Writersbootcampza #3 – One of my greatest fears

by Roxana Bouwer

The thing I fear most is fear itself. It halts my living and nourishes my overthinking. It makes me second guess everything.

There’s a paradox to fear (one that’s only implied here). If I think about it in terms of benefits – say, preventing one from jumping off a second-floor balcony (which, I’ve done – but that’s a detour we’re not taking right now) then fine, it has a purpose. But it’s not all that deterring or preventative. Like I said, I jumped.

That base-level, adrenalin munching, reptilian brain fear is the least of my hurdles in this life.

The fear that gets me is the fear that’s fake. The self-created fear that I’ve raised and nurtured and hold on dearly to because of an intrinsic belief that it will stop me from combusting.

Didn’t you know? If you tell a near-stranger you’re still acquainting how much you like them. Or hug a friend for an inappropriately long time because for some reason it feels like every cell in your body is craving their affection. Or quit your job and let your life’s small-change savings take you on an adventure. Didn’t you know that doing any of these things means instant combustion? Poof! Player one, dead.

Ridiculous, right?

I fight against this everyday. It’s one of the reasons I welcome getting older. The fight doesn’t become easier, no, but you become easier with it.

My whole life I’ve given fear just enough power for it to stop me doing things that would be beneficial for my happiness. What a masochist.

At least with age my brain is learning an autonomy of second guessing my incessant second guessing. It’s learning to writhe its way through the acrid jungle of inner turmoil.

Writhing until I arrive where I began and begin to act. I feel the fear and do the bloody thing anyway.

I know nothing for sure but if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that most often the right thing to do and the scary thing to do are the same thing.

———–

A separate, unrestrained thought on the subject:

All fears are the same. If you dig deep enough. We label them for control’s sake. Fear of rejection, success, commitment, power, responsibility, being alone, being trapped. There are as many fears as our internal dialogues allow – infinite.

Thing is, they’re like a bunch of balloons. Each fear is its own balloon and each is unique in shape, colour and how long or short its string is. But they’re all filled with, and exist because of, the same helium.

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