As I climbed into my car today I somehow noticed a bee in the crook of my elbow. In that moment I screamed and jumped out of my car, frantically flailing my arm about as if my very existence depended upon the immediate removal of the been from my skin. I felt a puncture and wondered if I’d been stung. I’ve never been stung by a bee so have not a clue what that feels like. Apparently I still don’t. Any stinging I felt came from the incessant slapping intended to scare the killer bee away from me.
Once I realized the bee had fled the vicinity (or had it?) I climbed back into my car and sat there calming my breath. My actions were mostly instinctual, as though a serial killer threatened my life. This moment started me thinking about the nature of fear:
When does fear begin? Where does fear come from? How do our instincts come into play with fear?
I am not afraid of death, perhaps of dying, but not death. I actually started thinking that perhaps I had a greater fear of living. The process of being fully alive and awake and aware: a wondrous thing, but I hold myself back. I hold myself back by allowing thoughts to consume me. What if others are mad at me? Not all others just certain ones. Yet I need to let go of that. It is too much pressure to always behave in such a way that others will always like me. That type of behavior got me into this obese mess.
I don’t really like the word obese. I used to fear it. Well not the word exactly, but the prejudice behind it. When most people use it they do so with the intention to demean others, to demean fat people, to show that they are better by virtue of their thinness. That is a truth that makes people uncomfortable. It makes people close to me uncomfortable. Why? I’m not quite sure.
Back to the nature of fear. When do we learn it? Do we learn it the first time our hands are slapped when we try to cross a busy street? Do we learn it when our parents pull us away from scary looking people? What do scary people look like anyways? How do we know people are scary? Are they scary? Or do we condition ourselves to think they are? Some people are definitely scary—I do get that.
I don’t really fear bees; although, I do fear their sting. But, yes, I do think more than anything I fear my light.
I don’t need to be perfect. I don’t mind apologizing. I’m not afraid of that. It’s too difficult to be right all the time. I don’t like screwing up, but that’s how I learn, and I like learning.
Maybe tomorrow I won’t be afraid. Maybe tomorrow if another bee lands on me I’ll have a conversation with it about the nature of existence, of its existence and of mine. And then when it flies away, instead of watching I’ll take off in my own unique and special direction, with no destination in mind, just a desire to feel the life flowing through my veins.
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