I’m not afraid of heights, or spiders. Insects or mice or pain. Not even dying.
No tightly enclosed spaces, pitch-black caves or sharp-toothed monsters.
I am strange.
But I do fear.
I fear failure.
A silly fear it seems, at least when I speak it aloud, since it is by definition part of what being a human is all about. It’s less that I fear public embarrassment and more that I don’t want to let down those closest to me, or worse, myself.
I fear a life of mediocrity.
That’s a big one. I fear waking up one morning in a 70 year-old body without having done the slightest interesting thing. That the majority of the world would continue on the exact same path despite whether or not I had been born. I fear insignificance. I fear normal. I fear that my biggest contribution would be that I was an example of an ‘average’ American during a specific time period. I want to make a difference, but at the same time a little voice nags me about all the other people who wanted to do the same thing, then shortly after had life beat the crap out of them and decided it wasn’t worth it. I fear that I don’t and won’t matter.
I fear the insecurity of being an outsider.
To figure out how to fit in with those around me, and yet still be myself. As a consequence, I usually don’t speak a lot until I have sized up a situation and the people involved. Being identified as ‘different’ is great, when it’s what you’re going for. When it’s not, you stand alone. No one likes standing alone.
I fear the uncertain.
The unknown is not scary. I know that it is unknown and am comfortable in that. The uncertain, however, to me occurs when I have a choice with all the results of the choice being vague. The indecision, especially with a pressing need to make a choice NOW abruptly flings me back to the first fear. Fear of somehow choosing wrongly and failing because of my choice.
I fear being trapped.
Eowyn from Lord of the Rings said it best, “A cage. To stay behind bars until use and old age accept them and all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire.” To be trapped, unable to move, to do. When everything is taken out of your control and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. The worst part is, you can’t even move. You can’t move on, you can’t move past, you can’t move away. You are trapped. Caged.
I do not fear the tangible as much. Perhaps I should. It is the intangible, the ideas, the mind that scares me. I hate fear because it seems weak. But I understand it’s purpose.
Without fear, there is no courage.
I would rather be courageous than fearless.