It’s incredible to realize how powerful fear is. It practically controls all of us.
- Don’t swim in the ocean—afraid of sharks.
- Don’t fly in planes—afraid to crash.
- Don’t walk/run alone—afraid of other people’s intentions.
- Don’t fall in love—afraid of heartbreak.
- Don’t chase after your dreams—afraid of failure.
- Don’t visit new places—afraid of culture/disease/uncertainty.
- Don’t try and make friends—afraid you’re impossible to like.
- Don’t voice your opinion—afraid of confrontation.
I mean…I could easily keep going forever. It’s true, though, isn’t it? The way media is now, and the way news is so quickly spread makes that list even longer. Some people literally won’t leave their house. Others stick to a specific routine—a safe/comfortable space for them. We’ve all got our medicine for fear. Personally, I’ve learned to face it head on when confronts me. If I feel fear, I approach the situation, ask around for information and allow myself to develop a plan. Most of the time, my fears are pretty irrational, so asking around, and/or doing research, really calms me down from a near panic attack. I’ve had almost 10-years of therapy to help with that, though.
I’m not going to go into detail. I’m sure all of you know what happened in Manchester the other night. I don’t need to explain it. But, I will explain why it upsets me so much (besides the obvious reasons). Art is supposed to be safe. It’s a place where people like me escape—introverts/extroverts, shy, quietly confident, rebellious, outgoing, different, funny, creative, mysterious, passionate, etc.. It’s where people escape. People. No specific kind. Just people. It gives you a sense of meaning. And it comes in many forms: music, writing, drawing, painting, acting, sports, singing, and you know what…everything is truly art. When you look at it the right way, it all comes down to one thing. Creativity. I don’t care if someone simply drills a hole in the wall; they had to create that hole. But, I’m getting away from the point.
We have spaces specific for art—concerts, museums, writing workshops, painting classes, yoga, sporting events, parades, etc.. THOSE PLACES ARE SUPPOSED TO BE SAFE. We attend these things to learn, live, love, inspire, be inspired, and, ultimately, to escape our normal lives. Unfortunately, we have to pay attention to our surroundings at all times, in case something bad happens. You almost have to live in defense-mode. The hate that thrives in this world is so overpowering. What’s even worse than the hate, and the people that throw it, are the people that ignore it. The people who say, “screw it, there’s nothing I can do.” There is something you can do. You can always make a positive impact. If you literally can’t do anything else, at least smile at a stranger—brighten someone’s day. It’s really not that hard to do your part in bettering the world.
Let me give you some more serious fears that control our life—specifically due to todays world:
- Don’t offer to help a stranger on the side of the road—afraid they are in on some plan to harm you.
- Don’t go to a movie theater—afraid of dangerous people with guns.
- Don’t go to bar—afraid of dangerous people with guns.
- Don’t attend a sporting event—afraid of bombs.
- Don’t walk the street alone—afraid to be jumped, abducted, or worse.
- Don’t drink in public—afraid to be taken advantage of.
- Don’t fly on a plane—afraid of the 100’s of things that could possibly happen; because…bad people.
- Don’t answer the knocking at your front door—afraid a stranger is trying to harm you.
- Don’t buy anything online—afraid to get hacked.
- Don’t go online in general—afraid to be bullied.
- Don’t go to concerts—afraid of bombs.
- Don’t go anywhere—afraid of dangerous people with bad agendas.
Again, I could keep going. I could keep talking about how powerful fear is. But, we know this already. We also know fear isn’t the most reliable source; it’s not something that should receive a lot of credit. You should, however, always consider what your fear is trying to tell you—that doesn’t mean you need to let it dictate your life.
When it comes to art—and the many forms it comes in—you CAN’T hide from it out of fear. You absolutely cannot stop showing your love for art. It doesn’t matter how many terrible and tragic things keep happening in the presence of art, you have to continue showing up. We have to come together, we have to unite now more than ever before. When you’re scared, go anyway. Prove how powerful art is—prove, that no matter what, nothing can stop us from having the night of our life at a concert, a sports game, a book club, a museum, a workshop, or even a freaking library. And, honestly, art is the one thing that brings all people into spaces with the same goal—to enjoy themselves. It unites all of us. Whether or not we want to admit it, it puts everyone on common ground. So, screw the people who try and take that away from us. Screw them. We aren’t going to stop creating. We aren’t going to quit having fun. We aren’t going to run and hide because you tried to scare us. The only thing you’re doing is growing our strength, our resilience, our passion, and our drive to prove you have nothing on us.
I want to mention a genuine fear of mine and the reason I haven’t been posting on my normal schedule this last week. The last blog I wrote was about a panic attack I had earlier this week. I had that panic attack because I’m afraid for my dog, Lilly, to die. She’s thirteen, and that’s old for a dog. She’s also been having some health issues lately, which is what brought the panic attack on. I’ve never been more afraid of anything in my life than I am of my best friend dying. I don’t remember a time before her. But, it’s not going to stop me from living my life. That fear isn’t going to halt my progress, or even make the remaining days I have with her sad (the number of days is obviously unknown). I’m afraid, yes, but my strength outweighs my fear. It always does—so does yours. We are all so much stronger than we realize. Sometimes, it takes a terrible, terrible event to realize that—events that can happen at any-given-moment. At any second our lives can turn upside down. Any second. So, don’t waste those seconds living in fear for the next tragic thing. Instead, live in peace knowing you can’t control when it happens, but you can control how you react to it happening.
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