I Dare You to Live a Fearless Life
By Clara G. Herrera
FearArt photo credit: Red Herrera Ellisor, a lovely daughter with voice, spirit, and intellect
First posted in the Huffington Post Blog
Fear is a paralyzing place to be. It consumes you from the inside out like a cancer devouring all the joy in life one cell at a time, and you may not even realize it.
Of all the emotions, scientists have determined that fear is one of the most powerful. Anecdotally, I know this from experience.
A few years ago, around the Christmas holiday, my fears came to a head like a pus-filled pimple ready to burst. I was paralyzed by terror for months and few knew it.
My marriage, that looked so lovely from the outside, was shattered, bleeding, and in need of triage. I feared I had a communicable disease. I feared being alone. But these weren’t my worst fears.
Here was my horror.
My beautiful daughter, now 18, wanted to kill herself. She’d even picked the date: Christmas Eve and mode: hanging from our balcony. We committed her for a week to a psychiatric facility, all while preparing for Christmas for my two younger children who knew something was wrong but didn’t know what.
For months, while trying to salvage my marriage and teach elementary school children, I hid knives, scissors, medicine, and checked on my beautiful daughter’s breathing in the middle of the night. Terror. Fear. A domination of my existence. A panic attack landed me in an emergency room.
I stayed in my marriage more than year, hoping it could be saved, but knowing if I chose to leave I couldn’t until I knew my child was strong enough for me to make my exit. Finally, after frequent check-ins with her therapist, she was. So I left.
I have been shedding my fears like scaly old skin a bit at a time ever since.
When I “thought” about launching a funny Acid Neutral Art Project into the real world about healing after divorce while wearing my wedding dress from almost two decades ago in funky places, my first emotion was fear. What would my former spouse think? Would it bother him? I almost didn’t do it.
A good friend jolted me into the reality of my new life. “What do you care what he thinks?” I had to reconfigure my thinking. Yes, why was I afraid? Now, it is a constant reminder to myself, Yes, what am I afraid of?
If you think about it, why are we afraid of anything that could bring goodness into our lives? We stay in bad relationships because we fear what would happen if we left. We fear being alone. We live as shadows controlled by the trepidations and worries in life that may never come.
It is the albatross that hangs around our necks visible to no one but ourselves. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s quote: “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” used to have absolutely no meaning to me.
Now, I understand.
You stand on the precipice of life. Are you going to stand there or leap fearlessly into the deep blue sea of happy?
The water’s fine.
Have the courage to live a fearless life. I don’t live much in fear anymore, except for the clown part. Still not a fan. They are creepy.
(Enriching Music: Could Have Been Me, The Struts; Shout, Tears For Fears)