Take a line from a song that you love or connect with. Now forget the song, and turn that line into the title or inspiration for your post.
Ok. So let’s try this little creative writing exercise.
Fear. Fear is such a strong emotion that we all deal with whenever we make a decision. How many of us live our lives in fear? We’re afraid of the unknown, afraid of taking risks. Fear causes amazing people to live dull lives.
Franklin D. Roosevelt has the famous line from his inauguration that we are all very familiar with.
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
That’s only a partial quote though, the entire line goes a little longer and reveals even more than the part that we are used to hearing.
So first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.
I think the whole line speaks volumes to the human condition. Many people say it’s love that motivates most people, and I concur that love is one of the strongest emotions out there. However, I believe that fear may actually be an even more powerful motivator.
Fear has led humanity to some of it’s darkest moments. Humanity has a habit of subjugating that which it fears. Egpyt turned the Hebrews into slaves because it was afraid of their power. The pharisees and the Romans crucified Christ because they were afraid of his power. Whites made blacks into slaves out of fear. Men didn’t give women a voice out of fear. After Pearl Harbor, America rounded up Japanese Americans and put them in camps because we were afraid. Now the religious deny gay men and women rights because they don’t understand us and therefore they fear us.
In order for progress to be made fear has to be overcome. That’s such a hard thing to do though. To overcome the fear of the majority has to be infinitely harder compared to over coming your own fears.
In Green Lantern, Geoff Johns established the emotional spectrum. The Green Lantern is of course the embodiment of willpower. It is will that gives him his strength to form the green constructs we’ve seen. Now, for many years Green Lantern had a weakness to the color yellow. The green energy didn’t work on yellow and it was just kind of accepted as fact. When Geoff Johns took over the storytelling for Green Lantern he decided to explain this flaw. Yellow, as it turned out, was the energy that came from fear. I think it’s telling that will was unable to act in the face of fear. Now, Hal Jordan and the rest of the corps were able to overcome fear. Willpower isn’t about being without fear, it’s about over coming it.
This is the lesson that we all need to learn, to overcome fear. When I was contemplating my move to Ohio I talked to many people about it. So many people are living their lives in complacency, they aren’t living them the way they want to but they are terrified of making the changes they need to so they can find their happiness. Where does this fear come from? I think the best summation of these feelings is actually found in a song in a show called [title of show], the song is Die Vampire Die. It talks about all those voices that pull you down and keep you from achieving your desires.
The last vampire is the mother of all vampires and that is the vampire of despair. It’ll wake you up at 4am to say things like: Who do you think you’re kidding? You look like a fool. No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be good enough. Why is it that if some dude walked up to me on the subway platform and said these things, I’d think he was a mentally ill asshole, but if the vampire inside my head says it, it’s the voice of reason.
Despair. It comes from fear. Fear that we are not good enough to achieve our goals. So how do we overcome fear? How do we stake the vampires that keep us down?
Once again, I draw on Green Lantern for the comparison. While it is possible for Will to overcome Fear, it’s a never ending battle. The Yellow and Green energies are pretty evenly matched in the DC Universe, until you throw in the Blue light. The Blue Lanterns wield the power of Hope. Hope strengthens Will. This isn’t just true in the DC Universe though, in reality this is the case. The best way to overcome fear is to cling to hope.
For too long I’ve let my brain talk me into abandoning hope. I’ve let guys that I really cared about walk out of my life because the hope of anything real was illogical in my head. It paralyzed me with fear and I never made any moves. I’ve never even attempted to sing or write or act publicly outside of a safe environment because my brain told me there was no hope of ever amounting to anything in that. So my singing was left to karaoke. My writing was left in scraps of paper in a bedside drawer. My acting I gave up after high school.
So this is my calling now. I will no longer let fear control my life. I will cling to every ounce of hope I find and let it guide me. It will strengthen my will and I will overcome fear. If I want to write I will pursue it. I will strengthen my resolve to have the kind of life I deserve and not live a life of complacency.
The people all are pointing
I bet they’d never guess
That the saint that they’re anointing
Is frightened of the mess
And even though I fear it
I’m playing all my cards
Baby you are gonna hear it
When I give them my regards