I can sense fear, well enough. It doesn’t come in needle form. It isn’t injected by an outside source. There is no fluid that enters through a prick or an invasive probing. Fear bypasses exterior layers, rooting from within, expanding and growing as seedlings do. And I am but host to the cyclic process.
For most of my days, I wasn’t aware of the fear inside. Even as I was always anxious and scared, I couldn’t readily identify my emotions of fright, basically because I was fright. Even as new fear entered, there was no obvious change inside of me. There was no alarm system in place. Fear was my normal. If there were trespasses against me, there was no way to tell, because I was already overcrowded inside; one more pair of prodding footsteps made no difference to a well-established colony of thousands. Ironically, in a state of fear-equilibrium, I felt perpetually balanced.
In regards to the fear I housed inside, I don’t know when I started to shift. It was sometime between the start of my public writings and the times I had delved deeply into spiritual studies. I’d been searching for answers. And something had clicked. Something inside of me. And in those moments the fear became recognizable. Wherein it had been invisible before, this fear now had a voice and had taken form. It arrived aware of itself, pushing up and growing in a making-room-for-more manner.
The fear was real then. It always had been, but now it was set outside the shadows and staring down at me. I could feel it everywhere, a monstrosity. I knew of it, too, as if an old familiar friend had reappeared for fellowship. Foe, he was, true, but more so a companion, in the way he meandered and made himself at home, opening and closing whatever compartment he fancied.
Seeing him move this way, amongst the others, amongst the piles of pain, in the conglomeration of fear, baffled me. A visibility granted where once there had been utter blindness, seemed miracle. In this way, fear itself, in manifestation, became an element of transformation. In this way, fear was part of my breaking and making.
With my new awareness my body was liken to a musical organ, each key being pounded in by some unknown trigger, and in response piping out this obnoxious vibration, the sounds penetrating my interior and leaching out of the exterior: a lost song let out into the open.
Wherein before I might have survived in a state of saturated fear, my stagnation birthed through a tangible blindness, here, in this new awareness of continual pounding, I could not live. In response to the discomfort my instinctual nature took over. And at a subconscious level I began the process of sorting through and categorizing the discomfort. Later, again, quite instinctually, I established a way to eradicate the unwanted tenants. I’d rely on my own body. Recognizing that I was contaminated by fear, I would remove each and every cause for pain, my body an informant, verbalizing through careful unspoken word.
It whispered its tellings,
listen, stomach would say, I am tight,
listen, heart would say, I am pounding,
listen, hands would say, I am clenched.
And from here, the whys came forth. Stomach was sad from the way the stranger had frowned. Heart was upset in the way the word ‘stupid’ reminded him of the past. Hands were scared by the loud boom of the car. And I listened. Day after day, I listened. Until, with much patience and practice, I began to hear less and less. Now, new spaces opened where none had existed before. Now when a stranger appeared, when he rooted himself in me, the fear was no longer cloaked by the masses. Now when the fear came, it came with a loud blow into an empty room. Now when fear arrived I knew immediately.
The tables had turned. Instead of housing the fears that had used me for room and board for decades, now I removed the newbies, the ones that had hitchhiked in hopes of permanent residency. Now I gathered the barbs and released them—their freedom, my freedom.