Let's just get this out in the open: fear is a powerful motherf*cker. Things I am scared of right now: forgetting the sound of my father's voice, how long his legs were, what he smelled like. Not being smart enough. Going completely deaf. My mom dying. My friend dying before I get there next week. Never having a baby of my own. Having a baby of my own. Running out of things to say.
(To name a few.)
I've been taught that to say your fears out loud is sort of like wishing for them to happen. I don't know if I buy that. Maybe once I write them, out here in the open, I can send them off in small rocketships with little notes inside that say things like Don't Come Back or You're Not Welcome Here.
I remember in high school at our football games in the snow, people would hold up signs for the other teams that said Go Home! Maybe I could do that for my fears?
By addressing them, I get respect from them.
Why should our fears control us? It's absurd. These invisible thought thieves get to tell me what to feel? What the?
Why now? Why the haunting?
So I take them down one by one with a BB gun out in the woods on a dark snowy night. Why shouldn't it be a dark snowy night in the woods? Most fears are imagined so why shouldn't I imagine a fitting scenario for me to kill my fears.
I will line them up like soda cans on a ledge and shoot them. One by one.
They will fall over, in a heap, crumpled on the snow, and I will bury them before they bury me.
I am the human after all. They are the invaders, the aliens, the robbers, the tin cans.
By saying what I am scared of I become more human.
Can't you see more of you in me when I tell you what I am scared of? And when we see ourselves in each other, isn't that what makes us feel connected?
When we realize that we all share the same human experience, that yes, the details vary, but the overall experience of being a human being, right here and now, is the same, we inch closer to our true selves. Our true selves aren't our fears about gaining weight or what people think about us.
The true self is the part of us that can stay up all night and write, or can love someone else unabashedly, or can be a mother, or a father and have it be the best thing we have ever done in our lives. The true self is that which doesn't listen to hearsay and gossip or naysayers. Our true self listens to the things that make us dance and be silly or want to sit on the beach alone and watch the sun set into a miracle.
The true self doesn't worry that if we travel too much then we will lose our teaching gigs at home, or if we gain five pounds then we'll look like a failure, or that we don't know that much about politics, or can't balance in a handstand in the center of the room.
Our true selves are fearless.
I know that I forget this often.
We are fearless. We are born screaming just who we are without giving a shit what anyone thinks of us. That moment is the beginning of our true self-expression.
I can't remember much about that time of my life. (Can you?) But I know that I was not scared to ask for what I needed. I was not scared someone didn't like me or I wasn't good enough.
All I am saying here is that fear is a powerful motherf*cker. If you let it, as I have done time and time again, it will take over your body like a ninja and you won't even know it's happened. You will sit on your chair in a corner of your room and not even realize you have been invaded until you realize you are attracting all the things you don't want into your life like a cheap magnet you bought in Montana.
So, say what they are. Say them out loud and then send them out in boats and ships, in whatever way you can. Shoot them if you must. Do what it takes to to inhabit the body you live in rather than the fear who has slipped into you like it had been there all along.