The Power of Fear


What do we do when those words of others become our own? The words we repeat, as a mantra, when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Even for that split second, when we can no longer bear to see our face staring back at us. Because we have hammered that mantra in our brains.

How do we break the spell of those words? How do we scrub our minds clean of those mantras? How do we dig it out of our hearts, when it is embedded so far in? 

What happens when the opinions other have of us ends up becoming our own? Does it make us weak? Are we too weak-willed? Too pliable? Are we merely just contorting ourselves to survive? 

At what point do we snap and say enough?

Truth is, I have no idea. I don’t begin to have any kind of answer to these questions. I have more questions than answers, and I have spent my life feeling like I am stuck. And what for? I can give you theories about that, but the truth of the matter is, I have no idea why I have allowed myself to stay stuck. 

Because it’s easy? Sure

Because it’s comfortable? Yeah, but not really.

Because it’s what I know? Definitely.

Because I am scared shitless? Yes. 

I am utterly terrified of being my own person. Of being able to stand up for myself and to use my own voice. Because if I do that, I not only have to stand my ground, but I have to be courageous and fight. I have to become a warrior for myself then. When it has become so easy to just lie back and take it. To just keep taking the horrible medicine I give myself for no reason more than to stay docile. To stay in my comfortable fear. 

Fear is a powerful motivator to stay. You can argue that it’s not hard to stay stuck. That it’s easy to not move. That the first step is always the hardest. Yeah, the first step is hard, but so is the second, and the third, and every step after that, because those are steps you have chosen to take towards whatever goal you wanted or needed to achieve. Sobriety, happiness, anything really. 

It’s not easy to stay stuck. It’s a lot of hard, back breaking work to stay in one place. To keep those thoughts at the same place they always have been. Because we will change. We always do. We are constantly evolving. It’s not always in a tangible way. Most of our changes, triumphs and failures are not tangible. We can’t show them off to the world. Most of the time, we may not even be aware of them. It can be something as small as changing our favorite color to something as big as wanting a family. The only constant we truly have is change. 

Yet, we fight it tooth and nail, and for what? 

Because we know it. 

Because fear kicks in. Fear of the unknown keeps us latching onto crappy relationships, and even crappier thoughts. It keeps us drinking that kool-aid, even after we find out it’s poison. I still drink my kool-aid. On a daily basis. I keep those mantras going 24/7. I keep them going through the day, and well into the night. I wonder sometimes if I have always been predisposed to that. To wanting to keep myself feeling like this, because the idea that I could feel better scares me, and the idea that I could end up feeling worse terrifies me. So I stay in purgatory, living in the grey area between the black and the white. Living some kind of half life, if you even want to call it that. There are days where I will not allow myself a break of any kind, and I will not allow myself to write. I keep myself from letting things out. Because I spent my nights talking myself out of those things I know I could have if I just tried a little. Of those things I want some days so badly I can almost taste them. I tell myself I don’t get them. I don’t deserve them. That if I really want them, and to truly be deserving of them, I’d have to change into a completely different person. That I have to become worthy of them. I have to change to become worthy of even entertaining the idea of them. 

Now, tell me that’s not fucked up. 

But that’s the problem. I know how fucked up it is, and I recognize it, but I do jack crap to change it. Because I am scared. That I could work for it, and try for it and it wouldn’t want me in return. So I stay put in my purgatory with my daydreams of what I want, and this is the irritating part, for me, that I see what I need to do, and I see what could be, but I don’t let myself get it. I taunt myself with it. Dangling it in front my face, like a carrot for a donkey, to keep it going, but knowing that  as long as I keep this going, I will never get that carrot. Because I don’t deserve to eat the carrot. 

Could I bow down into child’s pose, but my hands up and surrender to the universe? Sure. 

Do I? Hell no. 

Surrendering to something bigger than fear is something I don’t have the words for, not completely.  I just know that surrendering feels like giving up, and it’s not. I know it’s not, but I have fought so hard and so long to stay in purgatory. That the idea of even giving up an iota of that to something else, taps into those thoughts I get that run rampant. 

What happens if it goes well? I could feel better! Do I even know how to feel good? To truly feel good, and not wait for the other shoe to drop. I feel like when I do feel good, I’ve always got one foot in the door and I’m ready to run when that shoe drops. But the kicker? There is no shoe waiting to drop. I invent that shoe. It’s only present in my mind. 

Then what happens if it doesn’t go well? I could feel even worse! I’m not prepared to be that far gone again. You never are prepared for that level of anything. I’ve been down there once, and refuse to do it again. I can’t do that. I cannot handle it. I don’t know if I could survive that. I feel like the first time just drained me dry. I don’t have the reserves of strength now, that I had then.  

I watched Episode two of Masters of Sex right before I started writing this at 3 am. There was line when Dr. Bill Masters was talking to a teenage patient who had “darkness” in her. After dealing with her situation and realizing that she needed to get some help, she had the courage to say, “I am not my own worst part.” 

Maybe I need to start saying that. Maybe we all do. 

I am not my own worst part. I am not those hurtful words. I am not my fear. I do get that carrot, and I DESERVE it. 

I am not my own worst part. Maybe we’ll try that as a mantra for a while.


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