Fearless. The handy dandy dictionary defines this word as: lacking fear, without fear, free from fear. So now its time for full honesty and disclosure. I have always thought this word was kind of bullshit. It always seemed like a ridiculous thing to strive for, because I don’t want to be fearless. Without fear there wouldn’t be bravery; there wouldn’t be that feeling of having conquered the world; and that would just be heartbreaking and totally passion killing. Even if I wanted to somehow become “fearless” how the hell do I do it? Fear is at the core of human existence, it’s coded right into our DNA to fear for our survival. You wouldn’t live a very long caveman life if you didn’t innately fear pain at the very least, and that’s what most fear boils down to.
We are afraid of words for what they might do to our hearts, heights because we might fall, clowns because they’re creepy and they might murder our asses. Pretty much every fear boils down to this: “I don’t want to feel pain, and I will do whatever I can to keep myself safe.” We are specifically designed to run away from things that could cause us harm, physically or emotionally. But you can’t fold up fear like an embarassing Christmas sweater to put in the closet and hope it disappears.
There is no reason to be ashamed of a fearful life; you’re just living the way you were built. Which is why I think it is silly that anyone would want to try and live a life devoid of fear. We’ve got a big team of terrified messes here for you to join, so you don’t need to pretend. We’ve got your back. We feel you.
I want our big ol’ mess of a team to live authentically, apart from dictionary definitions. Instead of feeling ashamed and pretending there isn’t a giant fluffy wool cat protruding 4 inches off of our terrible turtleneck sweaters, I propose that we embrace the itch and throw ourselves an ugly sweater party. Because true fearlessness lies in embracing the things that may cause use pain, sometimes even running directly towards them. It seems to me that there are only really two options. Smile and pretend you’re living a fear-free dictionary life, or sweat through the scary times wearing that sweater proudly, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
Pretending fear doesn’t exist inside you isn’t real. Hiding that terrible sweater your Aunt Judy made you doesn’t mean that you won’t have to pull it out for family Christmas again next year. Pushing it away doesn’t make it no longer exist.
So let me tell you about real, true, empowering fearlessness. Real fearlessness is being so scared shitless that you feel like you might actually die, and continuing on in spite of that. It’s lining yourself with a coat of bravery and putting on that sweater despite the discomfort of that thick itchy suffocating fabric, and getting together with your people to show off your new style, just to let your fears know that they won’t have power over you.
Our real life truth is bravery. It’s recognizing that we are just a bunch of cavemen fighting for survival in a changing world. It’s continuing to have fun at your party, despite being occasionally suffocated by that turtleneck sweater. Turns out you won’t die. Turns out you are powerful. Because you’re fearless baby! The real kind.