The Fear Factor

Summer Art Sale 2016  print 9

First off, for the record, I never watched the Fear Factor reality show. Well, once when visiting my dad, but in dad’s house we watch whatever his wife wants to watch–even though there are four TVs in the house. End of discussion.

In any event, I’m not a big fan of fear. I’ll watch a horror movie, maybe once every ten years. No slasher movies, no haunted house, no jump scares. More power to you if your nerves can take it.

But I’m thinking about the other kind of fear. Not the entertainment kind, but the put yourself out in the world kind: fear of asking for help, of sharing your work, fear of living. You know, the kind of fears keeping you boxed in when you don’t want to be.

I go through fearless phases but always find myself back in that box. It has some magnetic pull, as if the energy it takes to go against it, to act in spite of the anxiety and fear are so exhausting, it pulls you back in.

Some people appear born fearless. Do you know these people? And no, I don’t really believe everyone is born fearless. Some children on the playground rush pellmell to adventure. They greet strangers. They pay no attention to traffic or shadows. They are undaunted. Other children look warily around them, hesitate to speak, always keep an eye on their parents. Some of this may be nurture, for sure, but many of us are born this way.

The Internet scares me much of the time. On the one hand, the Internet opens up a magical world. Beautiful, amazing, uplifting things reside on the Internet. I’ve discovered art, stories, and new friends, thanks to this weird place we travel through without leaving our homes. On the other hand, the Internet can lead us down into its infinite hellish circles. Hatefulness, threats, and crime lurk behind links and web addresses. A web indeed. Get tangled within and it does not end well.

It’s hard to really work at being successful if you’re worried about trolls and demons.

Troll is a well-known term these days. They wait under the bridges of the Internet, doing what they can to keep travelers from getting from one place to another. I don’t know why anyone chooses to be a troll, and we aren’t going to solve their riddle today.

I think of demons as residing within. My inner demon tends to remind me of people I’ve annoyed, who no longer care about my work (maybe they never did!), and who have EXPECTATIONS-THAT-MUST-BE-MET. Do you have any of these demons? (I often suspect trolls are individuals who finally let their demons have the run of their interior landscape. But anyway…)

I hope to work on getting those demons under control. I’m rereading Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. After that, I may reread Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. And after that…any suggestions?

And we’ll see what happens.


Thanks, as always, for reading.


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