freeing fears

by Kristen

I live in my head; ideas, dreams and perceptions swirl inside me stirring up angst and insecurity.

I bury the chaos in silence, but saying it aloud shifts the camera angle. The giant, menacing wolf hounding me is only a shadow puppet—a toothless imposter. Turns out my fears have enough merit to catch the eye but not enough substance to stand up under the glare of truth.

That’s the scam of fear. It thrives in darkness. It lives on lies: I am the only one who thinks this way, who feels this way, who struggles this way.

Voicing my vulnerabilities I break into a cold sweat. But when I form them into words and expose them to light, I find I am not unique. There’s nothing special about my anxieties. Sharing is hard; but the second, third, twenty-fourth time I say them out loud I wonder how they ever held such power over me. When I release my inner soundtrack, I hear how I’d stacked my rough cuts against others’ final cuts. I compared my interior to their exteriors. And they didn’t match.

Isolation feels safe, but verbalization strips away the mystery. That’s why I need community. That’s why I need to know and be known. That’s why I need a place where we peel back our polished fronts and see our commonalities . . . even when they’re fears.

In the security of love I state what’s in me. As fear slips out, hope echoes back.


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