During my whole life, I have always run away from fear.
I looked for shelter somewhere, anywhere, so that the fear I felt would not find me. I tried to outrun it. I tried doing everything in my power, so it would just leave me alone.
Fear is uncomfortable.
It makes terrible noise, arrives unannounced, stays too long, and always, always returns.
I have always run.
Some people look for assistance with fear.
They fight fear with anger, alcohol, drugs; prescribed or otherwise. They give up. They settle. They forever search to find themselves. They get fat. They skinny. They become workaholics. They find new wives. They find religion. They hate religious people. They ignore their own lives and live through their children, ultimately stunting their growth and suffocating them.
They do all this to run and hide from fear.
I have been preconditioned over the years to believe that fear is a terrible thing.
And in a sense, it is, but, the devil is in the details.
How we respond to fear, makes a big difference.
Fear is a natural warning system. A booming evacuation alarm that has served us well for many generations.
Fear has also evolved.
It has morphed into something that on most occasions is not warranted or needed.
It has become a fearful little voice inside our head, telling you, in abundant detail, things are about to go terribly wrong. It is that persistent whisperer, which always prophesizes your doom. It envisions all the criticism and gossip everyone is already doing behind your back, while they smile to your face.
That voice reminds you how many times you have failed, and how terrible it will feel to fail yet again.
Yet, we were not as afraid, when we were younger.
As babies, we didn’t question our mothers milk, or think that it was poisonous. We put absolutely anything in our mouth that was anywhere within grasp or was handed to us. We didn’t hesitate to fall or to fail. We were determined to crawl and walk without fear.
We didn’t care what time it was, and we didn’t care what dirt tasted like, or how it made us appear to our neighbours.
Hell. I even drank toilet water on occasion, not recently of course, and yes, thank you, I have changed my health routine.
As children we didn’t know hate, indifference, status, being right, or being wrong.
For that we went to school.
We learned that we were not good at math. We had an accent. A learning disability. We didn’t dress right. We learned not to play with certain kids because they had cooties.
We learned that we had all kinds of problems, we didn’t know we had. Spelling problems, arithmetic problems, and reading problems.
Why did I needed to memorize the multiplication table? Why was I praised for it? Do we not have computers? Are we giving up on our technology? Are we done with electricity?
We learned that our lunch smelled. That it was disgusting. Our clothes smelled too, and were always out of fashion. Perhaps we were not really Canadian, or not Canadian enough. Our parents are just dirty immigrants.
We certainly learned that we were not good enough.
We kept on getting educated. We kept on climbing up. We kept running and running, farther and farther. We kept avoiding fear, and sadly, we ended up running from ourselves.
I welcome fear.
I still don’t like it, mind you.
I am fearful before I write and every time I plan a new photography session.
I don’t think I measure up. I believe that I’m not ready, and everything inside my mind tells me to abandon the idea, and never take it up again.
I have learned to accept and live with fear.
When I feel fear coming, I say thank you.
I take it as a sign that I am doing something right. I don’t know what it is, and I don’t know where it is taking me, but I am now open to the possibility that this might work, and if it doesn’t, I’ll try something else tomorrow.
You should become comfortable living with fear too.
After a while it gets easier.
The alarm goes off, but we learn that there is no real fire. It will take a while for the signal to be muted, and in the meantime, we should continue planning, organizing, and executing.
Don’t run away from fear.
Exist alongside it.
Live with it, and be who you were meant to be.