Everyone is Afraid

“Fear tells us nothing,” said a (serious) boyfriend one night over a supper I’d prepared us in my apartment near the University of Denver. I was on the threshold of divorcing the Immature X who didn’t live with me. I guess my boyfriend thought I was afraid of divorcing the Immature X. But what I feared was the Immature X (with good reason). It’s pretty fuzzy at this point.

I thought about that over the years, though. Did fear really “…tell us nothing”? I think fear is pretty informative.

BUT… Fear can certainly keep us from exploring to get answers to questions we really don’t want the answer to. We humans seem to envisage bad news more readily than good news.

A few years AFTER that, neither the Immature X nor the boyfriend in the picture, I was reading Hemingway. He writes a lot about fear, making the point that without fear we don’t need courage. The fearless person isn’t brave. Now I think that the person who appears fearless is probably terrified, defiant or stupid. It’s just the people who are NOT that person who think he’s fearless. Hemingway defined courage as, “Grace under pressure.” That worked for me.

Seven years ago I was 48 hours away from leaving California after living there for 30 years. I was leaving a house I loved in a place I loved (and still miss). If I’d had a real choice I wouldn’t have left, but I didn’t have a choice. Everyone around me at the time commented on my courage to take off alone across the desert to a town in which I didn’t know anyone and where I did not have a place to live. I kept trying to explain that it wasn’t courage; it was necessity, but I don’t think they understood that. One of my friends thought I was doing it to spite her!

You learn a lot about people when you’re under duress. People hate having their status quo messed up and will look for someone to blame before they’ll listen to what’s really going on.

The reality was that I was afraid of losing everything as I’d lost my job through no fault of my own. Time was NOT on my side ($$$$$$) and I had to GET OUT OF there. I wondered if everyone around me was so well placed that their lives couldn’t be upended. But the past year or so has shown that any life can be upended.

If I could talk to the boyfriend about fear now, I think it would be a very interesting conversation. The ONE thing he should have feared. he didn’t know about. I think danger is often like that. We face blind curves all the time. The unknown is just that. Knowledge is the only thing we have with which to face all the booby-traps and pitfalls. I guess it was yesterday I read about the two parents who died of Covid-19, leaving behind 5 kids, one of which is a newborn that neither parent ever saw and who remains unnamed. The reason those parents had not been vaccinated? “They wanted to know more about the vaccine before they had the shot.” I truly do not know how to feel about that other than that, in fact, I don’t have to feel anything about it other than sorry for their family. ❤

25 thoughts on “Everyone is Afraid

  1. “Fear tells us nothing.” Yipes. Not sure if the ex thought he was being wise or manipulative, but I’m not sure we could have advanced as a species without it. It’s actually a pretty ridiculous statement.

    Good stuff as always.

    • Thank you — yeah, I don’t know what Peter (his name) meant. He was a little prone to verbal elegance that had no objective meaning in life as we know it. 😀 Especially as I still have a broken molar given to me by the Immature X

    • Thank you for just saying it straight. I want to slap those parents. My town just held a “Freedom Rally” to protest the Colorado Dept of Health mandate that health care workers must be vaccinated. I don’t know why they don’t realize that IF people had gotten vaccinated by themselves out of prudence and smarts no one would be mandating anything. Sometimes I wonder how I got in this country. I don’t recall traveling or a visa 😉

  2. My life has been uprooted many times. Through the fear I found some grit. Coupled with grace it seemed to be a good combo for me. Placing boundaries is a necessity for me and it’s because of the strength I found when I was fearful. And I’m thankful for common sense. I pray just for that and will never understand why humans make everything so complicated (including me). I’m in Alaska and actually taking a break. Ive always been an early riser. And chasing a two year old (teaching him I mean ;), is a lot harder than it used to be, but I’m holding my own and eating up every second. They all here have their opinions about the shot. My oldest had the shot and then had Covid. He’s golden with his immunity. My youngest son was scheduled for his when he had Covid. Now he’s doubled in protection I feel too. There’s so much we don’t know. But I’ll not walk around in fear. I’ve trusted so many of the “wrong” people. Yet, my heart still says I must trust. And my brain seems to still work to combine the logic and love. I hope my systems stay healthy 🙃❤️💛💜 I miss my Finley and writing a lot. I know she’s in good hands, but I’ve gone 4 years without hardly a night away from her. I’ll soak in ever moment I have left. I saw the Northern Lights and felt my first earthquake. But the sights of these kids truly make Alaska more stunning. Love to you, Teddy, and Bear, Martha. Stay safe and healthy please. ❤️💛💜

  3. Wow! Heartbreaking ending.
    Fear is a slippery, ego driven eel. Often it is trying to keep us in a very small box that the ego can “control.” I enjoyed your thoughts and the story you wove.

  4. I’m well acquainted with fear. I am not a risk taker and fear has played a big role in keeping me from danger. But it is a double edged sword – it has also kept me from what might have been high adventure and life altering revelations… I’ve learned to take some risks and put fear in my back pocket…

  5. I like your distinction between fear and necessity.

    Fear is meant to be short-lived response too something, to keep us alive, to elicit a fight or flight reaction in the moment. Now, though, we have way too much time to think about what scares us, and that either makes one retreat (refusing to take any action) or do stupid stuff (e.g. storm the capitol on Jan 6th because of an irrational fear of losing one’s “freedom”). Decisions and laws based on fear and emotional reactions to feeling “threatened” are almost always bad, in the long run. Decisions and laws based on necessity, however, tend to be rational, after weighing pros and cons of particular options.

    I actually think fear tells us a lot, but usually about others and how they handle it. Sadly, today our culture is full of fear-mongers, especially in politics, so there are way too many fearful reactions to observe all around. It’s exhausting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.