On Fear

gloucester castle cathedral full moon nighttime blue midnight purplePeople often describe being fearless in the same breath as being foolish, or being reckless, or being young and ill-fated. I don’t think being fearless is the same as any of these. 

It’s not the same as being brave. Baring your soul in front of a stranger is brave, like asking somebody to listen to your song. Accepting that they will not listen is braver still. But going into the woods is not brave. It is fearless. I like the flash of mortality that accompanies fear; the sudden look down when you reach the top of the tree, the moment of adrenaline when you hit 100mph. The intake of breath and the smile to yourself; this is where the fear lives, except I do not fear it. If you move fast enough fear cannot take root.

Delving deep into the darkest corners of your soul. Or wilfully acting on every whim, on every fleeting desire, with no caution of consequence. That is the kind of fearless that I know. Undertaking things I know nothing about. Creating plans out of thin air. Will this risk pay off? Will he kiss me back? Going into the woods, unsure if you will return. Seeking the place where the wild things are. Poking the wolves with a stick.

Photo on 30-10-2012 at 13.17
I have often been described of fearless. Fearless, and confident, and reckless, and impulsive. I don’t really know if I think I am any of these things, because I don’t really care; I just am the way I am. When I was younger I was probably ignorant of the things I should have been fearful off; a lifetime of being off with fairies has served me well. I suppose my fearlessness manifests itself in a childish way – a nothing-can-scare-me competitive type of fearless. Trying to outrun the world. Trying to prove that I am the fastest, or the bravest, or the strongest.

But I think now I am mostly fearless because I have so little to fear. I curated an entire concert exploring the psychology of fear, the survival instinct behind it, the methods of dealing with it. People talk about overcoming their fears only when they are laden with them; clowns, new places, public speaking, spiders, leaving home, death, nuclear war, finding out everybody hates you. There is no “face your fears and do it anyway” when you are ignorant to disaster. You don’t need to question what you would do if you weren’t afraid, if you are already fearless. The questions and the longing and the hope for more; it’s all obsolete, you are untouchable. I’ve never felt the dread of the unknown. I cannot imagine a thing that scares me to do one of every day. Because what really can go wrong? Fear cannot reach me here – these woods are mine. Why should I live a life in fear? Why would I settle for that?

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gloucester castle cathedral full moon nighttime blue midnight purple

5 thoughts on “On Fear

  1. Laura says:

    lovely writing! i think fearlessness isn’t really the same as recklessness – or braveness either. it’s similar to being brave, except that if you’re fearless you either aren’t afraid or don’t show it and if you’re brave you’re afraid but still face whatever you’re afraid of. or i don’t know, haha. in do feel like being both brave and fearless are good qualities to have, though. xx


  2. rae says:

    Really great read – fear is a really interesting topic and something I would love to read more about from a psychological perspective as well. And I agree, being fearless should not be mistaken with being reckless.

    Rae | love from berlin


  3. Denise says:

    It’s a very beautiful post and I am glad to know someone like you – I suppose, the opposite about fear concerning myself :) I must say, in some situations I may be fearless, like some people point out. But in many others, I am very fearful. So I moved to places where I felt better, lighter… but still, some fears accompanied me. But it’s OK, cause a bit of fear can lead to survival – there are places in the world where one needs it a bit! But as I said, I am very glad to know that you are not fearful and I really loved your post!


  4. jennie says:

    Fear is a funny ol’ thing. There are lot of things I used to think I was afraid of, spiders, speaking in front of a group of people small or large, etc etc. But I don’t really fear those things, I just don’t really like them and will avoid them if I can, but I could deal with them if they were to arise. I suppose the only things I truly fear are spaces I can’t get out of, and wanting to do something that is somehow out of my reach. The latter is a bit silly really because it’s a hypothetical situation and I think that most things are possible with some quick thinking and a lot of work. So maybe it’s just the spaces I can’t get out of thing. Like planes. Nope, no thank you! ;) xo


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