Greatest Fear

We all have seen those lists of questions to ask a friend or a partner. I was going through the list this past week, and one stuck out: What is your greatest fear? I have to think about that one. Honestly, I don’t have one, because I have already lived through my greatest fears.

I moved halfway across the country for a fresh start. Found my house online and signed the lease without having actually seen it – that was pretty scary. I was terrified actually. What if I fail? What it it’s terrible? What if I hate it?

I have succeeded miserably, failed spectacularly, fallen gracefully, risen Clumsily, and tried with all my heart. I’ve won, lost, been lied to, told the truth, been ashamed and terrified of my actions. I’ve woken up alone used and confused. I have had my drink drugged, and luckily managed to get home safe, even if I didn’t remember exactly how.

I have nearly died, and surely thought I would gasp my last breath, at the hands of another human being. I have been beaten and left for dead. I have seen my mother waste away, pound by pound, until there was nothing left of her. I have seen my father not remember my name. I have been all alone in the room when a dear friend has died, and held both my parents hands as they slipped from this earth to touch the Face of God. I have loved and lost and been lost. And much, much more. And I have done it all alone.

At first the thought of this sounds pretty sad, but take a closer look. It is incredibly liberating to have outlived all of your greatest fears. To have stared them square in the face and say “You won’t break me, not today.” Because the truth is that they might, and that is what we are afraid of, I think. Not the actual event or thing itself, but what it might do to us.

The other side of the truth coin is that we survive them – whatever those greatest fears are. We may come out bumped, bruised and maybe even a little bent, but they don’t kill us. And when you have lived through all of your fears, well, then there isn’t anything left to fear.

Life is short. Too short to live in fear. Celebrate what you have survived and know it is all worth it. So kiss the girl, take the job, make the move, take the chance. What is the worst that can happen? Your greatest fear? Be defined by your courage. It’s OK to be afraid, but take the chance anyway.

Speak to me

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