What is fear? Fear (noun), as defined in the dictionary, is the feeling or condition of being afraid. It is a distressing emotion aroused by, real or imagined, impending danger, evil, pain, etc. Psychology described it as a vital response to physical and emotional danger that could enable us to protect ourselves from legitimate threats.
Yann Martel, the Canadian author who wrote Life of Pi, has beautiful words to say about fear. He said: “I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
It is nearly impossible to find somebody without fear. Some are simple, some are complex. In fact, we could find a plethora of words with phobia attached in each in the dictionary. Fear, generally, is our reaction to the unknown…because if we know what is on the other side of fear, then we will not be afraid of it. We are only frightened because we have doubt about the outcome.
However, while we understand that this is the very nature of fear, when facing a situation, we still find ourselves overwhelmed…crippled…helpless…up to an extent where we are not even able to think rationally. In the worst situations, we tend to overthink the circumstance thereby creating ghosts and monsters that are not even there.
Here we have drawn quite a perspective about this four-letter word FEAR. Now, let us talk about the things we are scared of. One of my younger sisters used to tell me I am all guts but no skill. It is not a criticism. She was merely pointing out the fact that, at times, I could be stubbornly reckless without considering that I am actually klutzy (clumsy, graceless balance, if you prefer).
Life is damn short and living inside a box is not the way to live it. So, maladroit and all, I would not allow myself to be defined or to be bound within boundaries without giving it a try. If, after trying, I fail then, at least, I can rest easy and just let it go knowing it is beyond my limitation. As much as I can allow myself, I go out of my comfort zone…I push outside my limit; IF, and only if, I am happy in doing it. Of course, there should be always consideration…otherwise, pure recklessness without reason is not my thing.
There are not many things that I fear but I do have several. The sight of a bleeding wound creates a slicing pain in my stomach. The speeding highs-and-lows of roller coaster rides makes me want to quit right in the middle of the experience. Diving into the deep water. Being caught by a squall amidst the sea. Being in a room with too many people (well, I am scared to die of boredom or drain out energy in the middle of strangers or acquaintances I am not close to).
I fear to have children of my own because that would mean commitment and responsibility…both of which I already have plenty of and that adding of more, in my opinion, is simple stupidity (really, I am not a masochist I just do not see why I should make my life more difficult). Having even just one kid would mean I would have to be responsible for someone’s well-being and future. A 20-year project, according to Osho. Obviously, I do not have that much time. Heck, would I still want to be running around chasing a toddler at this point? God forbids. I would rather chase adventure until my strength and fragile agility (plus, ahem, my wallet) could no longer allow it.
I fear not to have my own source of income. I have been a breadwinner since my 20s. I am used to keeping myself and providing for others. Not having my own bread-and-butter would mean the inability to support my parents and some people who need me… and inability to extend financial help where it is needed. While I do not spend money on clothes, bags and shoes, I splurge money on my travel and adventure…and I splurge money to take along people I love in my travel and adventure. Life without my own money is unimaginable. Life without my own money means limited freedom. And freedom is something I do not like to run out of…without that, it is plainly not life or living.
I am deathly afraid of old age. It has nothing to do with changes in physical appearance. Not the wrinkles or the sagging skin or the eventual gaining of weight. I was never a beauty nor do I possess sexy bod so, I do not see how else my looks would bother me when there was no looks to speak of, in the first place. I can laugh at and make fun of myself without trouble hence, vanity is not in my portfolio from the beginning.
I fear old age because I am shit-scared of losing my independence…the freedom which is the air that I breathe. I see how old people slowly lose their strength and faculty of hearing, sight, memory. I see how it is that they do not have much choice but to depend on other people eventually (especially at a very old age when they need assistance for everything). Dependence, in my mind, is worse than cancer. I am used to taking care of my own mess…of being responsible for myself…of doing what I wanted to do and going where I wanted to go. Old age will rob me of all that. And that is what frightens me.
How about death? Only if it comes with pain and long suffering…otherwise, I am completely indifferent towards it. Death is just the threshold to life. I am not attached to many things and people. I have no kid. That makes thinking of death and even welcoming it, a lot easier.
So, what about you? What are your fears? Let us hear your thoughts….