Fear is a hungry beastie

Hey: some posts have been taking me way too long, so I’m trying something new: I’m writing some “flash” posts that I write in fifteen minutes or less. From beginning to end. Including editing! This is scary for me. So I’m starting with fear.

Max Klinger On Death PestilenceI sat in the room yesterday and at first I was fine. And then it started to eat at me a little. It was hungry. It hadn’t been fed in hours.

Insecurity has a high metabolism. Fear needs to eat a lot of calories. It likes thoughts and emotions the most. Dark, dank, emotions that grow under the sink and next to the water heater. Sticky ones, and hot ones, and wet ones. Ones that we don’t like to touch or hold, but want to feed to the fear. It likes them. Emotions full of maggots and fruit flies and little swimming things that we don’t want to look at too close because we might figure out what they are.

It told me I wasn’t good enough, the fear did. It told me I didn’t belong. It told me they wouldn’t like me, if and when they got to know me. It told me I’d never fit in, and this wasn’t the place for me, and everyone else would be happy together, smiling and publishing and looking so fine, and I’d go and I’d stand on my own, and I’d leave on my own, and I’d go home and I’d cry and I’d want to die. Remember those days? When we fed the fear those things?

But we’re grown now. Well, I’m half-grown. And when he said it, I heard it, and I knew he meant it for me, too. I’m one of the people, too, today. Once upon a time, I wasn’t. I wasn’t one of the people. You were. All of you were. And I was. I was something else. I was small, or fat, or ugly, or useless, or in the way, or invisible, or if the planets aligned I was a friend, but a broken one, but I wasn’t one of the people. But yesterday I was and that’s how I know I’m getting better.

He said something like this:

Know that you belong here. Know that we read your work. Know that someone here thought the world of it. Know that we want you here. Know that you have passed.

And what I really heard was:

Know that you are one of the people. Know that you are not unlovable. Know that not everything you do is always wrong. Know that the fear is not real.

Know that I sing that song for each and every one of you, my dunnies.

[Nineteen minutes. Well, practice makes progress.]

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