There's this thing nagging at the back of my head. Has been there for weeks. It's like an echo that is just out of range. It is trying to tell me something. Just what it is I don't know. I've tried to avoid it, tried to avoid thinking of what it is saying. Maybe I fear it's right. Maybe I fear it is just one more piece of self-doubt and stress. Maybe I fear it's fear.
Either way, I am doing my best to pretend it isn't there, but it keeps shining through.
Saw the wreck in D.C. and watched the mayor be as inarticulate as possible in the face of disaster as he rattled off the death toll. He appeared to be all of twenty years of age. I always thought that being the mayor of Washington D.C. would be a lot like getting a key to a city. Symbolic, but little else. I imagine he probably thought the same thing in the back of his mind, where that little voice tries to tell you things. I imagine when he saw those two trains mating he thought otherwise, and when he listened to that voice, he couldn't help but think he was drowning.
I shadowed a worker today as she did her interviews. She's good, though she doesn't think so. She dealt with a guy who reeked of alcohol and rattled off enough nonsense to seriously threaten to derail the interview. I wonder if that little voice in her head, the one that comes to her when she realizes she has to ask yet another question, started to get a little clearer at that point. I wonder what it was saying, and if she wanted to listen to it.
In Pulp Fiction, that little thing in Bruce Willis' mind is referred to as pride. It is. It is pride. It is fear. It is self-doubt. It is self-loathing. It is that little voice that says you are the emperor and not only are you wearing no clothes, but everyone can see you, and they are all pointing and they finally realize what you most fear. Exposure. Truth. Reality.
So many of us can get through the day masking our feelings and ignoring our pain. We put on pretty smiles because it's easier to fake a smile than to explain a frown. We nod. We offer stock answers to stock questions. We take comfort in the fact that we can get through the day without ever listening to that little voice. We take pride in knowing that at the end of the day nothing really changed.
I've known many a soul who listened to that little voice and let it destroy them. They hit the bottle, down some pills, smoke some rock, stick the needle in, steal ... whatever they can do to stop it from saying anything else that can damage. The problem is, once you listen to that voice, you can't undo it. There are no do-overs. No give backs. Once that voice has spoken, you either gotta deal or deny, and denial is this raging beast that only goes after you.
Dealing with that voice is hard because it is truth. It is the all-knowing, all-seeing eye. It is a quarter ton disaster that has your name all over it. If you can survive it, though, it makes you a better person. It makes you stronger.
Or it rips your soul out your spine and leaves you bleeding in the middle of nowhere.
Either way, avoidance can only go on so long before it is silenced. While that may be a blessing, that silence is actually death, because if you let it die, you do the same. You lost. Your hopes, dreams, ideas ... they all go away because they are tied to that voice.
I love the Marvel Comic character Daredevil. He is flawed, though he tries to do the right thing. He is imperfect. One of his villains once said that a man without hope is a man without fear. I would add to that.
A man without fear is a man without hope.
Here's to fear.