Fear Itself

DogShadow

What am I scared of? Here’s what I’m scared of. I’m scared that if I miss one post then I’ll miss more. I’m scared that if I let one deadline slip then the concept of the deadline will be invalidated, that they’ll fall from my arms one by one like dishes on a waiter’s last day on the job and that everything I’m working for will be undone. I’m scared I’ll lose my faith. I’m scared I won’t do anything ever again. I’m scared I’ll forget how to work. I’m scared I’ll forget how to care.

I’ve probably mentioned this before. I think about it a lot. I worry a lot about not writing. That fear of not writing makes it harder to write. The fear of not creating makes it harder to create. The fear of not being heard makes it harder to speak. And, though I’ve fought my way out of some of these prisons, others are arrayed about them in concentric rings – and, though I’ve fought my out of some of these prisons, the doors I left open behind me sometimes look like hungry mouths.

At times like these, though, when I don’t know what to write, it becomes hard to decide: Would taking a day off be a strike out against the prison of my anxiety? Or would it be taking a step back through the door of my overwhelming apathy?

My anxiety is sneaky, and I’ve learned to be suspicious of my emotional state. My fear will disguise itself as fatigue, as stress, as fun, as laziness – whatever it takes to keep me from confronting whatever it is I dread for just a bit longer.

I have learned to be patient with myself, because if I am not patient then the fear becomes bigger, becomes self-justifying, becomes imminent and insurmountable. But I have also learned to be firm with myself, to set boundaries, limits, deadlines, so that I know that I mean business. I’m basically parenting myself, trying to lead my own fearful child heart by example, trying to show myself that if I just keep moving forward, with cleverness and determination, there will be nothing to fear.

I have never trusted authority. Most authority comes about as happenstance, rather than being rooted in any logical justification. Those who find authority are frequently those who seek it, and I tend to have a hard time trusting anyone who seeks authority. These authorities, though, help us to keep our lives simple: They provide an instruction, even if an incorrect one, a direction, even if it makes us lost, and they keep us from having to ask ourselves at every given moment: What are we doing? Why?

I have denied external authority. Because of this, I must found my own internal authority, and foster it, and make it as wise as I can. I must create a leader of a nation of one.

I will raise him; he will raise me; and, together we may yet fly.

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2 comments
  1. “I have learned to be patient with myself, because if I am not patient then the fear becomes bigger, becomes self-justifying, becomes imminent and insurmountable.”
    absolutely true!!
    The only thing worth being scared of is Fear itself.
    Well written!

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