Thoughts and Questions on Fear

“Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?” ― Lemony Snicket

When I was five I had this recurring nightmare that a T-Rex was sitting outside my bedroom window waiting for me. I would wake up in the middle of the night, convinced by the rustling and the light outside that it was actually there, and I would jump out of bed and into my parents’ bed and burrow myself under the covers, casually forgetting that my little brother shared a room with me. “He’ll be alright,” I thought to myself as my mother jumped when my cold feet touched her legs.

Of course a scared five year old’s mind won’t be easily convinced that it wasn’t actually a T-Rex outside her window, so my parents let me grow out of it in my own time, and since it didn’t even faze me during the day, they didn’t worry that much. Eventually something else replaced my fear of that non-existent T-Rex and as I grew older, I found other things to fear. Bugs. Boys. Bad Grades. Republicans (I keed, I keed.). It would be silly to say I’m not afraid of things, but I manage to live with them. I’ve fallen from 300ft despite being afraid of heights. I’ve given speeches in front of 200 people despite being afraid of public speaking. I’ve swam in the ocean, despite being afraid of sharks.

But lately I’ve felt scared of something new. Afraid of something I desperately want and have wanted for as long as I can remember, something I believe in, but now so desperately afraid that it will never happen. And not in a way that I will never be lucky enough to experience it, but in a way that my fear of being hurt by it will trump my desire to progress and to learn and to grow and to love. And it feels unfair. It feels wrong. But it follows me in my every so crazy dreams night after night and I don’t know how to shake it. It comes suddenly when I’m at work, or when I’m out with friends, or when I think about the future.

I don’t know really how to face this fear. I don’t think I can just jump off and challenge this fear by facing it directly. It will take patience, I think, but I honestly don’t know how to approach this new fear. I really don’t, and I think that’s what scares me the most.

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