Fear

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
– H.P. Lovecraft

I used to be fearless. Perhaps I was too ignorant of my own limitations, of the world’s dangers, to be afraid. I did what I had to do to improve my life, I went to a high school away from home, I went to an English university even though I was schooled in Afrikaans, and I went to teach English in a country where no one could understand a word I was saying.
I just did it. I didn’t second guess myself or cry about it or anything.
There was no other way.
But these days, I’m filled with fear.
Don’t misunderstand, I’ve always been a worrier. I was that precocious child who packed an extra sweater in case it got cold or turned my cents three times over before I bought sweets.
But I never let my worries deter me from getting what I want.
I’ve recently learned to drive for the first time at the age of 25. I can’t explain the amount of shock my body went into after each time. I used to go home after my lessons, lie on my bed and cry and cry for hours.
I never thought I was ever going to learn.
But I’m not stupid, and I’m not in any way incapable of learning new things.
It was the fear.
And since I’ve felt that fear, all the repressed fears I’ve been harbouring since childhood have manifested their ugly little heads. Fear of roads, fear of death, fear of bugs, fear of myself, fear of…failure.
I’ve always succeeded at everything I’ve done, even the difficult things like maths and finding money to study.
I’m scared I’m failing.
Not just at driving, but at life. I’m not a great sister, I wasn’t there while my brother was growing up. I’m not a good daughter, I don’t understand my mother and why she is the way she is.
I’m failing at the things I’ve taken for granted: family, happiness, relationships.
Before I had nothing to lose because I thought I had nothing. So I didn’t consider the consequences of my actions, I was in your face, here I am, I’m taking what I want. And now? What do I want now? I had a tough childhood, which made me believe I was special, unique, I was going to get out. I had no other choice, fear wasn’t in my head.
“Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
My mother is always afraid. I remember taking a trip by train as a child, and she wouldn’t open the doors to the carriage. She was afraid of the other people. She hardly ever wants to leave the house, and for as long as I can remember we always slept with one light on in the house at night. When my father died it became worse, and she’s had several break-ins since then. She’s afraid to find work, afraid to speak to people, afraid to speak to me even.
As a child it was difficult to cope by myself, but it has made me stronger. I wish I could take the strands of her fear and unravel them like a cheap jersey, just pull and pull until she was spinning and smiling and happy.
I just want her to be happy.
“Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.”
– Marianne Williamson

I am afraid that I am becoming sad. I have too much time on my hands to think about all the things that can go wrong. My driving is getting better every day, but I’m still scared. But I refuse to stay scared. I will drive and drive until I’m no longer shitting myself. As for the sad part:
“She was a girl who knew how to be happy even when she was sad. And that’s important—you know” ― Marilyn Monroe

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4 thoughts on “Fear

  1. First thing do you really consider fear to be the strongest emotion? Secondly, everyone fails and there is no need to be great. We just have to accept ourselves and be happy. You are putting so much of effort that’s a reason to be happy 🙂 😀

  2. I have always lived by these words: our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. I think it’s from Confucius.

    Are you sure it’s fear? Or is fear the outward superficial emotion of the realization that you are not immortal, indestructible, impregnable? Those are the three I’s of adolescence. You are now an adult and you are transitioning to a deeper connection not just with yourself but your world around you.

    I am confident you have what it takes to make it out there. The fact that you are steadfast in your driving lessons in spite of the fear is testament to that. We all went through the shaking, trembling, scared witless period. I was fortunate my dad coaxed me through it when I was in my teens. The. We. We moved to Canada, my hubby coached me on the driving rules and regulatins before I took my exams. Practice, practice, practice! That’s what it takes to conquer the fear. Then you get to own it and then fling it It into space!

  3. I have always lived by these words: our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. I think it’s from Confucius.

    Are you sure it’s fear? Or is fear the outward superficial emotion of the realization that you are not immortal, indestructible, impregnable? Those are the three I’s of adolescence. You are now an adult and you are transitioning to a deeper connection not just with yourself but your world around you.

    I am confident you have what it takes to make it out there. The fact that you are steadfast in your driving lessons in spite of the fear is testament to that. We all went through the shaking, trembling, scared witless period. I was fortunate my dad coaxed me through it when I was in my teens. Then, when We moved to Canada, my hubby coached me on the driving rules and regulatins before I took my exams. Practice, practice, practice! That’s what it takes to conquer the fear. Then you get to own it and then fling it It into space!

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