Ha! Scared you…not. And even if I did, I didn’t give you fear. Fear isn’t a now-experience, it’s a may-be experience. Without anticipation, there is no fear. Without that anticipation being of an undesirable outcome, there is no fear. Hitchcock understood that.
The ability to anticipate future events and their outcomes. What a marvelous thing that is. You start the day thinking about the evening yet to come with your honey. On the other hand, you might start the day thinking about having to face your boss to tell em[[daggerto]] that you are late with the company-saving project whose deadline is today.
Adrenaline. It’s a marvelous thing. Especially when a tiger is chasing after you. In situations like that, it’s hard to get enough adrenaline. Too often, adrenaline is that thing that keeps us awake at night and our insides tied up every conscious minute. It’s because we are anxious that we will receive a bad outcome, one that will cause us pain. Or worse.
Pain. Death. Illness. Loss. Ability. Abandonment. Status. There are a few more, but our fears are always based on something primal and simple. When that bear is chasing us, fear is what gives us the possibility of survival. As the old joke goes, fear isn’t that thing that propels us to out-run that bear, fear is that thing that propels us to out-run the person we are with.
So, what do I fear?
Not a lot, actually. Sure I don’t look forward to unpleasant outcomes, but they don’t cause a huge rush of adrenaline. Even so, I do have one fear that has given me problems most of my life: I’m afraid of heights. More specifically, I’m afraid of heights when I’m unsecured.
My dad was most definitely not afraid of heights. Stories abounded of his lack of trepidation in trees or on roofs. Me…opposite. Intellectually, I understand that an incline on the ground is the same as an incline ten feet off the ground. The first, I’ll bound about with abandon. The second…I’ll be clutching for anything to make me feel safe all the while my inner-voice is saying, “GetmedownGetmedownGetmedown….”
No amount of desensitizing has helped. Despite this fear, people and situations constantly require me to ascend beyond my comfort zone. Roofs, trees, catwalks, whatever.
My trouble is that I was a gifted child. I had a very healthy respect for gravity. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know what it was. I’m sure my mom’s fear of me falling and breaking my neck, or cracking open my skull (both scenarios she constantly reminded me of when I was little) didn’t help.
Despite my adherence to The Rule (“Be good to others; try to not be afraid”), the fact is that fear does crop up within me from time to time. Fortunately, experience has taught me that most things that are scary don’t need to cause us to be fearful. In fact, right now the only thing that gives me knots in my stomach (when I’m not up on a roof or a tree), is not knowing where America is headed.
I know. That sounds more like the subject of a paper than something to be afraid of. The thing is…well, I’ll not go into details. It may be like what FDR said when he proclaimed in his first inaugural address that: “Only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
On the other hand, I can’t help flashing back to Germany in the 1930s and how people rightfully tried to leave before the things they were anticipating would happen actually became something to fear. The trouble is that you can’t know what the result will be until after it has happened. Were you running from a shadow or from a bear?
This post is part of a “group blog” project that is held every week that is hosted by a blogger I’ve been following for quite a while, Stephanie Faris. Each Thursday, everyone participating writes on the same topic and links up. Seems like a cool idea (i.e., it saves me the trouble of thinking up a topic).