Fear has always played a major role in my life. From general external fears like spiders or heights, to internal ones like loneliness and embarrassment, I’ve dealt with a wealth of fear in my life. I’ve always tried to use it as motivation, and I’ve usually done a good job of not letting myself be overcome by fear. I never let myself miss a chance at a wonderful girl, for instance, just because I’m afraid of rejection. There are times when I have let fear beat me too, though, like the time I had to clear snakes out of an old shed (ok quick tangent, basically there were these like 5 foot black rat snakes living out in a shed and I had to get them out, and I was doing ok, but then one tried to bite me and I lost my nerve. So we ended up shooting the two that were in there, and watching the second one writhe around on the ground and die was… a pretty terrible experience. And I realized I had let my fear of being bitten result in the unnecessary death of an animal. So, anyway, I’ve never let that stop me again and I’ve caught every snake since then. Because shooting them was wrong.) Anyway, my point is I have a lot of fear in my life, and I constantly spend time thinking and analyzing everything I can about it. One of my two favorite quotes of all time is “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” because it’s so completely true. You cannot let fear control your actions to do the right thing. Far too many times in my life have people been driven to inaction because of fear, and I do my best to make sure I never do that. My sister was furious with my parents and me after we shot the first couple snakes. But I talked to her and I acknowledged my mistake. And I knew I would never again let something die like that, just because I was too afraid to move it. Conquering fear is hard, though, and that’s kind of what I want to talk about.
The real reason I’m talking about this is because of my love life. Not too long ago I met the most amazing girl in the world, and, after realizing I wanted her in my life, asked her out. She said yes (but it was later retracted as I got a job the day after asking her out and was going to have to move 1300 miles away). Still, we spent some time together and one of the things we talked about was Halloween and how much she loved to be scared. I’ve never been one to watch scary stuff. I’ve just never understood the appeal because I didn’t see the point in trying to scare myself. Scary movies? Nope. TV shows? No thank you. Video games? Bleh (although Dead Space was fantastic). But we talked about it for a little while, and a week before I left for the new job she agreed to do a bunch of random things I wanted to do with her: go to a diner, shoot a bow, chop wood, view a sunset and, of course, watch a scary movie. We settled on watching Crimson Peak (as it had just come out) and so that evening we went to watch it. The movie was alright (not too scary), but the first instance of a ghost showing up resulted in me just… laughing. I couldn’t help it. I just looked up at the ghost and then looked over at her and… that was it. I couldn’t be afraid; what did I need to be afraid of with her in my life? She looked at me like I was crazy, though, with a “WTF, why are you laughing” face because it made absolutely no sense. But to me, I think, just having her in my life was all I needed. Nothing could ever go wrong with her. I just didn’t need to be afraid.
What I’m really getting at is how wonderful it was to have someone in my life who made me feel indestructible. It was nice to spend that time with her and realize I didn’t need to be afraid of anything because that fear wasn’t helping me do anything. I watched another scary movie a few nights later (after we broke off any semblance of furthering a relationship), and, although it was certainly scarier than Crimson Peak, I couldn’t really get myself to be afraid. Every time I thought I felt fear, she just popped into my mind and all I could do was laugh. I just perfectly remembered that first moment the ghost showed up and that pure joy I felt around her. Obviously she’s mostly out of my life now, but I’d like to think I might have at least gained a better ability to conquer my fears. That would be one of the most amazing gifts I’ve ever been given. Love and laughter conquer everything.