Me? I've been falling down all my life, failed innumerably, been felled constantly; so fearlessness has never been a luxury of mine.
And the list is endless for many of us.
Fear of rejection, especially as a writer.
Fear of being laughed at, talked about, picked on, disliked, or excluded.
Fear of losing. A job, a loved one, an opportunity, a competition, a tooth.
Fear of being alone, dying alone, dying, period.
Fear of Armageddon. Not so much for me, but other folks really have an issue with it.
Fear of reality TV.
But at some point, while you're still living, you've got to say to hell with it. Shit. Put your fear in your fucking back pocket and move. Even just a little bit. What's the worst that can happen? You'll die? Sure. But you're gonna die if you stand still, too, so go already.
There will always be somebody out there who gets the guy, the girl, the job, the attention, or the money, when you feel more deserving, but so what? Get tired, but then get tired of getting tired and get to gettin'.
And here's a thought. Just maybe the reason you didn't get what you think you should have gotten is because you're not as good as you think you are. It happens. Trust me. So get better. Shucks.
That's not to say that everyone should and can learn to be fearless; but just because you're born in a barrel doesn't mean you have to stay there. Hell, the crabs who got out are probably the ones who lost a leg or two from being pulled back down. But isn't getting out worth taking the risk? What's holding you back? That fear again? Patooey!
Sure, I've seen the fearless fall in what I imagine it would be like to watch one of those giant, larger-than-life trees (redwoods, I believe), in a thunderous, unsettling crash, wreaking mayhem and havoc on its way down and in its wake. But even then, I can't help but admire they way they once stood up. Tall, straight, and always certain, even though their time on this earth is as uncertain as the rest of ours. Living and standing in spite of, or perhaps, in reverence of time. The way we all should live, despite our fears.
Yes, the mighty fall hard, but so do the rest of us. Who the hell cares who was closer to the ground at the time? Blah.
I'm not always certain, but I am certain that fear of dying is no reason not to live. I cannot, will not let fear cripple me. Immobilize me. It's madness. And I'm already crazy enough. I've come to believe that that whole thing about dying a thousand deaths is true. I live to die only once, if I can help it.
I originally wrote this post on 13 November 2011, three weeks after returning from deployment in Afghanistan.