Fear: An Apology


Dear Fear,

I owe you an apology. And not a fear based one like John Cleese, in “A Fish Called Wanda.”

I really am truly sorry. You see, I have been holding you responsible, and blaming you for a great many things in this life that are not your fault. I get that when you show up you are just doing your job. I get that you don’t bring the causes for your appearance with you, but rather than you show up because you are called forth by those causes.

Honestly I doubt I would have survived this long without you. I owe you a lot. It is a completely valid thing for you to show up and poke me when I contemplate walking down a sketchy alley. I am grateful for all the times you have prompted me to leap out of the way of a bus I was neglecting to notice. I really am glad you warned me to step away from a myriad of frightened and aggressive animals and people. I truly value the times you have been there to warn me about looming situations. Taking you into consideration has proven very useful in preparation for trips, for example.

I also get that I have been holding deep habitual thought and emotion patterns that have called you forth inappropriately. When that has happened, it’s been my reaction to get angry with you. I get it now that you were not to blame. You were just doing your job. It was the underlying garbage I was holding onto that rang your buzzer. Those times (all of them) were my fault. I accept that, and I am very sorry for all the time I spent yelling at you and screaming for you to leave me alone.

I have been holding you as an enemy to be defeated. I see now that such a thing is not only impossible, but very much undesirable.

I am astounded with how true of a friend you have been. Despite the decades of misplaced blame, shame, guilt, and marginalization I have heaped on you, you have never once shied from your duties. You are always there when I need you, and it is not your fault that I call you to me when you are not needed. I did that. That is all on me. I am sorry, my friend. Had I had someone do that to me with such consistency I would have walked out on them long ago. Your fortitude and dedication are humbling.

I appreciate that you have let me learn this lesson in my own time. Recently it must have been a bit lonely for you. For so many years I called you in so often. On a daily, or hourly basis. You came at my call with no hesitation. As things have unwound a bit for me, I have called on you less, and like a faithful companion you have let me be.

You are still there when I need you. As my own begging for you to appear has lessened, I’ve been able to see more clearly the awful game I’ve been playing with you. You never meant to do anything mean, or harmful. I made you do that, and for that I am truly remorseful. It’s like I was hitting myself and begging you to stop. That is unfair, and I know it.

I am glad you are still there, old friend. Now when you come I see the signal you are. A call to look, be more aware. To wake up to the moment and face it directly. You are not there to make me cower. You never have been. And, that misinterpretation was my fault too.

I salute you, fear! You have always been there for me, and I am ready to return the favor. Come dance with me dear one, and please do warn me when I am about to step on a tac. No one takes care of me in the same way you do. I value that. I value you.