The truth is I’m always afraid.
Shocking isn’t it?
I remember going to the Pinery near Grand Bend, Ontario. One particular day the waves in Lake Huron were big. I remember my sister going into the lake and getting knocked on her butt by one of the watery devils, and decided to stay on the beach. I wanted to emulate my dad and managed to hop up on the smaller ones.
I remember watching this giant wave heading toward the shore, and I was scared. I didn’t want to get knocked on my butt. It was hard and rocky and stuff and I didn’t want to go through that. I bailed.
But the moment I got out of the pool I just heard a voice that told me, “you have to do it.”
“But I don’t wanna!” I said to that voice.
“You know you have to.”
“Because you don’t want to do it.”
Such a weird little bit of logic. I listened to it, because in my head at the time it made a kind of sense. I dreaded getting knocked on my butt, but I was going to jump it anyway.
Sure enough, the wave steamrolled me. I went under and bounced off the shallow sandy shore. Bizarrely, it was kind of fun to rise to the surface. I wasn’t so scared of the big waves anymore, and kept trying to jump. My fear was conquered, the worst had happened.
Most people think of fear as terror. Terror is not necessarily fear. I’m always nervous. I’m nervous when I’m about to do a podcast. Butterflies are always in my stomach. Is it going to be a good show? Did I do the best I could? All these thoughts flicker in and out of my consciousness while I’m about to go on the air. Doubts, fears, and maybe even a touch of anxiety is in there.
And then it all goes away when it’s showtime.
When I finish a story I have fear. Is it good? Did I write a masterpiece or did I do some kind of weird diarrhea on the page?
I always have that kind of fear going on in the back of my head. I think it’s dare I say, healthy to have it.
I mean if you think about it, that kind of fear is great. I mean, what better indication that you truly give a damn than that feeling? That rush makes everything come to focus. Sights, smells, your heart are all there, and you are aware of every single moment.
Maybe I’m a fear junkie, but in truth, I don’t know when I’m more alive than in those moments. I feel every thing and it’s all there, painful and clear, and it matters to me.
I think that kind of fear is awesome. It’s the kind of discomfort I wish more people had, because if you are aware of all these things, you can use them to bring out the absolute best of you inside. Overcoming that fear lets you stretch into new heights. It’s amazing.
Now, when the fear takes over you, that’s not healthy. I mentioned it in my facebook, and I’ll say it here. Intellectually, I’m getting too old not to take care of myself. This is indeed true, but if we want to cut all the bullshit out of the equation, the real reason I did it?
This terrified me. And not in a healthy way. I wanted to freeze. I wanted to vomit. The idea that I had to do this broke something precious inside of me. It was terrible.
And I didn’t want it to rule me.
Fear is great as a companion. It’s emotions and rush make you aware of what is going on in that moment and makes you live in that moment in a way you can’t with anything else. But when it rules your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions it’s not a companion anymore. Fear becomes something we call terror. And terror is nothing but a jailer. Something that holds you back.
If I fix my teeth, who am I? When I deal with what is broken, what will remain? Will I be whole, or will I be empty? I don’t want to live like this. I refuse to. I’m okay with being afraid, I’m not okay with being ruled by that kind of tyrant.
That’s the truth. There are healthy kinds of fear, and there are terrible examples of it. I just could not do it anymore. I was ready to break my own shackles. Terror had to die.
Going to the dentist office wasn’t so bad. My teeth were broken but they could be fixed. I have done two major dental trips since I faced that fear.
Who am I when I fix the teeth?
Nice to meet you.
I don’t recognize that guy yet myself.
But he’s here to stay.
When you face your own fears, there is light at the end of the dark tunnel.