Fear and bravery

I am allowed not to make sense, but do not always realise that.

Recent experiences have been pleasant. I was out leafleting for Labour last night. We met in the car park, and chatted for a bit, then I got my road group and cycled there. A man in his garage took my leaflet, and said he had voted Labour already. A woman in her front garden encouraged her toddler to take my leaflet from me. I had put the lock on my bike but not locked it to anything, and worried that someone would pinch it or hide it. That would require particular malice and nastiness, and there are few people walking round that corner, even on such a lovely midsummer evening. I cycled home and met two other leafleters- we chatted pleasantly for a few minutes. The whole experience was Nice. I remain afraid of the world.

I was too hot in the sunshine when I got to Swanston, and walked to the tea-shop with my wig off. So, sometimes I show fear, and sometimes a lack of circumspection.

It seems to me that if I show any vulnerability Enemies will pounce.

I leave my house, walk to the bus stop, and have to go back to check I have locked my front door, because I cannot remember and therefore imagine I have been an idiot, not locking it. I am capable of such idiocy: when I went to Portugal I left my electric blanket on, and though that was more likely to fuse it than to start a fire, I feared my flat would be burned out.

It is liberating giving this fear a voice, even though it is not sensible. Telling it to shut up and not to be so stupid has not worked, is not loving and shows no self-respect. So, give it a voice. I have been seeing my fear as a problem, but it is a part of me, needing loved and integrated. Love “drives out” fear, and soothes the fearful. I have wanted to show my fear it is wrong, but that shows no self-respect either.

I had thought work would be safe if I stuck to the rules, except it wasn’t. I feel my fear is my parents’ fear too.

I have very little knowledge of my maternal grandmother’s maternal grandfather, Mr Butt- only his surname, and only 90% certainty of its spelling. He drove a hackney carriage. At one time he owned three and had an arrangement for others to drive two on his behalf; but he lost the other two, through drinking. And, he would wander home drunk taking stuff from shops; the shopkeepers would let him, knowing he would be back to pay for it when sober. Stuff he did not need and could not afford, perhaps. I have the feeling my relatives felt as I feel about this, half disapproving, half admiring.

There are all these bits of myself I cannot admit because I can’t accept them. You haven’t said much today.

-I’ve been contemplating you contemplating your humanity. You can’t integrate without acceptance. Your need to find order in this.

Possibly I need to find order too much. I objected to a Labour volunteer calling the candidate a “young girl”. Women object to this. I wondered if it might make her seem more approachable, more “One of us” so more likely to get votes; or diminish respect for her, less likely to get votes. Probably the effect either way is too marginal to bother with. I do want order though. It seems safer if I can understand.

-You can’t show bravery without fear. Foolhardiness, perhaps.

I treasure this comment from over a year ago: I think you are extremely brave.

-I noticed you equate forgetfulness with idiocy.

Well, it was silly to leave the electric blanket on. “Idiocy” might be a bit strong. I need to be sensible and clever. I am clever, just not sensible.

-Perhaps that is a mercy not a curse, she says.

3 thoughts on “Fear and bravery

  1. You’re not stupid, you’re human. We all forget stuff especially when our mind is focused on considering and evaluating all the perceived threats and chances of embarrassment or worse. You’re right that you can’t fight it. The trick, I think, is to smile and accept that you’re a lovely human being – if only to yourself.

    Easy to say, hard to do. You are brave that in the heat you removed your wig to go have tea. I wonder, why wear a wig at all? Maybe there are cool and pretty hats that are more comfortable and feminine?

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    • I took off the cycle-helmet and did not put on the wig. I have worn pretty hats, but it is harder to take them on the bicycle.

      You put it beautifully. I think the trick is relaxing- there is all this calculation, worry and fear, and you relax and stop, in a zen way of doing-not-doing or doing what you will. Perhaps find places where this is easier, and practise. However, the alternative way is to slip into a role, a mask. I grow to find the masks uncomfortable, but putting them on is so reflexive it is hard to change the habit; then taking the mask off is frightening and confusing, leaving it on is frustrating and deadening.

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      • About it being a zen thing – yes! I’m into mindfulness so I try to deal with this kind of anxiety is to acknowledge that it comes from fears of the future… and try to stay in the present.

        I also hear you about masks. As I am Emma I don’t want to just trade one mask for another. But we also want to project the truth of ourselves to others which is normal. You’ve heard that we “wear our automobiles?” If we buy a muscle car that projects an image, and if we drive a Prius that’s another – which is more like me.

        Perhaps something for me to think about is to enjoy the mask, if you will. I like what I project when I’m riding my bike, and I look forward to the day when I can ride it with more feminine togs. I have a small motorcycle too and here again, I see myself riding about as a woman. Just being me, nothing more nothing less.

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