I can hear it. Through the open door, to the other room. I hope it finishes soon. Though that would mean I would have to get to what I mean to do.
And though fear may not be the right word, it is the one we will use. Place all the ideas of anxiety, apprehension and worry under the shade of that term. It will work just fine.
So, my fears, right? I suppose that’s how this will get itself started.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Coffee’s done. Hold on, just a minute.
There we are.
It may be a placebo sort of deal, or I may just be mad- but that first sip produces the difference. The many cups to follow this day, which I have no doubt that there will be a good many, shall likely not live up to what had just happened.
A powerful thing, that placebo. Nothing at all, somehow made to move mountains, so to speak. Or stop any kind of force in its tracks. And these fears of mine I mean to get to might all just be placebos themselves.
I don’t seem to be one of those folks who have powerful fears of the physical sort of things. Water, fire, heights, dogs, claustrophobia- none of that stuff bothers me until the extremes are met that would bother any soul alive. I’m sure I’d be afraid of a tiger, should one be looking hungry right before me, but I don’t lose sleep over the fractions of possibilities I may run into one.
I do have fears, keeping the vague sense of definition. Besides my plethora of romantic worries and woes from a good few years of stumbling. Clumsy, heavy and impactful to those involved, I now tread more lightly than I probably should in order to avoid even the potential for catastrophe. Something I’ve been working on. In hope that it can work its goodness and help mold the other portion of my fears.
So. Not so long ago, geologically speaking, he who writes now looked out towards the world with wonder and some sort of awe. He who had just left home. He who had never been in love. Never played a show. Never wrote much more than a few scribbles. And yet, he saw for himself all the amazement of success in all that he hoped to do. Wide-reaching and profound, he thought to himself.
For he, the fantasy was more real than anything else.
He is older now. Though compared to rocks and tortoises, not by much. But as far as brand name sapiens go, a fair enough chunk of time has passed. Enough to know how he had thought things would go, is not the way we watched them go.
As a reminder, a few of these fuck-ups and stumbles have brought me to places I could have never dreamed of going, and brought a depth and even joy that could not have been conceived otherwise. But not all of them. Or most of them. And we were talking, or at least I was, of fear. So, in the words of the great Bob Ross, we’ll let the ‘happy little accidents’ be.
For if invention is the mother of necessity, then regret is the abusive step-father of fear.
And there are times for us all, I’d imagine, that the mistakes that we have made begin to sculpt the decisions that drive us forward. Not only in preventative behavior, but if harnessed with just enough precision, we can guide ourselves away from that which has led us to wish the path had gone another way. Existential bushwhacking, for those that go hiking.
Yet the ease is not usually with taking bold action. The easy part is retreat, or at least holding the position. To stay and not change anything, for if we were to try something new, it very well may destroy us. And without even knowing its happening, that one thing that we think we want to avoid suddenly changes how we approach everything else. And whilst trying not to die, we forget to live.
I know this because I do this. Not that I have halted my progress totally, but I have delayed some things to such a slow speed it would take ages to even see the change. At that rate.
Like this, for example. I started the first draft of a novel five years ago. I finished that first draft four years ago. More than half of it written in two weeks or drunken late nights and acoustic Tom Waits recordings. Oh, to be young again!
Yet here I am, the unpublished writer. With a story that if it isn’t good, it is at least socially relevant. And it is a good story. Because I am a good story teller. I could be better, but I am better than most. Awareness is not arrogance. Arrogance is ignorance.
But I could be better. And the worry of failure often keeps my attempts quelled. My hope to avoid conflict keeps me from the fights that matter.
And this fear is not just my own. Say what you will, but most of us have something of the sort that has to be dealt with. The poetic, or metaphorical mountain to climb. And sad though it might be, most of us never rise to the occasion. Something if I live long enough, I fear I may do myself. Live having regretted the path taken. The choices made. Or not made.
It is something I know I cannot afford. None of us can. A complacent world is how we got the world we got. And most folks, even if their reasons vary from brilliant to idiotic, know that this world we got, ain’t quite right. And can’t keep going how it is going. Not for much longer. But we know that it could be right. Or at least closer. But the how scares us. Because it is risky and possibly costly.
So. We ride it out. We watch the Superbowl and eat chicken wings instead. Or binge watch modern-era-teen-soap-operas. Or stay in a relationship that is boring. Or abusive. Or we get drunk and fight people to find some conflict that could be absolved the next day.
You could be one of the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of folks who just a few days ago, congregated in cities across the land with other folks who left their homes for the day to make sure it is known that they are not happy with how shit is, and potentially might go down. Love em or hate em, they got their asses off the couch. Plenty of the folks who criticize and ridicule such efforts never make any sort of effort even half comparable.
Just to use a recent example.
So where do I reside in this scale between lazy, whiney fuck and sleepless go-getter?
Well, if I’m being honest, I’m closer to the latter end. I complain to myself or aloud or here that I don’t do enough. But my life is never dull and never not busy. My regret generally comes when I choose to vegetate or relax or unwind in the moments that I find myself not bound by obligation or passion. Or sleep. Sometimes I don’t sleep much.
Saving it all for when I’m dead.
Yet I fear I be nothing more than a lethargic loudmouth. Rambling about that which he knows nothing of and which he does nothing to contribute towards. But that fear is not always crippling, and as of late, I grow better at defeating it. I make a few bold decisions, here and there.
And I keep to that which even that dopey, young man believed in. Just now, in ways he was too fool to comprehend.
Consider yourself dared to do the same.