It’s something we all feel. Some more than others.
Some know why–and what–they fear, others don’t.
As for me, sometimes I know, sometimes I don’t, but the majority of the time, my fear stems from not knowing itself.
I like to know every minute detail, labeling everything in sight, giving it its own category. Author Barry Lopez defines this as the “knowing the name each thing is called” as the “smallest room” and suggests that real intelligence lies within “hesitancy to speak” and a “sharpness of the senses.” The search for knowledge is a long swim in a turbulent ocean, and it horrifies me to no end. I feel helpless, floundering in a sea of new information. I want someone to cast me a lifeline, but at the same time, I see that as a sign of weakness. I don’t know why. I love when people ask questions. It’s enjoyable to share your knowledge. Perhaps it’s a matter of perspective.
That’s not the only unknown I fear. New people, new places, new things. There’s an element of unknown in all of these, and the results? Sometimes catastrophic, sometimes mildly awkward, and for some strange reason, I see these all the same. I worry about things that never happen. I worry about things that never could happen. I don’t tell people what I like, I don’t tell people what I do, all to avoid the off chance of ridicule, or shame. Then, I worry that I appear boring. So what do I do about all of it?
I retreat to a world of fiction, a world located right in my own head.
The strangest thing is, it’s not fantastical. It’s just like the real world. Problems and all. The characters are nothing special, just average people you might know. Some may not even be all that likable. I go there because I know them. They’re me. Each one of them is a different part of me. Awkward and oversensitive. Dry and witty (to a detriment). Distant and rather odd. Book-smart but hopelessly absentminded. These four take center stage in their mundane yet strange lives in a small Northeastern town.
I’ve been there a lot. At school, at home, at practice, I find myself drifting off to the grey skies and autumn leaves of Indigo Harbor to observe the lives of those I know–lives of those I created.
I’m certainly not the only one who does this. Maladaptive daydreaming, it is called. Usually implies anxiety or depression, something that makes you want to escape reality. Another unknown I fear. I’m not in the best state right now. Not sure why, but everyday just feels a little…damp. I sit alone often, sometimes by my own choosing, sometimes not. Do my friends like me? Will things get better? Am I living up to my own potential? Hard questions, questions too hard for me to ask.
It’s not like I’m living a particularly hard life either. There are kids in Baltimore, younger than I am, living in poverty with the threat of death looming over those they know constantly. What do I have? Too much homework. Woe is me. So does everyone else. I certainly don’t think the majority is handling it any better than I am. Everyone has issues. Issues of different difficulty, issues of different means. Everyone has their own demons of their own kind to fight.
This raises the real question. Is society to blame, or are we, as people, striving for a goal that cannot be attained? Perhaps both. Society definitely needs improvement, but we cannot be happy all the time. Light cannot exist without dark.
This is why the creatives, the thinkers have developed fiction. To fill the holes in our lives. To shine light in someone’s darkness. To call for light in a very dark place. Someday, I desire to do the same.
One thought on “Escaping Fear”
“As for me, sometimes I know, sometimes I don’t, but the majority of the time, my fear stems from not knowing itself.” This is absolutely one of my favorite lines because of how much I can relate to it. I’ve never exactly been able to put these feelings into words but your post has described it perfectly. The fear of not knowing, in my opinion, is incredibly detrimental and often leads into downwards spirals of questions that I can’t answer and more feelings that I can’t describe.