‘fraid So

I need to get back into form. Lately, I have been reading a lot of fiction and rereading books. I’ve also not really been writing as much as I should. The problem with my writing is that the same words and ideas keep popping up in my head and flowing through my fingers, and I hate a rut. There is much to be written and much of which to think or consider. Why does my brain have such a difficult time finding it when it needs to find it most? Why do my fingers continue to tap out the same tired lines again and again? I suppose I could expand upon my latest blog post concerning the upcoming election and the instigation of fear as a means to the accumulation of power.

As I stated, fear can be an incredible motivator, or it can be paralyzing. Both can lead to responses that are, let us say, less than rational. Everyone knows this. Yet, we continually allow fear to give credence to our decisions. We continually allow those that instigate and propagate fear outlets with which to spread their messages of doom and gloom.

Also, as I said, I’m aware that there are real fears. I do not dispute that at all, but the question is that those real fears that you have, do you have to be reminded of them? If there is something that genuinely scares you or makes you uneasy, do you forget about it? Does it slip your mind as something unimportant? Or, do you consider this fear each and every time a situation arises in which that fear is presented?

I am no expert on human psychology, but I do know me. I know that the genuine fears I have do not have to be presented to me time and time again. I know them. I feel them. I acknowledge them when it comes time to make a decision concerning certain situations. I do not need to be reminded of them. I remain vigilant toward them without needing to be told to do so.

There are fears that I’ve had that I no longer have because I came to an understanding concerning them, or because I realized they were irrational and not contributing to my life in any positive way.

Here’s the thing. I do my best to avoid listening to those that tell me what it is that I need to fear. Do you need someone telling you what to fear? I don’t need that advice.

If something happens, I’ll either fear it or I won’t. I think it’s that simple. If it is something to fear, I will do my best to avoid it or overcome it, otherwise, I’ll pay it no mind.

If it is something to embrace, I’ll embrace it. Otherwise, I’ll pay it no mind.

It’s that simple.

It really is.

If I see a particular situation or circumstance affect someone in a negative way, I’ll approach it cautiously. If I hear secondhand of how a particular situation or circumstance has affected someone in a negative way, I’ll do my best to ascertain how the situation arose, how the person was affected by it, and how best to handle it should it be something I come across.

One should not fear a given situation or circumstance unless that situation or circumstance has been experienced personally, all of the facts are known, or the outcome is already known. This is rational.

Where irrationality comes into play is when someone tells us about something that someone told them about something that someone told them. Facts are lost. Effects are unknown and there can be no clear picture illustrated through the levels of hearsay. This is why hearsay is not admissible in a court of law. It cannot be proven. Why should fear not be held to the same burden of proof?

With irrational fear, all logic and reason have been removed, therefore, a rational choice cannot be made, and a poor decision becomes more possible, all because of something that someone heard from someone else.

Think of that the next time you hear or see a campaign advertisement telling you why you should vote against, or for, a given candidate, or the next time you hear or see someone telling you to be afraid of something. Also, think of why they are telling you that. What are they trying to get you to do, and what is in it for them?

Personally capitalizing on one’s fear is a pretty shitty way to make a living.  There is no reason why we should allow those that do so to continue doing it.

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear…

It is a beautiful day, which is pretty fantastic since the weather over the past couple of days has been down right atrocious. I cannot remember the last time I saw so much wind and rain. Needless to say, I’ve missed the weather we get up here in the High Country. Like I told my wife, the bad weather days make you appreciate the beautiful days that much more, and when the weather is beautiful, it cannot be beat.

Fall is in the air. The leaves are in the midst of changing, well the ones that are still on the trees after the blustery weather of the past two days. The ambers, oranges, and yellows mixed with the still green oaks and pines covering the hillsides are beautiful and quite a sight to see. Set against the crisp blue sky, there are not many landscapes or portraits that can approach the level of splendor afforded to us during this change of seasons.

There are some things, however, that never seem to change, and are altogether ghastly in comparison to the beauty of the natural world around us. We are in the midst of an unpleasant and obnoxious midterm election season. Time is winding down to election day and the campaigns for, and against, those that hold elected office have been trudging along since the last general election nearly two years ago.

Luckily, we do not have traditional television. We stream all of our television over the internet via Netflix, Hulu, PBS, and other outlets. This has sheltered us, somewhat, from the nastiness that plagues regular television during this time of even numbered years. The campaign advertisements are endless from both of the mainstream candidates vying for the Senate seat up for grabs in North Carolina. Interest groups and PACs are shoveling money into the race as well with ads pitting different points of view into, seemingly, an all out war against one another. Watching these ads, one unfamiliar with our political culture would come to the conclusion that life itself hangs in the balance; that the human race is doomed, and that the planet is heading down a path toward irreconcilable destruction. I do not subscribe to newspapers or popular magazines, so I cannot say much concerning advertising that goes on in print media, but I doubt it paints any more of a rosy picture.

Speaking of the precarious position of life as we know it, I posted a little observation on Facebook the other day…

“Terrorists, illegal aliens, tyrannical government, ebola…seems there is always something we are supposed to fear. Those cashing in on the mass paranoia being spread through the media and social networks are only fearful of one thing…that we will, one day, stop being afraid. Until then, they are going to keep laughing all the way to the bank while everyone else huddles together in small, divided, fearful masses.”

There are other fears that I can add to the list including, but not limited to, climate change, recession, depression, gay marriage, AIDS, guns, gun control, war, Republicans, Democrats, Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, believers, nonbelievers, Muslims, the Illuminati, the one percent, the 99%, the 45%, the welfare state, the military-industrial complex, homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals, transgendered people, corporations, multinational conglomerates, the New World Order, the Trilateral Commission, the World Trade Organization, the Federal Reserve, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, and so on and so forth.

There is a lot of shit of which to be afraid…a lot, and those seeking power bet on the fact that if they can harness that fear and disseminate it among the populace, then they can achieve power.

The worst part concerning all of this is that we allow it to happen cycle, after cycle, after cycle, after cycle. Can we blame them? Fear is an incredible motivator, probably the greatest motivator. Fear of death, fear of discomfort, fear of the unknown. Fear is motivating, but can also be paralyzing and irrational. It can promote good decisions and poor ones.

Sure, there are real fears in the world around us. We all know what it is that scares us. It is time we stop letting others tell us what it is that we need to fear. Life is too short and the world is too magnificent to do otherwise.

To, or To Not?

I’m taking just a few minutes, the next 25 or so, to do a little free writing on a topic about which I have not written in a couple of weeks…

Fear.

A few weeks back, I read a post by Holistic Wayfarer entitled “What If You Weren’t Afraid.” At the end of the post, she posed a question: How would these things look different in your life, if you were not afraid? I posted a couple of weeks ago some thoughts concerning a couple of the topics listed after the question, particularly those concerning my relationship with my sweetheart and the relational boundaries I draw with other people. I just took a look over the list again and noticed the topic “Your blogging” so I figure why not start there.

How would my blogging look different, or be different, if I were not afraid. I guess what needs to be done is figure out of what it may be that I am afraid when it comes to my blogging. I was reading over another previous post of mine and noticed something I had written that kind of goes along with this very idea, and it goes a little something like this…

When I find something on which to write, I tend to tread my path lightly. I don’t want to piss somebody off that may read what it is that I am writing. I look “for the solution that will come without a conflicting response or opinion…when that does not work, I go to like-minded souls that will reassure me that the course I wish to take is the right one and will not falter.”

Essentially I fear an argument. Really, it isn’t so much that I fear an argument. If you know me, you know I love a good argument. What it really is is that I am tired of arguing. It gets old, especially when the arguments are always about the same shit. The day may be different, but the arguments are always the same, especially when it comes to the topics I tend to follow and about which I care the most. There is rarely anything new added to the conversation. If, by chance, a new idea comes into the topic, the conversation will take a turn, but it always, always comes right back to the beginning. Then the parties of the argument get pissed off, turn and figuratively walk away with nothing be solved. Pretty much what it boils down to is that we are a bunch of children that refuse to give even an inch in the hope that a compromise or agreement can be reached.

That is what frightens me. I don’t want my blog to turn into a huge pissing match between people with different points of view, and I don’t want to begin censoring those who take part in any discussion that may come up because they refuse to act like grown-ups.

Then again, a little spice might be good. I have plenty of thoughts that can be considered nonconventional. They are certainly not aligned with the status quo. I do like to propose challenging and provoking thoughts. Otherwise, what in the hell am I writing for? Who wants to read something that doesn’t provoke at least a minimum amount of thought?

I guess that what I’m trying to say is that my blogging would be more edgy and more strongly opinionated if I were not afraid of some argument breaking out in the comment section. Moreover, what is troubling is the fact that I do not want any piece that I write to be boiled down into a simple yes/no debate that takes what is stated, and usually quite eloquently (if I may say so), and turned into some kind of talking point that can be recited on cue by some shmuck that does not have any skin in the game. I suppose I could just say screw it and write what it is that I feel and what I think, and say to hell with censoring myself. That would certainly be healthier for me as it would allow me to release pent up feelings and thoughts that swirl within my mind and body.

I’m going to mull this over some more before I make a decision, but it seems I have some things to ponder. It’s a good thing that pondering is something that I’m pretty good at doing.

You’ll have to stay tuned in order to find out which direction my pondering will take me.

A Response

This is in response to this post by Holistic Wayfarer…

Upon viewing the list included in her post, I decided to focus on two topics within the list:  my relationship with my sweetheart and the relational boundaries I draw.  That seemed like a good place to start, and the two are somewhat related, so why not knock out two birds with one stone.

First off, I am an intensely private person.  Funny, huh?  Especially since I keep a blog.  I try to avoid anything too private when it comes to my writing here, only focusing on things that I believe many of us have in common.  That said, it still remains that I am intensely private.  I have a difficult, no, extremely difficult time letting people into my life.  This affects those topics listed above.

In short, I have walls…high, strong, and impenetrable walls set up to protect me.  What do they protect me from?  Or, what do they protect?  I’ve had these for a long time, as long as I can remember.  When I think about it, it isn’t just my protection that the walls serve, but also I do not like to have others close to me doting on my problems or worrying about me.  So, it is also about protecting them. It probably hurts a lot more than it helps, keeping these walls up, especially concerning my relationship with my sweetheart.  I do try to open up the gate and let her in, but it is pretty hard to do a lot of the time, and I well understand just how frustrating that can be for her.

I guess the truth is that I am afraid of how others perceive me.  I could say concerned, but it is really fear much more than concern.  I don’t much care for negative feedback or being criticized at all.  Who does? I prefer to be welcomed rather than shunned, liked rather than disliked, or loved rather than hated.

Is it better to be loved as the person I want others to see, or to be loved, or hated, for being the person I really am?  This is the question that my walls protect me from.  In truth, I do not even know if tearing down my walls will bring hatred or negativity my way.  Questions, sure, and a lack of understanding are possible, but hate?  It is out there. That much is sure, but let’s ask the question again.

Is it better to be loved as the person I want others to see, or to be loved as the person I am?

I think that is a much better question and focuses more on the feelings I feel and want to experience.

Though love is the most important emotion, and strongest, there is something to be said for respect.  You cannot have love without respect, but you can have respect without love.  So…

Is it better to be respected as the person I willingly show to others, or to be respected for the person I am?

It’s a good question.  To earn respect of another is a pretty fantastic feeling, but is that respect deserving when it is given without seeing the whole picture?  but, this is off the topic and may be better dealt with at another time.

Back to topic…

I am afraid of how others perceive me which brought me to the question asked above. We know what the answer is.  In the short run the first part seems like an obvious choice because, well, in the short run things tend to come and go.  However, in the long run, the latter must be true, otherwise the lies and deceit (intentional or intended with malice or not, it does not matter) will take their toll on the one hiding who they are, and, possibly, what they do.  Fruitful relationships cannot be built upon this and be expected to last and will ultimately fail.

I guess that is a long winded way of saying that, in terms of the topics stated at the beginning, without fear, things would look very different.  My relationships would be much stronger and infinitely more meaningful, thus contributing more positively to my life and happiness in it.  More or less, fear is crippling, and serves little positive function when it comes to relationships between people.

It’s Only Natural

After a long, long day, I returned home from work last night to something.  Something quite amazing.  On the sidewalk, not far from the door to my apartment, was a snake constricting a small songbird.  I did not witness the snake taking the bird into its coils, but watched as it continued to squeeze the life out of it.  My wife, of course, went out of her mind when I told her about it, but we both knew better than to interfere with it.  So, I continued to watch the scene unfold before me.

I will give you the scene in detail in a moment, but this morning I had a thought that I wanted to share with all of you…well, really a couple of thoughts…

We have a tendency to romanticize nature, basking in its splendor and beauty.  We photograph sunrises and sunsets.  We watch as deer or rabbits cavort in fields and backyards.  We attempt to bring a little nature inside with us by the use of aquariums or terrariums.  Often, the calmness of nature, the sweet melodies of songbirds at sunrise, the endless and gentle bubbling of a nearby brook or stream, the repetitive rhythm of the tide on the seashore, or the evening serenade of chirping crickets and bellowing frogs, brings us peace and serenity.  With all of that, we tend to forget how vicious nature can be, and how quickly the serene can become terrorizing, just as it did last night for the unfortunate songbird and its mate.

These two songbirds made the support beams beneath the second floor landing of my apartment building their home.  They could be seen huddled together at night after a busy day or in the morning, early, before the day began.  They could be heard singing sweetly as songbirds do.  In a word, they were adorable.

Then, last night, as one lost its life to its hungry predator, the other was shrieking harsh and panicked tones.  I could hear the panic it must have felt.  I do not know if birds experience fear as we do, but last night it experienced something dreadful and truly awful.  Once it realized there was no hope for its mate, the lone bird became quiet and, in my mind, sorrowful.

After the snake ate its prey, I brushed it away with a broom, attempting to bring my wife some level of comfort.  I’m still not entirely sure that worked, though.

The next morning, I woke early, I mean early for work.  3:30am early.  Yeah…early!!  Usually, when I’m up and out that early, I can look up into the woodwork of the landing above and see my two melodious friends.  It was not to be this morning.  I took a few more steps and saw my lonesome friend tucked snuggly into the corner, on the steps going up to the second floor and against the side of the building.  It happened to be the same step from which it watched its mate disappear into the coils and then mouth of its reptilian predator.

At that moment, the romanticization of nature set in and I felt a profound sense of sadness.  I felt a little sadness last night, but this morning, seeing that little bird huddled in the corner, in solitude as if placed in time-out, I just could not imagine the sorrow that I was sure it felt.

I don’t even know if birds feel sorrow or love, but I’m pretty sure I saw love last night.  I saw something tragic and beautiful at the same time.  Beautiful because the bird did all it could do to free its mate from its captor.  The anger and panic in the bird’s tone was present.  There was fear as well and desperation, but there was nothing the bird could do.  Eventually, the sense of desperation visibly and audibly became a sense of despair as the bird came to know that there was no way to save its friend.  The moment the bird came to that realization was powerful and instantaneous.  One moment it was screaming loudly, beating its wings furiously, and jumping here and there in sheer panic.  The next moment…nothing.  A mournful, almost pleading series of gentle chirps, no beating wings, and no jumping…just watching as it realized that there was nothing to do.  Its friend was dead.

Neither of those two birds knew that Wednesday morning would be their last morning together.  They had no idea that one of their lives was going to end that night.  I imagine that they went about their day as usual.  Chirping a little here.  Flying over there and then chirping a little more.  Eating a few bugs, perhaps a worm or two.  Such is a bird’s life.  No doubt they keep their eyes open for predators, for not even a songbird can be naive enough to think that dangers do not exist. I guess the hard part is knowing from where they might come.

In a previous post I stated, “People will not know what happens next, as much as we pride ourselves in believing we do know,” and it’s true.  100% true.  When something does not go in the way in which we expect, panic certainly sets in at least until the unpredicted situation is realized and a solution or a conclusion is reached.

Nature shows us again and again that as predictable as we think the world is, there are no guarantees.  Just take a tally of how often the weather man is spot on with his daily forecast.  Human ingenuity, logic, and reason can be used to explain so many things.  There is one thing, however, that they will never explain, and that is the natural element of surprise.  I admit it.  I don’t handle surprises very well.  Especially the bad ones.  I often times do not make lemonade when life hands me lemons.  I would prefer to throw the lemons back at wherever they came from.  I do not like to roll with the punches.  I don’t even like getting punched.  I would much prefer that the punching just stop as quickly as possible.  There are a ton of these I could go through, but I won’t.  I’m thinking you probably understand what I’m saying.  I hope so anyway.

Knowing all of this, however, I am still going to do my best to live life and not allow the fear of the unknown stop me. Regardless of what danger may lurk around any corner, it’s best to just keep on keepin’ on.  The world would be a pretty boring place otherwise.