You know, it’s a little strange that one of the talking points of anti-lockdown folk has become about “living in fear.”
So, let’s talk about fear.
After all, I certainly understand what it’s like to actually live in fear.
I’ve made references to the decade I spent holed up in my room following the death of my little sister, but few people have been given a peek at my mindset.
What’s important to understand about living in fear is that it’s being afraid of living. You are so consumed with fear that you are terrified of building anything that resembles a real life because you know how fragile a life truly is. You know what it is to see the hopes and happiness of a life full of potential and purpose snuffed out. You lose yourself in the pit of nothingness that you see everyone tightrope-walking over with every step. You let fear take you. You let it change you.
But, fear can be useful.
When people talk about fear as a tool, they tend to speak of it as something wielded only by the powerful. They rarely speak of it as something that can be used by the fearful as a path to something better, as yet another source of strength.
Yes, fear is a utility built into our instinct and our conscious self. We learn to be fearful of the things that hurt us, the things that pose a threat. But what happens when the thing we’re most afraid of is ourself?
That’s what we’re seeing now.
Being afraid of our potential is what freezes you in one mode or another. For me, it was about being afraid of building something that could be stripped away from me in an instant. But, for others, for the kind of people who would insist that it’s really others who are afraid, what they fear most is their potential weakness. Or even the appearance of weakness.
They feel the need to press on because doing otherwise would compromise the sense of self they’ve built up in their own minds. They would rather put their physical self at risk than take a good hard look at their own self-perception and challenge it.
They’re afraid, too. They’re afraid of vulnerability. Of anything that undermines the concept of them being so star-spangled awesome that they can’t be touched.
But they’re wrong.
And I get it. We really just want this ride to be over. After 9/11, the financial crisis, the War on Terror, we just can’t handle more.
Well, too bad. That’s not how life works.
The fear is already here. The challenge is already here.
We have to admit that sometimes the best thing we can do is recognize the fear of what’s in our hearts can connect us and push us harder than we ever thought possible.
Some of the best things we’ve ever accomplished, we did so because we were afraid. We were afraid of living under British rule. We were afraid of what we’d become if we allowed slavery to continue. We were afraid of being hypocritical by denying women the right to vote or gays the right to marry. We were afraid of being overrun by the Axis Powers and the wave of communism. We were afraid of losing the race to the moon. We were afraid of failing to avenge 9/11.
Really, we are all afraid of letting ourselves down.
It’s okay to admit that.
It’s okay to be a little afraid sometimes. No one who ever accomplished anything worth a damn was fearless.
The universe is throwing down the gauntlet. It’s demanding a new Greatest Generation.
We can’t be that if we aren’t around.
We can’t be that if we don’t care for each other.
And we sure as hell can’t be that if we’re unwilling to admit what we’re afraid of.