something bigger than fear
“Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.” – Rumi
There are days where I forget myself. Days where I give in to the fear, stay inside the lines, and try to pretend that it’s all for the best. We all have those days. Those days where the safe, easy answer seems like the only logical, reasonable, sane choice. On those days, I often find myself hiding from so many things: from what I want and need, from who I am, and from who I could be.
Living in fear is not living. Living is shame is not living either. A reputation is just an idea based on something that someone else thinks. This not a personal standard. Reputations are a funny thing. You either have a good one or a bad one – is there an in-between? A blend of grey? A middle ground? I think, most often, one part overshadows the whole. But that’s another story for another time.
Today, for an inexplicable reason, I was afraid. I had a thought, and the thought followed me everywhere. It was one of those damned what-if worries. It wasn’t based in anything rational or solid. It was irrational and ridiculous. But sometimes, our brains take that crazy leap across the chasm, voluntarily landing on the other side – only to discover it’s populated with rabid wolves, quicksand, and very disgruntled cannibals. In short: BAD. Very bad. Hid the fava beans – and DRINK the Chianti.
What does one do with fear? It’s not a physical thing. You can’t stuff it in a closet. You can’t kick the shit out of it. You can’t even ignore it. You are housing it. You are holding it. You are listening to its idiot whispers in your ear. How do you fight against something akin to the wind?
The truth is: you don’t. You find something bigger than the fear. You find something stronger than it. You find something worth standing up, worth being brave for, worth risking everything for. And you do it. You dance in the middle of a crowded room. You dance by yourself in the kitchen. You dance down the aisle of a grocery store. That is both a literal suggestion and a figurative one.
It doesn’t matter what you’re afraid of. It doesn’t matter how fierce the fear is. There is always something bigger than whatever it is that you’re afraid of. There is always something to give you strength, be it a person or a passion. There is hope. There are desires. There are dreams. There is love. There is friendship.
Fear can swallow a person whole. It can stick you straight to a single spot, even if that spot is hell. And then, one day, you say enough. Then, one day, you say no more. And you change everything – even if that change begins with nothing more than a decision, a single step. That is all it takes to change anything: one move in a direction. One.
The door is wide open. You just have to walk through it.