Day 16 – We have nothing to fear

10 Jul

What are you most afraid of? I recently started planning a story about a teenage girl who has to work through some pretty serious fears. I’m also participating in a virtual summer writing camp for teachers and librarians and today’s task was to create a list of words that the characters in our story would use. As I created my list, I began to think about my character in a bit more depth and how best to convey her fears to my reader. Then I began to think about my own fears, both as an adolescent and now as an adult, which made me realize just how personal and private our fears can be.

FearsAs I child, I remember thinking how big the job was that my parents had to do–keeping the house running and taking care of me and my brother. I remember thinking that I’d never be able to do it and keep everything organized. How do they remember to pay the phone bill? What if they got laid off and didn’t have enough money for the bills? Would I be able to get a job good enough to pay all of my bills? I remember worrying about these things, thinking that I didn’t have what it takes to make it as an adult.

As a teenager, I thought I knew what I wanted most from life and that was to be a mother and have a family of my own. One of my biggest fears was the idea that it would never happen for me. I think that fear is basic in everyone, especially young people. it’s not the fear that they won’t get married and have children, butit’s that they won’t get what they want the most in life. When we have this kind of fear there are three basic ways we can react to it. We can:

1) Push for what we want, even if what we want is not what’s best or the timing is all wrong.
2) Do purposeful things to work toward what we want, but doing so with patience and the guidance of others.
3) Do nothing, a self-fulfilling prophecy where your fear immobilizes you and keeps you from getting what you want the most.

Some people will go through stages of all three of these reactions, in no particular order. I know I’ve reacted to various fears all three ways.

As an adult, my fears have mostly changed, but in some ways they’re quite the same. My biggest fear is that I won’t live long enough to enjoy my grandchildren. However, I don’t fear death itself, it’s more of a fomo (fear of missing out). This fear is a far reaching one, because it supposes that one of my two children will end up having children of their own. That isn’t within my control, nor is the timing of my death. I could do things to make myself healthier and increase my chances of living longer, but nothing says I won’t get hit by a car later today and die. Life is never guaranteed. In fact, if I try to force myself to be more realistic about my fears and narrow them down to both things that are marginally probable and within my control, I’m left with nothing. I have nothing to fear.

However, I still have this teenage character in my story who must work through her fears. I’ve got some ideas, but of course I’d welcome your ideas. Do you remember what your biggest adolescent fears were?

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2 Responses to “Day 16 – We have nothing to fear”

  1. Diana July 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM #

    June bugs (still are). Sharks (after I watched Jaws). Public speaking (cured when I became a confident adult). Ridicule (does one ever get past that?)

  2. dashthebook July 11, 2014 at 7:45 PM #

    Unfortunately, both of my parents died while I was young. I was only 10 when my dad passed, on 20 when mom died. So honestly, my biggest fear was my own mortality. For whatever reason, I was convinced I’d never see the north side of 36. It hung over my head. I knew I’d die young, so I had to live fully while I lived. But I mostly was gripped by the fear, and didn’t let it propel me to any great accomplishments. When I turned 40, I felt such a relief. I started getting a vision for my life, like shoot! I could do 60! Maybe 70! (I hit 50 in February).

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