It's astonishing how much of life is governed by this one simple emotion.
Of course, there's nothing simple about fear. Fear has teeth and claws; it stops us from doing even the most commonplace tasks and can dominate every other thought. And in my opinion, it is the most destructive emotion there is.
I have known people close to me who live lives dominated by fear: fear of being alone forces them into bad relationships; fear of failure stops them from trying for success; fear of shame keeps them silent when they should speak or act. I am a cheerleader for living fearlessly; I urge these people to always strive to do the thing they think they cannot do, working for months or even years to get them to open up.
And this is advice I cannot take, myself. Yup, I'm a big hypocrite: my fears run my life. One of my biggest fears, the one dominating my current situation, is the fear of being financially insecure. I grew up poor, and it has engendered in me a fear of money (specifically not having it), and this has me currently in a job that I hate, as far from my dreams as I can be while being closer to them than I ever was before. Can I pay my bills? Yes (barely, but I'm squeaking by each month). Am I independent, living on my own finally and responsible for myself? Yes. Am I willing to give these things up for the chance to do what I have dreamed of doing pretty much my entire life?
. . . . . . . . .
Well. There it is. I promised myself to try to be more authentic, to be braver in opening up. Here is my truth: I am sacrificing my dream to my fears. And, I don't see that changing anytime soon. I have an intense, screaming terror of poverty, of the bills being overdue each month, of being homeless, of being hungry. I get such a little tiny ping of satisfaction each time I pay something ontime, and I sometimes wake up at two in the morning worrying about expenses, doing and redoing budgets in my head until I can't go back to sleep. I fantasize about meeting a rich danna (that's a patron of a geisha, for those of you who aren't geeks like me), who settles all my debts and gives me a big cushion for my savings account, and I can sleep soundly for the first time in years. I dream of winning the lottery not so I can buy a big house or go on an expensive vacation, but so I can be debt-free and invest the rest, living off the dividends and never worrying about another meal.
Becoming a film costumer takes time and doggedness: I need to be available anytime of the day, any day of the week, for anyone who calls me. I need to be wiling to work for free, to do the tasks no one else wants to do (run to the garment district and get swatches? Let me grab my car!), and spend years building friends, contacts, and a reputation while making almost no money doing it. At the end of the process I'm in the union, getting steady work from people I know and have worked with in the past, and hopefully making decent money (at least as much as I made as an admin). I'm also content and fulfilled, artistically and spiritually. But, the route to that goal is one filled with the kind of financial instability that I cannot stomach. And, I haven't a clue how to change that.
Living by fear. Reluctantly I must accept that there is no Prince waiting in the wings to bail me out and pay off my debts. So, I sit at a desk each day and dream of a different life, weighed down by the chains of my own disappointment. I keep hoping the solution will occur to me one day . . . but I'm too afraid of screwing up what I have to try to change anything.
I'd love to hear from you, dear readers. What are your greatest fears? How would you go about overcoming them?