Fear, more than anything. Some of it is fear shared by many of my compatriots. Some of it is unique to my situation. All of it has a dick-withering, miserable aspect to it.
Sadness. I’m sad about lots of things. About hatred and division. Ignorance and stupidity. Isolation and claustrophobia. The simple fact that the world is made badly. That we all suffer, and die. That no one is quite what, or who, we hope they’ll be.
Anxiety. Uncertainty distinguishes anxiety from fear for me. My fear is attached to specific potential outcomes. My anxiety? To the inability to know which will obtain.
Regret. Life, my life, is filled with regrets. Things I didn’t do that I wish I’d done. Things I’ve done I wish I hadn’t. I don’t want to overstate this one. The sum total of my regrets is me, today: if I hadn’t done what I did, if I hadn’t not done what I didn’t do, I wouldn’t be me. And mostly, I like me. So while I might well regret much, my regrets somehow leave room for gratitude.
Remorse. This one’s the first of all of these that reflects concern for others directly. It’s like regret, but directed outward, at the impact of my actions on others, rather than inward, at myself. In the case of regrets, the truth is, I wouldn’t have them be any other way. Remorse is different. It’s what I wish I’d done differently, not because of anything having to do with me, but because of the impact of my actions on others.
Concern. This is like anxiety, but with a more solemn cast to it. Anxiety makes my chest tighten. Concern? It makes my gut ache. I’m anxious about what may happen tomorrow. I’m concerned about what may happen next year.
Embarrassment. This is related to regret. It’s what I feel when someone else sees something I regret.
Shame. Shane doesn’t require a witness. It’s what I feel when I fear that someone might see something I regret, but when their actual seeing of it is irrelevant to my feeling.
Deadness. This trumps all. It’s the sense that I’m numb, not alive. It’s deathly, terrifying, annihilating, all-encompassing.