Psychic Fear

Posted on Sunday 18 November 2007

Hope is the go-to charm, the point of it all, the reason to get up and do it all again. Hope, however, in reality, can be fleeting. It often caves in to fear.

Fear, on the other hand, is a powerful force. It sticks around, even when you are ready to shove it very far away. Fear treads a fine line of keeping you on this side of harm and on that side of taking the extra step into the scary, but necessary, unknown.

On a good day, fear tempers my adolescent risk-taker mentality that doesn’t surface often these days, but surfaces often enough because these days are strange times. I welcome the checks and balances that this fear affords me.

But fear can get out of control, careening through one’s being like a virus run amok. It can steel your heart so completely that it shuts down your heart to someone wonderful. It can course through your veins and drug you into thinking that all planes will crash, all heights will cause you to fall, and all public interaction is doomed.

Fear, if one lets it, can paralyze you to such an extent that you never see your loved ones, nor those who may potentially love you. Fear, in a word, often sucks. And because I know variations on these types of fear, I face it head on.

Everyday, I push through the fear that makes me wonder if I have made all the wrong decisions that led me to South Florida. Everyday, I force myself to don a game-face smile that oozes confidence and bright optimism, and sometimes I mean it. Everyday, I am scared to open the front door and take that first step outside of my apartment, because I am so utterly in fear that this is the day that the tenuous life I am barely beginning to build will come crashing down, and no one will ever know–or have known me. And then I keep going, and the day is usually fine.

Because I am now a weekday lunch gal at work, I fearfully faced, for the first time since I moved here, the fear of aloneness that looms long and large over a two-day traditional weekend that most working people enjoy. I discovered there is only so much laundry and grocery shopping to do and only so many made-up errands to run, before it’s just me in my apartment, all over again.

Here’s how I filled the weekend hours: I ran three miles on Saturday. I walked six miles on Sunday. I took more than a hundred photos over both days, trashing most and saving the ten best. I then chronicled in my mind the photos I didn’t take during the few hours when I didn’t have my camera, chastising myself for the billionth time about why I should ALWAYS have my camera with me.

On Saturday, I watched the Jayhawks trounce Iowa State by myself, at a quiet sports bar with a zillion TVs, accepting a diet Coke from a nice gentleman who has two boys attending KU. On Sunday, I watched the Redskins lose a game they should have won against Dallas, amidst many a new acquaintance, including the Dallas friend I ultimately owed a drink to, and whom I ultimately did not join, despite his urging, at another spot at the beach.

On this night of pushing fear to the back row, I met a Patrick who was rooting for the Bears. I met a Patrick who was rooting for Dallas as I cheered the Redskins. And then, because these things happen in threes, I found a flyer tucked under my windshield wiper from “Psychic Readings By Patrick” when Sunday afternoon football finally ended, and I headed to my car.

“I can help where others have failed,” he wrote in this flier. “Call for one free question,” he urged.

Okay. Sure. But what would I ask? Can I guess his answer?

For now, for today, I would ask this: “Will I ever let go of my fear and allow myself to just have fun and watch the Redskins as I cheer on the other teams I don’t care about? Oh, yeah, and what about having a semblance of peace in my heart?”

On second thought, Patrick, I am good with simply having the Redskins win next week; and I am thanking you for answering with a brief but fun coffee this morning at a most unexpected time and in the most unlikely space. Right, and thank you, also, for answering with the nail salon tech who almost asked for my ID because she thought I had to be 30 years old–and that made me laugh.

Fear, you have power, but not longevity with this gal. Getting through the next day, casting the following day’s fear aside, albeit only a day at a time–I think I have that down pat.

Good day. Bring on tomorrow, tempered, please, with a healthy fear properly balanced by hope.

12 Comments for 'Psychic Fear'

  1.  
    November 19, 2007 | 12:14 pm
     

    Great post, RG, and it’s about time. I truly enjoy your writing.

    I’m especially happy you view your fears — actually, the idea of fear itself — in a healthy manner. The next step, it seems, is to view fear as what it really is: an illusion…your own concept, if you will.

    When you realize your fears are simply old conditioning and ingrained habits surfacing, you will see they don’t serve you in any constructive way, and immediately begin to attract harmony & peace in every corner of your life. I’m living proof that we are what we regularly focus our attention on.

    Before you dismiss me as…I don’t know, whatever, understand that I’ve been through quite a bit in my relatively short life, and have experienced many seemingly unbelievable miracles. I simply had to learn to get out of my own way and, at that point, the infinite possiblities began to appear.

    Don’t be afraid, RG…just trust.

    Peace,

    – Dennis
    http://www.donttipthewaiter.blogspot.com

  2.  
    November 19, 2007 | 3:24 pm
     

    You win, you did more in your 2 day weekend that I have all year. Sounds like an interesting weekend and you wrote about it very well. Oh just for the record, and being a die-hard Bears fan. UGGGGH! There is always next week, but how much losing can one take. I may just skip the Bears game and head straight to your site to read about your adventures. Much much beter than then watching the Bears. Uuugh!

  3.  
    Donna
    November 19, 2007 | 8:25 pm
     

    This was a very timely post – I’m off to China on holiday by myself tonight and I am petrified. I have been trying to work through my fear of the unknown because I do not want to miss out on what could be a fantastic adventure. So, I suppose fear can be used as a catalyst, a way to temper my steel (sorry, that was a very messy metaphor!) Don’t worry, you are not alone in this struggle!!!

  4.  
    Restaurant Gal
    November 19, 2007 | 8:40 pm
     

    Dennis–What a nice comment. And yes, getting out of my own way and putting aside old conditioning is the goal. So how did you manage it? And the mIracles? and infinite possibilities–did you know them when they presented themselves? Just wondering. Maybe it all gets back to getting out of one’s way. But thank you for offering up your own hope.

    Augs–I am so sorry about your Bears. Really. I am sorry about my Redskins. Really. But what I am REALLY happy about, is that I have not yet developed an attachment to the Dolphins! Pull up a chair and check in as often as you like.

    Donna–A friend of mine went to Japan on her own, also terrified. She wrote a daily journal about it all, something she had not intended to do until I urged her to forget about writing well and just write it all down. She is so glad she did, and I was so glad to read all about it. Please, write back and share your holiday magic, espceially a good restaurant tale!

  5.  
    spatchergal
    November 20, 2007 | 12:03 am
     

    KU fan (and attendee) here. This is a phenomenal year for the ‘Hawks, glad to see we stuck with you after travelling thru our fair state! :- )

  6.  
    Restaurant Gal
    November 20, 2007 | 7:00 am
     

    spatchergal–Everyone at work used to make fun of my obsession with ‘hawks football. No one is laughing at me now, and they all pretend they knew all the along this was THE team to watch. What’s killing me, is that I may be on a plane during Saturday night’s HUGE game!

  7.  
    Julie
    November 20, 2007 | 10:04 am
     

    RG, This was a timely post for me as my company is going through (another) reorg. After nearly 10 years working for them, my last day will be in January. While I am usually hopeful and have a great attitude about most things, I was really down yesterday when I read this for the first time. Now, I’m fighting back the fear of looking for a new job with the hope that I’ll make some new friends along the way. Thank you!

  8.  
    November 20, 2007 | 6:05 pm
     

    Shooooo, I almost had a panic attack reading this!

  9.  
    Restaurant Gal
    November 20, 2007 | 7:51 pm
     

    Julie–Much good luck on the job hunt. I know you will land in just the right place.

    Upset Waitress–But you didn’t, did you? 😉

  10.  
    Lex
    November 20, 2007 | 11:28 pm
     

    Hope is a tricky rascal, isn’t she? Great post.

    I think there’s a balancing point between hope and fear. I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s the place I long to be. Hope aches for the future. Fear aches from the past. I want to just…be. Maybe that’s the midpoint: being fully present in the now.

  11.  
    Deanna
    November 26, 2007 | 5:59 pm
     

    Thanks for this. I just started a new job last week and your post made me realize that fear is some of this unease I’m feeling. For me, understanding what I’m feeling is a giant step towards conquering the hurdle. So thanks for the heads up – and good luck with your hurdle as well.

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