Saturday, March 26, 2011

I'm Afraid

Fear is a powerful emotion. Fear can be irrational and contradictory and still profound. I'm afraid of water, yet I paddle a canoe. I'm afraid of relationships and dying alone. I'm afraid of failure and success; afraid of cancer and going to the doctor. Friend Joel and I have a phrase we use by request when afraid: "tell me I'm being irrational and stupid." "You're being irrational and stupid." Sometimes it works, often it does not. The new book I'm not writing is hiding in the dark in a folder. I cannot visualize the worst evil to continue writing the antagonist. I've asked friends in the writers group "what's the most malevolent confrontation imaginable? what's the nastiest thing you can think of to face?" I think perhaps it's fear. Humor is how I fight fear, but it merely slathers it with ointment - it doesn't get rid of the infection. It helps. When I was most afraid, I went to the bookstore to find a humor book about cancer. There was only one then, and maybe only one now. The title is "Not Now, I'm Having a No Hair Day" by Christine Clifford. Christine thinks humor is a healer, and laughter is good medicine. Mostly I agree. Rosemary and I went to a presentation on the Rubenfeld Synergy Method last weekend, and the practitioner played a tape of pop songs that encourage us to suppress our emotions. We're taught that way. Letting the fear out doesn't make it stronger, it gives me a chance to look it in the eye, and find the best approach to wrestle it best 2 out of 3. Again and again.

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