first recognize your fear

“First recognize that you’re afraid and slowly build your tolerance for fear…You may still feel it, but you become willing to bear it as you write. You keep your hand moving, you stay there, you move closer and closer to the edge of what scares you.” – Natalie Goldberg, Thunder and Lightning

You’d think it’d be easy, recognizing when you’re afraid.  It’s not.  Fear disguises itself in churchy clothes, prim white gloves and veiled hats that set just so on your hair.  In slutty clothes, see-through tops and tight jeans.  In tough clothes, leather jackets and shit-kicking boots.

Fear hides in mashed potatoes, and Hagen Daz ice cream, in peanut butter and bananas, and carne asada burritos.

It skulks in Farmville, and poker, porn, shopping, smoking, and reading.

I’ve skated past fear in my thoughts, come back and circled around and finally skidded to a stop so I could scuff at it with my toe.  Slowly I’ve been eliminating places it can hide, and the result is clarity.  I can see and breathe now that I am facing my fears.  Now I’m not just feeling for the edge with my feet–I can see the edge from here, and yes, the drop is steep.  But the other side isn’t as far away as I thought.

All the mixed metaphors in this post make me grin.

3 Commentsto first recognize your fear

  1. Kelly says:

    I have seen the same fears hiding in the same places. I’ve done a little more than scuff at it though…I kicked the bastard. And, just recently….jumped. Not entirely sure what the landing will ultimately be,,,but so far, the freefall is awesome.

  2. Tammy Hartsock says:


  3. Stacy says:

    I think I know what that means, Kelly, and I’m excited for you! wooohoo!

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