Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fear


Fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of looking like an idiot. Fear of looking like an asshole. Fear of screwing everything up. Fear of tragedies and calamities unknown. Fear of loss. Fear of pain. Fear.

The women in my family all run to anxious. It is genetic. Anxiety coursing through our veins right along with the red corpuscles. Hair trigger fight or flight responses, flooding our bodies with adrenaline at the most inopportune moments. Worry woven into the very fabric of our beings.

The women in my family also run to courageous. We don't give up. We stand, undaunted by the cloud of anxiety ready to roll in and smother us, at the first sign of trouble. We carry on every day building lives and families and ourselves, even when every step is haunted and hunted by fear.

I've been thinking and talking a lot about fear, as I venture on this journey of making art. Facing my fears of inadequacy and failure every time I sit down at a blank page or canvas. There is nothing there... no props or subterfuge to hide behind, just you and your own creativity. It is hard. It is humbling. It is exhilarating.

Everyone has fears, even those without the genetic predisposition to anxiety. And I think the trick may be really coming to understand the nature of the beast. The duality of the monster that both protects and traps you. That fear itself is not indicative of lack of character or resolve, but a primal force...important and inescapable. Sometimes to be mastered, sometimes to be accepted and sometimes even thanked.

So I embrace this idea of acknowledging the monster, looking it squarely in the face, and then carrying on. Fear, anxiety and worry will always be a part of me to some degree or other, because I am human, and because I am a human who is wired in a certain way, for better or for worse. But I will not let fear trap me. It can't be my motive, to act or not to act, or my excuse. Anxiety is my uncomfortable companion as I walk my path, but it will not determine my course. I have better companions by my side to help me with the navigation.

(the work above is mixed media acrylic on canvas, 9"x12")

7 comments:

  1. Well said, my dear. One of the stars by which I navigate these days is the following quote by Shawn Philipps:“Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s the strength in the presence of it.”

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  2. Too true. That quote very much echoes Twain with,
    "Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear. Except a creature be part coward it is not a compliment to say it is brave."

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  3. I think I am just going to come here every morning and read this post before I start writing...

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  4. fear looks like Blok from the Legion of Super-Heroes in your painting. Blok was kind and gentle. so now i view fear as kind and gentle but still rocky and granite-like.

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  5. Fear does rhyme with beer!
    And I love the Blok reference. That was totally where I was trying to go with this...fear to be understood, rather than feared, and something with the power to be benevolent as well as something hard and unrelenting, which can trap us. Yay Blok!

    I am all full of what can best be described as "icky" feelings this morning. Why is there nothing quite so unsettling as difficult family stuff, even at the age of 34? Whatev. I'm shaking it off, and getting back to the work in progress (my life, my own family)...which is full of harmony and creativity, and not icky at all.

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  6. And K, you coming here to read my little old post before writing, is a profound compliment. :)

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