Nineteen years later, with new fears of my own, the emotion rather intrigues me. As a cynic and an alleged pessimist, I constantly keep an eye out for weaknesses. Whether they are faults in houses, countries, families, friends, colleagues, teachers, or just some random person I meet somewhere, I tend to notice the faults almost subconsciously, and keep them in some corner of my mind. I figure it works sort of like a defense mechanism, that I use to stop myself from being intimidated and overwhelmed by the close-to-perfection around me. Don’t get me wrong, I would never hold these weaknesses against anyone, I would maybe not even think consciously about them, but I know that some corner of my mind gets comfort knowing that this weakness exists, and makes me accept and possibly even love, the people or the places even more. Since I see fear as a weakness, it always interests me knowing what might scare people, what is the one scary thing that scars their seemingly (to me) perfect lives of contentment? So, I ask.
After getting a lot of, “I don’t know”s, and “Oh, I never think about that”s and “Umm, you’re random”s, I finally managed to get a bunch of people to spill out their deepest fears to me. My best friend, Mr. Adorable (a-d-o-RABLE!), aka Mr. A, told me the thing that scares him the most is loneliness. Very similar to my own fear of abandonment, the feeling that the people around you are going to go away (somehow, with some deep dark magic), and you’re going to be left alone, all by yourself. Writing this out is nearly giving me the chills and the expected shiver down my spine, so i’ll swiftly move on.
Another close friend, Goofy, fears fights, huge disagreements and arguments, specially the ones she’s involved directly in. She’s scared of everything from the beginning to the outcome, and it doesn’t surprise me. It take so much effort to lead an uncomplicated life these days, that any glitch is enough to break the facade of perfection. So, it’s understandable that someone would fear these triggers and sparks, and the unpleasantness that comes along, since it puts all the efforts of simplicity in scrutiny and unwanted risk.
Then again, most of us are so scared, that we somehow create a barrier for ourselves to live our lives the way we want. Mr. Self-Assigned Misfit (SAM), told me that the thing he fears the most if putting yourself out, opening up to people, and then not being taken seriously, or worse, rejected for who you are. While I can completely understand his fear, and partly relate to it, I also feel that there’s this tiny bit of risk that people should take, just because without this, fear will be the only ruling factor, leaving less or no room for freedom of just being who you are.
My friend, Ms. Biker, has a very strong fear of failure. She’s excellent at nearly everything she does. She’s ambitious and determined and knows how to get what she wants. I can’t remember the last time that she actually failed at anything, and that this possibly because of this pulsating and beastly animal called fear, which crawls inside her and inhabits the very core of her consciousness.
Over the years, my fear has found new meanings, new targets and an entirely new set of reasons. They have grown into obsessive, almost psychotic, tangibles, which have sadly but surely, become an integral part of my being. My life is engulfed around them, and I spend most of my conscious time trying my very best of evade or avoid facing them. But then come times, when you just cannot ignore the so-called “elephant in the room”. What do I do in those terrifying moments when my fears challenge me to a face-to-face combat? I cower initially, but then regretfully stand up and face them. At that point, it doesn’t matter anymore whether I win or lose. The simple act of standing there, facing the sea of my fear, with its monstrous waves of terror, and physical reactions of trembling, shaking and overall disintegration of any sense of calm, remain the only relevant factors. The result becomes insignificant in that moment, since the process itself drains me from any ambition or goal.
I still see myself, somewhere on a beach, still crying and fearful...the only difference is that I take my fear with me, and enter the water. I’m scared to my very core, but I enter...and hope that someday, this fear will just go away....and i’ll be left to enjoy the softness of the sand and the waves brushing gently on my legs...