Fear has always held a morbid fascination for me. From its chemistry, to its power over people and life in general, to how it can be harnessed for good or evil alike. To many folks it is an intrigue akin to an evil tyrant that holds painful sway over their lives. To some it is an enemy to be crushed under foot. To others, a mere footnote in the book of life. Some others consider it a kind of neurosis, in which we invent future disasters for ourselves where none actually existed nor will ever exist! This is a meager truth when one thinks about. Whilst to some, it is a friend or a foe depending on what point in life they are at. For me personally, it has been a ‘’frenemy’’ more than anything else.
Fear and I have been engaged in quite a strange dance for as long as I can remember. From being a wee boy of about 4, back when its favored cloak was darkness, back when falling asleep in a dark room, for example, was quite a fright. To the encounter of the mere music video, ”Thriller”, that made a chicken of me, aged 5. (Yea, them false teeth and all held sway for like a year!) Heck! Even insects had their turn deejaying the dance: from witnessing the winged menace of a flying roach, that had me scampering like an escapee from hell, with a train of demons on his tail, always eliciting outbreaks of laughter from friends and family alike, if God forbid, one landed on me, to my second encounter with a stinging insect, while aged 8, when I woke up in a the sick bay of an international school, after having been stung by a wasp in class. The School nurse had endeavored to explain to me that something about the sting had caused an allergic reaction, that had caused my black out. But all my mind registered was ‘see bee and flee”. From then on, it was nigh impossible from me to remain in the presence of a flying stinging insect. Now that I’ve been driving for about a decade, you can imagine the difficulty arising from me resisting the urge to take flight in a moving vehicle I’m steering when one shows up. I feel you are getting the partial the picture. Fear and I were kind of enemies at first.
As a teen though, the experimental phase kicked in and the dance took new direction. The Horror movie genre became my number one fascination. I loved the way the writers, directors and actors would harness the emotion of fear and the various reactions it would elicit. In that period, as my personality developed, fear became a strong motivating factor in many things I did. My deepest, most enduring fear ironically has always been the fear of failure and getting it wrong. A fear so deep and desperate sometimes it leaves me just plain numb. For some reason, since early childhood, the perceived pain of failing at any task was simply too much to bear. As a kid, I’d cry when my team lost, if I lost any game I was playing it would stick in my thoughts for hours or even days. Worst of all, failure to get the grades I wanted at school, was particularly hard hitting. Especially to my-self confidence and became one of the building blocks of the perfectionism that still drives me today. It’s part of the reasons why, even though I hate rules, I rarely break them. Luckily for me, that particular fear of failure and getting it wrong has got me where I am in life. I read my books because I feared not knowing, getting me an education. I even fought for good grades, even becoming a high speed reader to overcome my natural concentration issues. I even learned to be good at public speech, to play sport, to dance and perform just to overcome my natural shyness. My previous career as an I.T. specialist had the same prevailing theme: personal failure caused by me was unforgivable. Fear had turned from friend to foe.
However, as the saying goes, every rose does have its thorns. In my instance is truly no different. Fear has also become kind of a pain in the arse at this point in time. It’s afflicted me with the kind of analysis paralysis that infects one with constant second guessing. It has permeated my current career path to the extent it affects my creativity, from my writing down to my performing. I’m constantly re-analyzing, and re-thinking what I’m about to do or have just finished. For example, I can write and re- write a verse for a track, that I’m taking to studio to record, then get to studio and start changing it in the booth. Even in the booth, I’m hardly ever truly satisfied with my delivery and usually just accept my producer’s opinion that I ‘nailed it’ just in the interest of keeping time.
My writing too is no different. Several months ago I decided to myself to start up this very blog. But as one can witness this is only my third time actually posting on it. I’ve thought and re –thought what to write about almost into a neurosis. From fearing whether I have what to say, to have something worth saying to fearing whether a person would even bother reading this post, to wondering whether I could write it ’just right’’. I often times wonder, where the courageous bravery of my youth has disappeared. I remember being able to tackles things with only the goal in mind, with what if’s far off in the back of my mind. I’m not sure whether age creates the perception of the stakes being higher or what. I also remember not being so busy rehashing things in mind to the extent of it turning me extremely introverted. I remember recently, hanging out at a friend’s Kasiiki, when an industry colleague commented that she’d noticed I’m often the quiet one in the corner quietly observing everything at the function. I must admit because of my constant mind tennis, I often end up quiet amongst a gathering of many people. As I listen and observe them go about their interaction, I‘m often stuck wondering how, what and why I should say anything. The chief problem is if I don’t believe I will accomplish a task successfully, to the utmost degree of excellence I could impact on it, 9 out of 10 times I simply won’t commit to doing any part of it. Whether it’s accomplishing some feat or task, or merely talking to a stranger at a party or some fly fashionista, who caught my eye at a function I’m at, that particular trait is a constant. You see what I believe tends to feed into my perception of reality. But of late I’ve begun thinking maybe that should change. I want to be free like in my younger days. Able to find things like interacting with strangers, or just accomplishing a feat less of a thought, analysis marathon. I suspect maybe at heart I’m not as positive a person I once was. I suspect the fear of failure and getting it wrong might have taken an ultimate toll. So starting right, here right now, I’ve decided to take a leap into the unknown. Though the urge to over analyze and fear is strong, I feel it is time to harness the power of courageous initiative. Hence forth, fear and I will dance a new dance. I’ll try dancing to the false evidence appearing real tune and see where that gets me. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with some more writ. Till next time, so long.