Have you ever had that feeling, you know the one, like you're being watched? It's a worry or a slight apprehension. Sure it's agitating, but it's nothing to be scared of, it's probably just nerves. Classic butterflies in your tummy..but that anxiety turns to unease as the floorboards creak. I'm not talking about the creeps, the willies, the Heebie Jeebies. A tiny twinge of angst like a bee sting pinprick sends a bucket of ice water cascading down your spine. I'm talking about dread. A shiver. A moment of foreboding gives way to alarm and panic inside you. Fright warps your mind already throbbing as the walls close in around it. And then, finally, when everything is quiet, the moment you've been waiting for has arrived at your doorstep, danger knocks... Consternation, perturbation, ominous trepidation! Skin crawling, teeth chattering, blood curdling terror! A coffin opens as nails claw the wood, a wolf on a mountaintop howls in the distance silhouetted by the full moon, Womp Womp Wommmppp! Oh, the horror! Muwahaha. Lions, tigers, and bears! OH MY...
I'm not talking about the kind of fear you can buy for $15 at your local cinema, $20 if it's in IMAX 3D. I'm not even talking about the fears we usually talk about. Fear of flying or spiders or snakes, crowds, clowns, or foreigners. I'm not talking about tight spaces water or the dark. Did you know that aibohphobia is the fear of palindromes? Erythrophobia is the fear of blushing, embarrassment, and red lights. Ergasiophobia is the fear of being employed. I personally struggled with this for many years along with alektorophobia, which is the fear of chickens. For obvious reasons. There is something called Eleutherophobia which is the fear of freedom. I'd say this is the least of my worries. In fact, I'm rather an eleutheromaniac!
Erotophobia is the fear of being in a sexual situation, while fenophobia is the fear of sex in general. Mormons are predominantly affected by this. Just kidding. Please don't smite me. And for reference, geliophobia is the fear of laughter. I wonder what the fear of oral sex is? Mywifeaphobia? Ba dum tss. Gerascophobia is the fear of growth, progress, or evolution. A bibliophobe is someone who is afraid of books or libraries, while uranophobia is the fear of Heaven. If you can believe there are people afraid of Heaven. Whether you believe in it or not is one thing, but to be afraid of the actual idea the possibility, is downright horrifying. Atychiphobia is the fear of failure, which I hear has the largest percentage of undiagnosed cases in the US. I'll get to the point for fear of being long winded...
I am talking about THE FEAR. The one we all have. The one we don’t have a name for that stops us dead in our tracks like Deer transfixed by the blinding pearlescent fog lights of some Audi. Put yourself in that animal's hooves, somewhere along the entire navigational timeline of your life, you made a decision or decisions that brought you to this point. To this spot in the road. Do you let fear dictate your direction? Standing with your metaphorical pants down in front of a fast-moving, rapidly approaching 4000 lbs metallic beast made of not four but four hundred horses barreling down upon you, eight thousand RPMs, screaming move or watch your entire existence come to an end. I am Shiva destroyer of worlds. Do we let it destroy us? Do we cower in its shadow and let it dictate the direction of our lives? An enemy stands at our gates and the last white flag was just used to bandage your arm. So, I ask you, dear friend, what do we do now? Do we run? Or reload? The Belroq rises from its ashen tomb, breathing fire into the air, standing between us and our chosen path, threatening our very existence, our very freedom, our very lives. Sure, we face total and absolute annihilation, but what a meager cost to wager against victory. Will we let it ruin that which we have worked so hard for? Will we give in now after we've come so far?
You shall not pass. When caught between two choices, two opposing forces, two complete and utter antithetical anathemas, do you cut off your own arm and live, or die? Forget the odds; remember the stakes. When the walls close in and Luke uselessly tries to barricade them with a pipe, while Chewie's banging on the door and everyone is screaming and freaking out what do you do? We find ourselves in these situations in our lives, not quite sure how we arrived there. We are shocked, faced with the ultimate decision, nay, offered the chance finally to stand up for something bigger than our lives. We can either turn around and go back the way we came or we can hop the fence. We stand frozen while it grips us, shaking us down. It slams us into submission so fast you’d think it was Royce Gracie or Kurt Angle with the Anklelock. When faced with the Sleeper hold, The Figure Four, The Sharpshooter, or dare say it the LION TAMER, do we tap out?
|Second WWF picture used in this blog. Suck it.|
When you are face to face with fear, do you run away? Turn on a dime, scoop up your pants, and leave a Roadrunner-esque puff of smoke where your body used to be. Peace, see ya later, no thanks, I’m outta here. It could be taking that job, moving to that city, or just asking for that number, but for that split second let your mind wander to what could happen if you just, uh, excuse, but the moment is gone. The prospect of doing something and failing, the shame, the disappointment, the pain, is often too much to gamble against the safety and comfort of our own ineptitude. Are you willing to take the risk? Sure it may backfire and blow up in your face, but at least we went for it right? What if we shot for the moon, bet the house, swung for the fences, sure it's a long shot, and maybe we were being a bit foolish, but at least we weren’t afraid?
The judges of fate toss our lives onto a heavily weighted scale every day. Somehow of the countless chances you had to avoid this moment you are now stuck with two options, two weapons left in your vast strategic arsenal, two plans, neither of which were A or B. Do we let it hammer us, stomp and tramples us into the ground? Do we let it take the bridge? Do we die without a clutching embrace from a fallen comrade with a speech of faraway seas and misty childhood nostalgic reverie, cue Taps, and BUH BUH BUH...
No. We stand and fight back because fear isn't real. It's an invention to make our lives easier, like money or the internet. It's an efficient and expedited route to the end. An unobstructed EZ-pass lane to a life of blindingly bland boredom and missed opportunities. How do we combat this dark shapeless force with inexhaustible resources? You may think simple confidence will help, or mental fortitude, but you'd be wrong. The left side of the brain can't help you. It's nearsightedness clouds your vision. And the right brain especially can't help. It tells us to be reasonable, use logic, compute the risks, tally the total, and the odds always come back heavily favored against, but you can't destroy, eliminate, or even subdue fear. It will always be there and we just don't have time for false dichotomies. Slam the over. Roll the dice. Why not? Who cares? Fuck it. According to Mark Twain, there is only one resistance to fear and it's not logic, reason, or confidence. It's conqueror, it's vanquisher, it's master...is courage, and that comes from someplace else.
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