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  • Roxanne Noor

There is Fear

A friend and I were talking about the past and how far we’ve come. A few years ago there were months on end where she was on the brink of madness. She compulsively locked doors, and had to have a friend come over and sleep in bed with her so she could feel safe enough to fall asleep. It was not out of nowhere, she had been sexually abused. 

Someone once told me, “the things we fear most in life have already happened to us.” I think it’s true. For me, there had been months of a slight paranoia, non stop rape nightmares and shitty sleep.  

After our talk, I went back to her extra house I was sleeping in. The past three nights I hadn’t bothered to lock the door. Now after our conversation, the old urge came back and I screwed around with the key. The door refused to lock. I sat in my room and felt the old fear rising, ready to reclaim me. 

As the hour passed of not being able to sleep due to old fear, I realized I had to say “fuck it”. If  someone breaks in so be it. As I lay in bed, my body was slowly relaxing with deep breaths. An old memory climbed into bed with me. It was from a podcast I had listened to three years before in India. On the podcast, a man talked about a stranger with a gun breaking into his house while he was eating dinner with his family. 

Instead of freaking out or fighting the armed robber, the man told this stranger with the gun to sit down and have dinner with them. Together they would figure out a way for him to get money so that he wouldn’t have to rob people. He didn’t cry or scream. He was centered and calm. The armed stranger agreed and sat down.

Nobody called the cops. The man had so much compassion and spaciousness in him that he was able to transform the fucked up situation. What could have been violent or traumatizing wasn’t, because the man had the ability to respond with humanity and care. 

I realized what I feared most wasn’t necessarily getting raped or robbed, but my lack of capacity to handle it. My lack of trust in myself. The disempowering belief I would create around my mishandling of the situation. 

I am not always graceful, especially under stress. Sometimes my body goes into freeze. Sometimes I panic and meet my own overwhelm. My mind does not remain in neutral, but can accelerate quickly or brake unexpectedly. 

I know the mind is a fragile thing. I am afraid often I will break. I fear life will give me something I cannot handle and my mind will snap. 

I know that the only way I can work with this fear is to get to a resting place in myself where I can trust my own abilities. A place where I am not reactive to fear or rape or death. This is big work. The greatest people in life, the Navalny’s, the King’s, and the Ghandi’s were afraid. They chiseled their way through the fear, and refused to submit to it. They weren’t squashed out or hateful.  

More than being shaped by experience, we can shape our experience by the way we respond to it. I cannot be a victim to life if I am a part of it. There is nothing I need to fear if this whole play is a piece of me too.

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