I am afraid of spiders. The startle of walking into a thick sticky web sends me screaming, arms flailing, bushing my hair to uncover the little devil hiding in the mess.
I am afraid of difficult obstacles when I mountain bike and yet I have never broken a bone in my life. I have never tested the limits of their strength and yet that fear rests within me. All I truly have to concern me are scrapes and bruises. Is that technical section, in which the worst case would merely leave me slightly scraped and bruised with a little weakening of pride, really worth avoiding? I still stop before I come up on that rock face though. I still hesitate in fear.
I worry about what lurks in the darkness of the ocean. I worry about what swims beneath me and its appetite and curiosity.
I am afraid of what others are thinking. I constantly analyze, assume, re-analyze, re-assume to judge people’s thoughts.
I fear upsetting other people. I intend to make people happy but sometimes my intentions for laughter lead to a misplaced joke.
I am afraid of being crushed, or being sad, and of feeling weak.
I fear not death but my greatest fear lies close to that finale. My greatest fear is accidentally taking someones life. I fear the overwhelming sense of shame and guilt that would result from such tragedy.
Fear is humbling and our greatest survival instinct. But that fear has taken control of its host. That fear, typically a safety net and a consciousness that has led me to right and wrong of my personal safety, has developed into paranoia.
But for one day I want to not be afraid. One day I want to jump onto my mountain bike and soar with no hesitation of attempting a new obstacle. I want to wake up to a dream of love and freedom, not death and insecurity.
But I do not want that day to end. I want it to become eternity. I want to live my life stray from the paranoia that has plagued me the past few years. I have been led to think that fear and stress and paranoia lead me to survival. Supposedly if I avoid that obstacle, or I constantly analyze my surroundings to the point of stress, and I hesitate before every action, I will survive. But I don’t seek longevity. I don’t want to sit in a wheelchair for the last thirty years of my life until the machines finally cannot keep the last bit of life left in me breathing.
I do have logical fears. I am not abnormal in avoiding spider webs and sheer cliffs, or for enjoying a pool for the lack of creatures. But what is life when one is forever trapped in a steel cage, absent of any danger? Can that even be called life? No, see I want to have adventure. I want to stray from the paved roads to a trail and maybe even into the deepest thickets. I want to swim at night, at feeding time. I want to ride down that rock face on my bike, despite the overwhelming odds of eating granite. I want to look a bear in the eyes and not run. I want to fight and struggle and live.
And most of all I want to ignore the fear that accomplishes nothing remotely close to a safety net. I want to abandon all reservations with relationships. I want to stop analyzing everyone and stop discerning every tiny action or expression.
I was taught to prepare for all the possibilities of failure of any factor of the three sports in triathlon. But I was also taught that fueling on these negatives will ruin the race. Goggles can fall off, tires can be pierced, food could not settle, turns are missed. Anything can happen, but being in fear of all those possibilities only leads to stress and unhappiness.
Today I recognize this useless fear and I abandon it just as I desert all stress and hesitation. Starting today I walk strong with confident strides and heck maybe I’ll even let a spider walk around on my foot. And hopefully forever more I will be at peace.
I will be cautious and I will be wise. I will be well versed and educated, confident and comfortable, strong and questioning. But I will not, I will no longer live my life in fear.
“I’d still be alive, you know? At least I’d know that I was doing something real for two or three seconds, you know? It’s all about fear and I’m not afraid anymore, man.” -Suburbia