On fear

Evey: “You got to me? You did this to me? You cut my hair? You tortured me? You tortured me! Why?”
V: “You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there’d been an easier way, but there wasn’t.”
~”V for Vendetta”

We’ve all heard, time and time and time again, that the only thing to fear is fear itself. How many times have you made up excuses for not doing something? Were the excuses genuine, or were they merely to hide your fear? Yes, some amount of fear is healthy, but many of our fears are baseless.

Let me tell you a story.

I once spent a month living in a tent on top of a mountain in order to volunteer with Mission: Wolf. I drove myself and the Bird up there. The last few miles were difficult. When the Bird left, I had a breakdown. I was far from home and about to spend a month with total strangers while living in a tent. I told myself it was crazy and stupid. I was scared shitless. But I made it through that night and after that things were okay. It wasn’t so bad…I had my car, I could leave whenever I wanted. Volunteering there turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done.

That’s not the take-home message, though. You see, a couple months later, I boarded a plane flying to Japan. Eighteen days running around Kanto with K-chan. Aside from getting lost once in Tokyo, I wasn’t scared at all. I’d faced my fear in Colorado and was done with it. I’d done a month alone in a tent, I could do eighteen days with a friend in a foreign country.

I didn’t walk to many places until I decided to brave walking to the library. Then I braved a seven-mile walk to complete several errands. I found myself suddenly able to walk anywhere in town. “Oh yea, I can walk that easy.”

If you never make the attempt, if you never push yourself, if you merely accept the status quo, you’ll be frightened forever. You won’t admit to it, and you may not believe it, but that’s all it is. Fear itself. Use it.

I often feel envy for Evey Hammond (“V for Vendetta,” see quote above). On one hand, she went through a terrible ordeal. On the other, she gained something unimaginable. She was free in a way many of us will never experience.

Fear is only useful if you overcome it. So do something that scares you. Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Take that trip, drive that road. Walk at night. Use the fear as a tool to free yourself.

Sometimes you never know the cage is there until you leave it behind.

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2 Responses to “On fear”

  1. Dargon Says:

    I must agree about not fearing things, I see too many people too afraid of life to actually live, and it is rather sad.

    With regards to Mission, I had no idea about the breakdown and all. You seemed rather excited up to the day you left. Sadly, I can’t relate much to that. Only time I’ve left home was when I moved to Dallas. Mind you, I didn’t have much a choice there. And it was perhaps the most sane of other options I considered.

    And again, with the fear, I still have difficulty relating. I suppose my mother and my peers beat the fear out of me rather early in life. Not to mention, being male, I’m not the potential victim, I’m the potential rapist/murderer/pedophile (yay for gender bullshit). I was never instilled with the fear of everyone that it seems the world likes to teach girls at a young age.

    Very few things frighten me, none of them physical. But in any case, the fear many people possess is unwarranted and crippling.

    • cwnmamau Says:

      Only one person knew of the breakdown before I posted this, and that was one of the guys at Mission who had asked me how I was doing afterward. It literally did not hit me until after I got back to my tent after the Bird had left. I was fine up until that point. But it happened at night, and every time I have a breakdown or something similar, it’s usually at night.

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