Jan 23, 2013


"When I was a child, I was fearless.  I knew that I could do anything.  If I had friends over and they didn't want to play my games, I sent them home.  My mother was horrified at times.  But I knew what I wanted.  I was confident and sure of myself.  Until I grew up and lost that fearlessness, piece by piece, as others took it from me."

"But we let them," I said.

"Yes.  But now I want it back."

~snippet of a conversation I had with my best friend last night

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

As a child, we learn lessons about practical fear.  Fear associated with touching a hot stove, lest we get burned.  Fear about accepting rides from strangers.  But somewhere along the way, the lessons about fear become less worldly wisdom, and more about how we might fit in with society, make friends, find a mate.

Some people operate from a place of fear all the time. 

"What would other people think if I did this?"  
"What if I'm wrong/look foolish/am not accepted?"
"What if there is not enough?"
"What if I'm not enough?"

That last one, had a hold of me for years.  Once I realized what I was happening, I fluctuated between feeling angry that I hadn't valued myself enough and feeling sadness and loss for the girl that wasted so much time feeling those things.  And still, still, they pop up.  Those nagging doubts, those little snickers after I've been on an "I can do anything" high for a while.  The difference between then and now is, when the dust settles, I realize that I don't believe that voice anymore.

"Do you hear me?  I'm not afraid anymore!"

Yes, I just quoted Kevin, from Home Alone.

I have done fearless things in my life.  Jumped out of a plane. Started businesses. Took solo road trips to unknown places.  Said "why the hell not?" when I wanted to run the other direction.  But I don't think that those things make a person fearless.  I think fearless is a muscle that you have to exercise until it becomes an automatic state of being.

I think it's practicing the getting-up-one-more-time-than-you-fall mindset.  I think it's the "Wow - see this fabulous mistake, this foolishly huge error in judgment?  That's mine. And I'm going to learn from it.  And I'm going to endeavor not to repeat that. But I'm not going to beat myself up about it."  It's hearing that voice that likes to tell you all the things you are not, and telling it to fuck off.  And maybe for a moment you feel less-than.  Maybe for a moment you feel not enough.  But then you shake that shit off, and move along - move ahead.  Because that's not who you are anymore.  

Now, you are becoming fearless.


Laura said...

This is fabulous!

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i always figure we just go around once....so i do what i want!

the wild magnolia said...

very true, very powerful.

thank you.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Great post, Rue! Personally, I have always found that it helps to apply the Phuckem Philosophy of Life to situations that are a pain in the ass.

Rue said...

"Phuckem Philosophy" - I love that!!

Robin Larkspur said...

Why does it take so long, sometimes to learn these great lessons?

Rue said...

I've asked myself that too.

mrsduncanmahogany said...

Wow. And especially wow after the day I have had (starting a new job) this applies to many levels. Thanks for the thought provoking post!

mxtodis123 said...

That was a great post. Thanks for writing it.

Rue said...

Congrats on the new job! May there be more joy there than challenges!

Nif Already said...


I find myself much in the same place at the moment: shaking off the old looking forwards towards the new. I have lived a great deal of my life in fear, all kinds of fears and that's not who I want to be anymore. Some days are easier than others, but step by step, we get there.

petoskystone said...

A most timely post, indeed. Thank you :)

Bogaman said...

I think you nailed it. You should frame this one Rue.

P.S. For me it was the opposite. Very fearful as a child. Life and finally accepting myself has helped with the fear factor. X.

Summer said...

"It's hearing that voice that likes to tell you all the things you are not, and telling it to fuck off."

Thank-you for this post! It really strikes a chord right now - that voice has started to get persistant, and this is just the reminder I needed - to remember that you CAN tell that voice to bugger off!

Dede said...

Life is not a dress rehearsal, so go for it! Who truly cares what others will think or say? It's not about them. They talk because they can't or won't do. They are the ones that are scared to do or try something new or different. Yes do tell that little nagging voice to fuck off!