Fearless Is Not The Absence Of Fear

I am in a strange mindset tonight and so I’ve turned my phone off and closed all tabs involving social media. In fact, before I decided to go on here and write this post the only thing on my laptop that was open was Scrivener and iTunes. You see, I’ve been in a great mood today, today was one of those days that when a person asked me how I was doing and I replied with “fantastic!” it was not weighed down by sarcasm, because today every aspect of my life was indeed fantastic. I was in a good mood, I’d been writing and for a while I was incredibly crushed because I was so immersed in my writing that the character’s grief became my own, I was not being weighed down by limitations. I’d gotten off a bus stop several stops away from the one that was closest to where I was going, simply because I wanted to take a weird route through the narrow cobblestone streets in the city and just walk across the river towards my destination instead of rushing from a to b, because some times I’m strange like that. I stopped trying to make sense of my mind a long time ago.

Right now I’ve got my headphones plugged in, listening to an album called ‘Chaos and the Calm’ by James Bay. I could turn the speakers on and turn the volume up, but then the outside world would still be there, now there is nothing but melodies and words, and for now the outside is on pause. This album is an emotional journey through and through, it truly is both chaos and calm, and everything in between. Hence why I’m here typing, forever typing, and not getting to the point. I’m not sure if I even have a point.

There is a line in the very first song on the album called ‘Craving’ that goes ‘Cause I’m craving, craving, craving something I can feel / Where do I go, what do I need, is it ecstasy or is it fear?’ Fear is an interesting concept for me, so is the notion of being ‘fearless’, personally I believe there is no such thing, not in the way many mean it anyway.

The one time I’ve been fearless was the worst time of my life. It wasn’t bravery at all but rather emotional numbness. Sure, the fear was gone, but so was every other emotion: anger, sadness, joy, disgust, anticipation, surprise and trust, none of them existed. It was just an empty void of nothing. Six years ago I was over life, I didn’t see the point of it because the void was an all consuming ocean that had pulled me under. Now? Now I’m as in love with life as I’ve ever been.

And I’m scared every single day. Fear is my constant companion, it’s in everything I do and everything I say.

Every time that I’ve started to get my footing in the last six years something has happened to knock me back down, one of them being that I was diagnosed with a chronic illness in 2013. I’ve been knocked down more times than I can pull off the top of my head. Crushed and created, melted and made. I’m not an optimist because I don’t know anything apart from joy, quite the contrary, I’m an optimist because I choose to be. I like the feeling of being happy, it’s such an effortless sensation, and it’s not draining like a lot of other things, it also doesn’t take an active effort.

I’ve had my world end many times, only to have it begin the next morning. I’ve been so suffocated by my illness that my own mind and body has failed me, I’d try to say a word and a slur would come out, I’ve had to take a break in the middle of the stairs in our house because walking the whole thing in one go was absolute torture. I’ve lain in my bed, at 5am, unable to sleep for the seventh night in a row and watched the sun rise with a bitter feeling in my mouth. I’ve curled up many times thinking “I can’t do this anymore” in the last two years only to eventually fall asleep and have it all continue the next day.

I remember coming out of the house for the first time in weeks back in 2013 and going to the store with my father only to have to lean against a wall, unable to keep myself upright. At the time I honestly believed my body was rotting from the inside out, I saw no way out, and I remember laying my sweaty cheek against the cold wall saying, “I wonder if this is what dying feels like. Slowly losing control of your body, and forced to witness everything that makes you, you, slip away while there is nothing you can do to stop it”. But that day too ended and began again the next morning and there has been many low moments after it and many more to come I’m sure.

It was when I let go of the hold that the concept of fear had on me that I came alive. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m an over-thinker and a catastrophic thinker as well as a cynical optimist, if you ever saw such a thing. My mind constantly whirls through possible scenarios that will never happen, but there is a 0.00001% that it might. I just don’t feed the fear, I try not to anyway, it all depends on what it is.

I fear a lot of things. Me and fear we walk hand in hand, our interlaced fingers giving off the impression that we are old friends. We are not friends, we’ve simply come to an understanding as we can’t live without each other. I fear people most of all, but I love them too. We’re all broken in some way or another, we’ve all known hardship. We are all complicated beings. Our pasts helps others understand what became of that wide eyed child that only saw wonderful things, but it doesn’t decide who we are today, it’s merely a shortcut for anyone looking to pick us apart at first opportunity. Personally, I like the mystery, I like the intricate way we work, how we all handle the same thing in different ways. Someone once told me I was ‘beautifully broken‘, but aren’t we all? We all have battle scars, we just wear them in different ways, shapes and forms.

I don’t think the concept of being Fearless is the absence of fear, in my world being fearless means that you have fears, lots of them, and live your life with passion and a kind heart despite it all. I fear a lot of things, but I am not afraid of my life anymore. Six years ago I couldn’t feel anything at all and now I feel more than I could ever have imagined was possible. Letting emotions rage within me is the only way I know how to live now, and it scares me to death. You don’t get to pick and choose which emotions to have, you can’t have one without the other and so I choose to have them all. They take turns on being on the surface, none of them are suppressed anymore, and that’s okay.

Fearless is not the absence of fear, it’s having fears and acknowledging them, it’s not letting the fear hinder you in doing what you feel is right in your heart. Fearless is feeling. Fearless is living.

Pink Floyd has a song that goes ‘I knew the moment had arrived, for killing the past and coming back to life‘ and I suppose that is what I’m doing, because the future is too bright to be tainted by the past. Happiness is not a destination, it is a way of life.

Until next time,

– Martie xx