T minus One Month
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary… It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
― Yann Martel
“You are going on a trip of a lifetime.”
We were sharing a beer and a cigarette out on the balcony, watching the rush hour traffic race past us on the highway below.
“Yeah,” I said. I thought about how I was leaving the familiar noise of the traffic and how much I would miss it.
“Yeah. And fucking scared.”
If someone were to ask you what’s your biggest fear, would you know how to answer it? Do you have to think about it, or do you know it off by heart?
What if they asked you when was the last time you faced yours? Have you ever?
Look, I don’t blame you. Fear is a master of negotiation and deceit. It can make itself look like any number of good things in life; gratitude, endurance or even a sense of contentment.
It fools us into thinking that putting up with it is a virtue; that we might as well find a way to coexist with it, for better or worse.
But of course, fear won’t just live and let live. It will thank you for your hospitality, then proceed to smash all your vases, suck your life out from the inside the way you would inhale the soft chocolate in a Tim Tam, leaving the biscuits on the outside intact. And the real bad news is that the longer we ignore it, the longer we let it exist without acknowledging it and declaring war against it, the harder it becomes to face.
So that’s where I am in life right now; gearing up to face my fears once again. The Fear Series is not so much a series for others as a chronicle of sorts for myself; a sticky-note to my future-self reminding me of how scared and confused the current Nav is.
I’m scared because I’m packing up for Africa, and despite all the travels I’ve done in the past, despite how ridiculously optimistic about the road ahead I usually am, I’m still finding it so very daunting.
And I’m confused because staying put is not an option either. Because you see, my biggest fear is not being able to do what I love; to travel, and to work in Africa.
So I’m sitting here, scared shitless of what I’m about to do. And yet I’m writing, because if nothing else, I would like to think by shining the light of words on my fears, I may have a fighting chance against them.
Ah, and before I forget; please do join me for part II of this series, if you feel like joining the fight.