Friday, February 24, 2017

For Fuck's Sake, Quit Letting Fear Control Your Life

An interviewer asked me,
 "When was the last time you were afraid?"

I answered him honestly,

"I don't think I have been afraid for a very, very long time. Not since I was a child, because I figured out early on, that is how people control you."

I remember precisely. I was 8.

Yeah, pretty crazy, but a lot of stuff in my life that seemed normal at the time is kind of insane when I look back on it. That's another story, though.

When I was in juvenile hall, this belief was even more confirmed. They find out what you are afraid of - being locked in solitary, handcuffed - whatever it is - and then they threaten you with that.

It's not that stuff didn't hurt. I was a 14-year-old girl with my hands handcuffed behind my back having a full grown man who was a guard punch me in the face. Yeah, it hurt. That's why I don't talk about this stuff very much, because it totally sucked. It's why I don't write my autobiography - because who wants to relive that shit?

I'm talking about it today, though, because I see too many people living lives that are dominated by fear, even if they won't admit it to themselves.

  • I'm afraid we won't get along if we work together.
  • I'm afraid of what people will say if I quit my job.
  • I'm afraid no one will love me if I break up with my boyfriend/girlfriend .
  • I'm afraid I'll lose everything if I start a business.
  • I'm afraid immigrants will take my jobs if we let them in the country.
  • I'm afraid Muslims will kill me if we let them in the country.
  • I'm afraid my mother won't love me if I say honestly what I think.
  • I'm afraid my children won't respect me if I admit I made mistakes.
  • I'm afraid if I leave this group of friends I'll never find real friends again.

I could go on and on and on.

When did we become such cowards?

If I was afraid of something, I would do it and then I wouldn't be afraid any more. The worst thing that you think will happen probably won't and even if it does, you'll survive it and be stronger.

God, just stop!  If I could do it when I was 8, you can sure the fuck do it now at however old you are.


Anonymous said...

You weren't afraid at any point when you were pregnant with your kids? You weren't afraid when your husband broke his back? You weren't afraid when he passed away and everything was riding on you? You weren't afraid when your daughter ran away from home in the middle of the night?

I sincerely hope you're exaggerating, because if you honestly haven't felt afraid in the past 50 years you're either lying to yourself to the point that you don't even realize it or you have some sort of severe personality disorder. I think we can safely rule out severe mental retardation.

The idea that you have completely divorced yourself from one of the six basic human emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, disgust) is laughable. Come back to earth Dr DeMars. You're only human just like everyone else.

It's one thing to acknowledge your fears and work through them, do what needs doing anyway, but to advise people to simply stop experiencing fear is beyond ridiculous.

Ardebaren said...

Reminds me of an old quote

I'm strong because I've been weak
I'm fearless because I've been afraid
I'm wise because I've been foolish

That said, the state of the world at the moment worries me greatly. It's easy to say that people control you with fear yet, with people like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen brainwashing masses into thinking everyone with a dark skintone is a terrorist.. how can you not be scared (and I'm white), sad state the world is in at the moment, really sad.

Stephen Hawking said our world has (speculative obviously) 1000 years left or so, due to how fast we're destroying the planet, if people like Donald Trump, Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen remain in power/prominent in the media I don't think I want to live on this planet to live out my life cycle, such a world is just not worth living in.

Anonymous said...

I can agree to the extent that there are irrational fears one gives in to that prove to be road blocks where opportunities for growth would have otherwise been experienced. Fears brought about by over-thinking and assuming the worst before delving into something new. I "get that."

On the other hand, there are rational and even healthy fears that I believe are okay to have-- and even essential to have-- especially in the healthcare field. In nursing, we are taught to exercise infection control practices or precautions (i.e. donning gloves, masks, shields and gowns) before entering certain patients' rooms. Parents instill healthy fears in children. "Don't mess with that BB gun Ralphie, you'll shoot your eye out, kid." And so on. Enough said. Obviously, you weren't referring to the rational, self-preservation fear thing. :)

For the record, I think you're awesome. Though I enjoy your blogs, I will stop asking you about when you're going to write an autobiography. But, man, what an inspiration you would be for those having gone through similar shit to read and realize who you are and what amazing things you've accomplished in your life in spite of all of the bad /really bad experiences. (Tam)