 

Every time I watched the news, every time I heard about an injustice, every time I'd see someone I love get hurt, or used, or betrayed, this fear was exacerbated, and it kept me paralysed.

I didn't think I was depressed, I was always naturally happy, but the world around me just seemed so dark.

Like being an oversensitive anxious rescue dog, every sound or sudden movement sent me into dread and despair. 

I've moved past this phobia, I still occasionally have dreams about the end of the world, or war, but I wake up thinking it would make a great movie script or discussion point for social issues. Occasionally I still feel down about where the world is headed, and right now I'm feeling it pretty hard, as I'm sure you are too.

I've noticed that a lot of young people today feel a similar powerlessness. There's a level of detachment and distraction in everyone, almost as if most people are too afraid to actually feel whats happening inside themselves, because there's so much negative external stimulation, that it's overwhelming. So rather than trying to make things better, people push it away and pretend it doesn't exist. Preoccupying themselves with social media and entertainment, trying to escape reality. I completely understand. It's self preservation. We're all just trying to survive.

But if history is anything to go by, and usually it is, we can rest assured that it probably isn't the end of the world, all of this chaos may just be the pressure we need to inspire change. We can't all solve everything at once, it has to be done piece by piece, and it starts within. Making changes doesn't mean you have to let the entire world and all of its problems in, just the ones that are closest to you. 

I stopped feeling powerless when I started focusing on what I can change.

For me, it's helping people who have had similar experiences. Bringing attention to mental health awareness and offering support, pointing out injustices so people don't get manipulated or taken advantage of the way I was when I was younger. I'm passionate about these topics because I've lived through them. This is the war I fight for the world. 

Your fight might be environmental, or political. Whatever is, it doesn't have to be big. Just the thing YOU have the power to focus on right now. 

The end of the world may or may not be on its way. Social, environmental and political issues feel too overwhelming for just 1 person to tackle. But the good news is, none of us are alone. We are many people with the power to make small changes in our own worlds, changes that will reverberate and support the collective of humanity in time. 

It may feel overwhelming, and you may want to shut it all out to protect yourself, but to change the world, you don't have to fight for everyone and everything, all you need to do is stand for the thing that is closest to you. If each of us were to do that, we'd all be working together piece by piece to make the world a better place, so achieving that goal would be inevitable.


#politics #climatechange #enodoftheworld #apocalypse #mentalhealthawareness #socialissues #activist #changetheworld #hope #environmentalissues #smile #standup