Fear has been a life companion of mine.
It has told me when to run, when to abandon ship, when to freeze up, and how to make life choices that stifle my existence.
Fear has always been my discipline. He has been a three-horned demon I can’t seem to kill off, no matter how fervently I try. I’ve tried to feed and numb him with food, tried to outrun him with miles on the treadmill, tried to distract him with obsessive thoughts, or simply run far, far away from myself, so he couldn’t find me.
He always found me though, because I truly never wanted to be alone. That, was even scarier.
Perhaps, the denotation of fear as masculine says more about this fear than I have previously been aware of. This is not to slander or blame, but to shed light on where we are imbalanced as individuals and as a collective.
I am of the feminine external form, born a female, and identify as such. I’ve always had a strong, over-compensating masculine side though: the athlete, the tough girl (outwardly), strong, determined to no end, high achieving.
Society has applauded me, as well as others—man, woman, or non-binary identifying—for these masculine traits, for the ability to over-masculinize our needs.
We have both masculine and feminine energies though. Both are needed for balance, and for too long one has dominated the other. Masculine overriding and stifling feminine wisdom.
Our over-masculinized “doing” society would have applauded my prior eating disordered addiction and ability to exercise religiously, seven days a week, with no rest. This structure felt predictable, manageable, and controllable for so long—until it wasn’t.
I knew what I had to do to maintain this external form and inwardly keep my fears silenced. I quieted them down with shame, judgement, and pure hatred of this entity making me feel so weak, when outwardly all I wanted to feel was strong and capable.
Fear has this way of robbing you of your power to even see clearly. You become a sleep-walking frenzy, a busy bee, a productive agent going nowhere fast. Always moving so fast.
It always made me dizzy, this fear-mongering demon of mine. He told me who to be at all times, and how f*cked up I was, and how my choices were simply never enough.
I was never enough, and have never felt full in my own enough-ness. Because fear told me that this was not in the cards, not for someone wounded. For a sensitive girl like me. For a feeling, sometimes chaotic mind like mine.
Fear has so many stories, so many fables to tell. Sometimes, I begin to wonder how fear has such a good, reliable memory with its inability to stay in one place for too long and simply erratic nature.
Fear has told me, since I was a young girl, that it would have my back, always be on the lookout for threats hundreds of miles ahead of me. Always told me that I couldn’t rest until the fear came to pass, and probably not even then, because fear had me wrapped in its grip for the next thing to fend off.
I have learned, in my young life and time on this planet, that fear is what we are patterned and conditioned into. By coming to this planet, we have made the conscious choice, as souls, to confront and reconcile this fear.
For a long time, I shamed myself for how much I battled fear. I still do.
I forgot for many years of my life that shrinking, stifling, numbing, even actively fighting or trying to ward fear off only gives it more and more power and stronghold over you. I thought if I could just toughen up, I could defeat it. If I could just find the right tactic, it would finally leave me be.
But, it hasn’t left. Some days, it feels like this puppet master pulling the strings—where to go, who to be, what to do. At the end of the day, it’s no wonder we are exhausted. That the “normal” human day is a day of battling, trying endlessly to rise above the fear.
Fear is a shadow. The shadow of humanity, if you ask me.
Love is our light. And fear is its counterpart. To have one is to intimately know the other.
Shadows have been controlling humanity for some time now. The patriarchy has overcompensated to keep at bay the light of the feminine power and mystique and ability to heal this planet with cooperation, not domination. The current astrological skies tell us a similar story. Whether science or fiction, these things are made evident in our waking human lives.
Humanity is waking up, whether jostled awake in our sleep, hit over the head with a breaking down of who and what we thought we were, or as though the rug is getting pulled out from under our feet.
This is happening. And has been happening—this deconditioning process. It is happening every day. Every day, we wake up with fear gripping our throats and our hearts, a battlefield of worry and disarray over what obstacle will come our way.
Fear has been the most devoted teacher of mine, a fierce protector of anything outside the “known” reality. It certainly hates when I do something outside the scope of comfort or routine. And, those days, those times, when I choose to challenge fear, I simply remind the screaming voices that tell me to run, go back, that I may in fact die, that I hear them. They are allowed to be there.
They are voices on a large bus of children, the voices in our head that have so many faces and personalities. The fear voice lives among the bully voice, the self-critic, the perfectionist, the procrastinator, the guilt goblin, the shame-steerer.
And other voices, maybe more quiet still. The soccer mom, always cheering you on and showing up for each game. The wise woman. The gentle teacher. The courageous fire starter. The loyal as f*ck friend ready to go to bat for you over any injustice done to you. The sweet, loving grandmother.
These voices are just as real.
Fear just may have been the one to raise its hand first. Or perhaps, jump in front of the four-square line just to show all the other kids how insignificant they were.
Fear has had its time. And now, it’s time for another structure to take hold. And, unlike the last time, as young children ourselves, we have a choice. Free sovereignty and choice, even if the programming of fear grips us.
We can always choose the other voices of kindness and compassion.
They are all allowed to be there. And, still love chooses us—again and again. Even, if we don’t always choose it. Courage chooses us, even if we don’t always feel it.
Each day we enter the world and stand for love and for peace, we are participating in this global consciousness shift. Each day we choose to utter, “I love you” to the one inside who feels so unworthy of love’s reminder. Each day, we choose differently.
These voices are like dangling ropes hanging from a tall ceiling. The ceiling is our consciousness. The ropes are the choices we have to grab onto. We can be the ceiling itself, witnessing the ropes commanding and demanding our attention. We can rush to grab onto the fear rope, or perhaps sink and swing over to the self-kindness rope.
This analogy reminds me that I am not alone. That I am not weak for feeling fear. That this is not a flaw of my own nature, but an intricate web of humanity.
Fear may still take up presence in our life, and shame may try to tell us how unevolved we are for that. But, perhaps, you feel fear so strongly some days because your soul strength is beyond what you ever imagined it to be. Perhaps, you were made to live with this fear because you would find the power to reconcile it, to love it, to befriend it, but not to bend to it, like you have believed for so long.
Believe that the measure of fear you feel is a measure of your courage. Of your fire. Of your sheer power to choose differently.
We were born to be the bridge from fear back to love. To be the container of all life experience, and remember love—the container of all human experience, even in fear, when a call for love is felt.
The choice to take one conscious breath when fear or negativity grips us is the choice back to love.
For the days, for the moments when our fear feels too big and our courage too far away, remember the ally within you. The ally who stands by your side and will love you still. Maybe if this inner resource isn’t yet built, it’s an external reminder in a loving and devoted friend who stands by your side through the fears.
Let them be your reminder when you feel small and weak, until this reminder becomes a stronger voice within.
Fear has had its day, and may still have its day in the coming days, but know that courage is always available—in the small choices, in your willingness to simply be with the fear and know it is a margin of your wholeness.
It is real, but not true, as the spiritual teacher Tara Brach reminds us.
Breathe, and remember when fear feels too big that you are bigger and braver.
Stand in the light of your own reflection and remind your shadow that it can be there, and it is not the whole truth of you.
Shadow and light. Fear and love. And deep, deep unyielding courage to be right where we are—fear and all.