Friday, April 5, 2013

'Fraid Not

I am, simply put, a scaredy-cat. Shivering, whimpering in a corner, scared ass wuss.

Yup. I just said that. I just called myself a wuss. And I am. Truth is, I can't escape it anymore. Can't pretend that I'm just trying to be rational, practical, reasonable, logical, possible -- when, in fact, I am merely making excuses to not do something, not try something.

I didn't used to be this way.

Truly. I was fearless. The first to try anything. The first to take a dare. The first to even propose a dare and do it. Carefree, cautionless, courageous. I am lion, hear me roar.

Just one example? When I used to ski, it was all about the faster, the better. I was the epitome of the "Better Off Dead " line: "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."

As an aside, "Better off Dead" is a fantastic movie. Call in sick to life today, as recommended in my last blog post, and watch it. Seriously. 

And.... My how life has changed. Before? ROAR!!!!!!!! Seriously: This was me.

Now? Meow......

Fear. It's all fear. I can't escape the fact any more that I now have fear. Of a lot of things. And not just concrete things -- in fact, more likely than not, abstract things.

I'm told it's part of growing up -- part of being an adult. Well then, it's one of the negative things of being a grown up. As fear is paralyzing.... I know all too well.

And of course, one of our nation's favorite quotes -- one usually misquoted actually -- is Franklin Delano Roosevelt's quote on fear, from his First Inaugural Address:
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
Well, he was right. Fear is a nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes. I know all too well.

Just one example? Now when skiing, I stand at the top of the hill, stare down in to what feels like a fathomless abyss, and shiver. I have to psyche myself in to actually pushing off. There is no "go that way, really fast." There is no "don't worry, be happy."

Nope. No Bobby McFerrin and especially no Bob Marley.

Caution does not -- never ever -- get thrown to the wind. In fact, nothing gets thrown to the wind any more. It's all held tightly to my chest. Tightly. Ever so tightly. 

 It makes me miss being a kid again. Not having any sense of logic, rationality, what's possible and impossible. 

As the Queen pointed out in "Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There":
"I daresay you haven't had much practice. When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

Well, the Queen was right: it is a shame that we lose our ability to believe in impossible things as we get older. It is a shame that we gain fear in return. It is a shame, therefore, that we don't practice believing in impossible things at all. Not just as adults, but as kids.

True, as kids, believing in impossible things comes more naturally. But by getting rid of "play" -- by insisting that our kids have every minute scheduled and filled -- we are removing even their chance of not just practicing but actually believing in impossible things.

And if we want to move beyond fear -- if we want to realize that all we truly have to fear is fear itself -- then we have to start practicing AND believing in impossible things. As I don't know about you, but for myself, I want to be... 'fraid not.

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