Fear to be Feared

— I thought I was helpful but I really wasn't

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

This quote used to pop in my head when I’d get slightly scared. ‘Don’t be scared.’ I’d tell myself. ‘Just be scared that you’re feeling scared–because that’s what’s making you scared. Not the scary thing.’

I thought if I convince myself out of being scared, I wouldn’t be scared anymore. All that did was distract me for a brief moment. It never worked.

Last year, my mom was often upset. My brother continued to play League of Legends until 5 in the morning and he stopped going to school. My mom was worried for his future and no matter how much yelling, she couldn’t get him to take school seriously. My mom often mentioned how there was nothing she could do to help him.

‘How would he make it as an adult?’ She had no power to improve his situation.

During that period, I talked to my mom a lot. At the time I believed I was helpful. Now I know I was just scared.

On our calls I’d try to find different ways for her to see the situation. No matter how much I rationalized that she shouldn’t be scared, my mom would go back to being upset. At times I found myself overwhelmed from talking. No amount of explaining could make her feel better. I became even more scared realizing I could be of no help.

Looking back, I can see how fear is to be feared. It has a way of spreading.

My persistence, in finding ways to pull my mom out of sadness, was driven by fear. I was not helping by bringing an energy of fear into our conversations. I also never questioned why I was so afraid of my mom feeling sad. I simply reacted–‘must make mom happy’.

The best thing to do was feel the fear and somehow find the courage not to react.

My mother found her way out of despair but I can’t say it had anything to do with me. At the very least, when I became aware of my own fear, I was able to make a decision that didn’t perpetuate additional fear.

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