Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fear -- what big bad wolf scares you?

Photo: From Alfred Hitchcock movie: Psycho.
Shower scene


Fear is of the devil. --the Bible

We have nothing to fear, but fear itself. -- FDR

Helium offers 38 essays (short essays) on the topic. Each one gave me thoughts to explore. One played off of the "Who's afraid of the big, bad, wolf?" And went on to say 'the wolf I fear maybe different than the one you fear.'

Another spoke of fear of clowns. I've always been uncomfortable around clowns and for me at least it is indicative of my need to read people. I grew up in a house where reading people was a necessity. A false move could be detrimental to my well being. So I learned quite early to understand body and facial language. Not consciously, but it became as natural to me as verbal language -- and I've always been quite a talker.

But the clown in its baggy clothes and layers of makeup and wigs and gloves hides every clue to understanding the true language behind this fake facade. I feel vulnerable and fearful when unable to read a person's motives and movements.

Fear, according to the dictionary, is "a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid." Or a fear or awe of God or anxiety....

So what do I fear about writing?

Fear of failure? Yes.

Fear of success? Yes.

Fear of finding out I have been kidding myself all of these years. So maybe fear of truth? Yes.

Fear that my love of writing will disappear. This thing I love will becomes work, become a chore. Yes.

Fear that my creativity will dry up or be superficial and that there is no next level for me to strive for. Yes.

Fear that it is too late. Yes.

So caught between fear of failure and fear of success, I seem to be stuck in the middle and we all know that purgatory can be described as limbo or for me -- mediocrity. How to move out of this quicksand that is sucking the life out of me?

One rather neurotic essay held a kernel of truth that seemed like a path out of my quagmire: "It wasn't until I started to meditate, and live in the present, did the fear go away." -- by Jaalah Dupont

I will try not to think about the consequences of my success or failure, these intangible consequences can disappear as quickly as a fog when the sun appears. I give them too much permanence, too much credence. So for now I will devote my all in the present moment and forget about everything else. I can only live one moment at a time and when it is gone, it is gone. Wasting time worrying about what could be is simply that -- a waste. So my new mantra:

". . . Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." --Matthew 6:34 or as I heard again and again that old cliche: "Don't bite off more than you can chew."

One day at a time.

No fear! NO FEAR!
Something I found inspiring: 50 to 1 I particularly loved the first line: "I remember wondering if my skin was burning." -- John Harahan. Ahhh the possibilities!

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