Do one thing every day that scares you.
I was fearless until I was comfortable. When I had nothing to lose, when I was 16 and running on the cold fumes of Coke-Cola and Benson & Hedges, and life couldn’t touch me, couldn’t even feel the breeze drifting behind my back, it was all before me. Like the gaping scene in movies when the girl is on the bus and the city at night stretches before her, beckoning, arms open, I stood in front of life, arms at my hips, daring it to fuck with me.
I walked as I wished. I danced as I could, with anyone watching, my eyes brazen and on fire. I welcomed into my embrace anyone who would have me, who would worship me, even if it was only for that night, for those moments on a wet lawn staring up into the starry sky astride a concrete building. I felt no fear, deep inside. Nothing could touch me. Nothing could come close to really touching me. I was memory on air, born of a twirl and a running start through a dew touched part in May. I was myth, I was a creature only written about in song.
My oh my how beautiful I was then.
That life without fear, a life lived in the now, the absolute center of here and I and this second, it’s a sparkling thing, a diamond you can hold, softly in the palm of your hand, but any movement, the slightest shake or shudder will throw it off. It will sprout wings and float away, leaving you breathless at the bottom of a hill, weightless with the sudden realization of what the world might have in store for you.
Those 3am, high as a kite long walks home where you stop and examine each and every thing to catch your gaze-they stop happening, so focused you are on getting somewhere or getting home to someone.
Saying yes! to a random group of people and launching out on an adventure, ending up in a dank park on a misty foggy evening as a hand drum keeps time with the earnest conversation stretching around you-this disappears, since no one in their right mind just wanders off and sits braiding the hair that lays in their lap for no good reason.
Adventure disappears when sense manifests.
I saw then this change as my struggle-my struggle for a place, an understanding of my time in a world seemingly against me. I could harness my own power, my fear or lack of it. But the power in my hands, the fearlessness, I couldn’t move it into the world in honest ways, in those that paid off for others, sticking it out in university, truly finding themselves before settling. I could only splay it out like something spat from my mouth in distaste, unharmonious, frightened in spite of itself.
That fearlessness turned into a crippling fear of that which others take for granted, sanity, normality, being able to put one foot in front of the other and make a life. I was paralyzed by the fear of just growing up, of doing all those adult things. Of loving, of being loved, of taking it seriously enough, life, to do what I really wanted to do, to life a real life.
I fear, or have feared, the living. It’s easy to jump into a cold lake when you have nothing after to worry for. Fearlessness, is living recklessly, living for your heart, when you have things to account for, people who wait up for you. I look forward now to a future that scares me, even while it fills me with joy for what may lie ahead.
I was that girl once, unafraid and filled with belief in tomorrow. I will be her again.
(Quadelle had a fab idea to do a series of posts based on phrases from Mary Schmich’s commencement address . [You may remember it better as a “song” by Baz Luhrmann] I thought it was a great idea, so, I stole it. Or copied. Whatever. Imitation is the soul of wit. Or brevity. Or both. )