Monday, August 2, 2010

Fear can make a donkey attack a lion...(Arab Proverb)

Fear is an ugly word. an ugly four-letter word. 

A few months ago I had an email conversation with a dear friend of mine (we've known each other since high school.) We were discussing the upcoming release of my poetry collection (which is causing some mild anxiety - because of course, I want it to be PERFECT!)
I used a variety of words to describe my state of mind, and wrote: 

it's not fear.  it's just slight antsy-ness. a mixture of anxious and something else.  not worry or concern - but jitters.  like going on stage. excited, but mildly nauseated.  

and she repeated the word...FEAR.

I said:

but they (my words) don't sound as bad as FEAR! ...and it's not something that would keep me from doing it. there's simply a YIKES about being so close

Then, my long-time friend, my confidant, touchstone...the woman who calls bullshit on me, said:

You can’t escape fear, it’s an autonomic response.  A good one, as it’s what makes you haul ass so the saber-toothed tiger doesn’t eat you.  Or in this case motivates Karen’s DELUXE gene  – the Yikes factor – to avoid perceived failure.

Fear by itself is simply a motivator.  Fear is being on the verge, fear is the unknown, fear is the state right before a revelation, breakthrough etc.  It’s what happens on the other side of fear that can be good or “ugly.”  Fear is a vehicle to harness.

to which I replied: 

it sounds so pretty when you say it that way.

I've always associated fear with those who are too afraid to try anything! too afraid to change. too afraid to MOVE. too afraid to do anything but lock up inside themselves and let the world go on around them. 

Fear, by my definition, and what I've witnessed in life and people around me, has not been a motivator, but the thing that causes one to completely stall out. 

That's why I detest the word. Fear, in my vocabulary, has a very different definition than what you've just given. 

I like yours better.

prompt #14 Do you allow your fears to motivate you or stop you? What do you fear most? 

~ Blog Giveaway ~
I will be selecting two people to receive a copy of my poetry collection Three Thousand Doors. In order to get your name in the hat all you have to do is leave a comment anytime during August. I will announce the winners on Monday September 6th.


Scott Horn said...

Excellent and timely post Karen. I had to face one of those fearful moments this weekend. Glad I did it.

Dezi said...

I think it stops me at the very beginning, but then it motivates me! I think it keeps me cautious, but ultimately drives me to overcome it.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Fear definitely drives me-it's a positive force that spurs me into action. But, you know, everyone's different. Fear can have the opposite effect on some people, just completely immobilizing them.

Which makes for an interesting dynamic if opposite-reactions-to-fear marry. :-)

Cyndi Mulligan said...

I've seen the acronym F-alse E-vidence A-ppearing R-eal. Reminds me of the statement (by Mark Twain?) "My life has been a series of tragedies, most of which never happened." I tend toward paralysis, anesthesia, or denial. Unless some brave soul comes alongside to bolster...

candace said...

i plan to buy a copy, but i had to comment!
i think that this scary-ness of fear is what Shakespeare was talking about. never really made sense to me before, but i get it now.

Sarah said...

"You only fear the unknown or past bad experience. Past failures bring future fears. Fear and faith don't operate together. Fear is your worst enemy when it's allowed to operate. "

Just some of the reading I have been doing's part of the whole thing we were talking about. Funny you thin should be fear right now as well.

Brenda said...

I'll never think about fear in quite the same way. Great post!

Anonymous said...

In a class for expressive art the assignment was to draw "fear."
The colors and scrawls that emerged from my chalk revealed that fear resided in my heart and was the cause of my elevated blood pressure.
Much healthier to transfer it to words as you have done. Congrats.
Lucile Cason