I wanted to say it was anxiousness that caught me before I sat here to write.
It was not.
It was fear.
What specifically towards? I suppose I’ll try and find that out, here and now. It was not a fear I have seemed to be able to manage well. And that, is what might be most troubling about it. I know what it is to confront fears. To focus, to rationalize, to mitigate, and so on. But this fear didn’t seem to have a face. Nor was it an object, or item or an occurrence specifically. And it is not a fear of death, for despite its many faces, I can usually sense it lingering. After all, danger is no stranger.
It’s not what you might think, either. I don’t fear that. Not for myself. And not for those closest to me. Not with the precautions I regularly (previous to national sway) have taken. And not with the knowledge I wield.
Not to say it isn’t dangerous. And while it may be a new realization for some folks- for me, I’ve kept the reality of the regularly occurring dangers of just existing as I do and have, where I am on this planet, and further through the cosmos. If you weren’t aware already, sentient life on this rock was already in an exquisite balance on a tremendously thin line with inconceivable depths on either side.
Shit, a tree could fall right where I sit and turn me into a pile of mush, or we could tilt an ass hair off our axis and the whole world fries or freezes.
So, no. Not a fear of death.
And I regularly do as much as a I possibly can to prevent the demise of any of my other fellow humans. In fact, I professionally work towards the opposite.
But life isn’t just about not dying. Right?
I was sure I was once sure of that. I am still. Right? Yes, I’m certain. Life is not about avoiding death.
Life is about living.
So, is it life that I fear?
Sure, my routine, pre-pandemic, that I had gotten quite satisfied with has gone away. And I am no stranger to stay at home parenting. Hell, it was only a short while where I had gotten used to my small one being at school for only half a day. And, unlike the shitting and crying machine that children are in their infancy (and my daughter was a pretty good baby, all things considered)- the child now is her own version of a person, with thoughts and hopes and ideas and emotions. She doesn’t need my constant attention to maintain her life form. She wants my attention as she navigates what it means to be a person in what her version of the world looks like.
And despite my many efforts to look into that perspective, I know I never will fully succeed. As I know my parents tried for me, and though they knew much to guide me regarding questions they surely had some form of themselves- you can never really quite get the same point of view of someone else. And a grown person can only do so much to see life as a child. Likely why, kids can so often feel misunderstood.
Perhaps, that is my fear.
So, I wonder what her world must seem like now. Though she doesn’t know all that much about it, she is still keen enough to sense the anxiety in the world all around her. And it does hold impact, though I think I’ve managed to work in many a thing from my own storage cells of childhood enjoyment to out weigh anything else.
I mean, we were in the music room for an hour today. I was goofing around and making a racket of all sorts of instruments with loops and gimmicks and such, while she played with the cheap stage lights I have and danced around with one of her long hair ribbons. That mixed with Legos, Legend of Zelda and making our own pizza makes for a fairly kick-ass day.
But it still lingers, and she knows it. She knows it because she hasn’t seen her grandparents outside of a screen in a very long time. And school just stopped being at school and started being on a screen or with me. And screens are fucking bad for kids. They’re bad for everyone, he said surrounded by so many screens of his own.
I suppose I was lucky. I was ten when I had my first world changing event. And mine was much more concise and identifiable. Boom. Buildings gone. This many people dead, which was still a number I was beyond grasping. But it was there, along with the numbers of the sub-groups that connected to me more personally. I remember a funeral I went to, for a man I can’t remember meeting. I cried, because I was sad. And I was sad because everyone was sad. But I remember, in all that sadness, a man in a uniform that I could trust, smiled when we made eye contact. There were tears in his eyes, but he smiled at me, from the pew behind and to the right. I never heard him say a word, and I don’t think I could pick him out of a line up if you asked me today. And his smile wasn’t a happy one. It was noble fight through melancholy. And it told me, was that this, despite how sad it was, was okay. His smile told me, at my first decade marker of life, that to be sad was a good thing, but to keep living and marching towards happiness was better.
His smile told me, that life, is for the living.
I try to be a person that others can trust, considering I have that uniform now. But I am just a man, as was he. We are all just human. In all our shapes and sizes.
I suppose the fear comes from that which I cannot seem to control. That which I cannot seem to console in others. And my own feeling of unfulfillment. I did have grander plans for all this time. But I don’t believe I’ll go on groaning on about that. I’ve still got it better than a lot of folks. But my efforts brought me here, and they need to bring me further still.
And my efforts must still do more, to share as much life as I can, with the rest of all you living.
I will not be caught standing idly by. It brings out too many bad habits. And I’ve been trying to shake those.