There’s a reason this word is revered by many. A reason we perceive it as an anomaly. A reason Taylor Swift chose it to be the name of her album.
Lacking fear is badass. Possessing the means to squelch the roiling in our guts, to strangle the doubting voice in the back of our heads, is more than impressive—it’s envy inspiring.
It’s also impossible.
The reality of that fantasy boils down to one glaring, barefaced fact: Fearlessness is an unachievable standard we like to admire. An ideal. We humans like to idolize and idealize quite a bit. We think it will make us free from scrutiny, set us on a pedestal far too high for any snake’s venom to strike us.
But no amount of water is going to drown the ugly voice deep inside the recesses of my mind that fosters fear.
It will always resurface, always be back to patronize and shackle me to the numbness of my comfort zone. It will water the seeds of doubt, and no amount of raking or digging will uproot them, because those roots have already grown deep.
In fact, those seeds were planted a long, long time ago. When my mind was first formed in the womb, when incoherent thoughts started ticking away like a grandfather clock, that voice was there. It’s a part of my pendulum, part of the weight that manages my ticks.
But there is a way to leash that voice, a way to control the frequency of the pendulum’s swing.
We can let fear manifest in two ways: we can let it master us or we can let it awaken us.
The path of fearful awakening is uncharted by many, overgrown with thorns and peppered with pitfalls. But it is the high road nevertheless—the road to the best adrenaline rushes and breathlessly rapid heartbeats.
And while on my unexplored path, I must remember fear can be healthy. It is human nature, it shows that I’m feeling, it inspires growth. Acting in spite of fear, remaining upright even with heavy rocks in my pack trying to drag me to my knees, is the most fearsome and courageous thing one can do.
It’s also daunting.
This verb, “to daunt,” is defined as being overcome with fear, being intimidated. Lessening the courage of; being disheartened. I can be frightened. I can be wary of people. I can be scared out of my mind—but I won’t be discouraged, I won’t be disheartened, I won’t be overcome by fear itself.
I can be afraid, but I can also be dauntless.
Finding the weapon that pries the roots of anxiety and panic away from my soul is vital for my branches to span far and wide. Because no sculptor is out there building that pedestal to keep me safe from a venomous world—I’m the hero of my story.
I will fail sometimes, I will be frightened and I will fall, but that’s okay—I’ll get back up. After all, I’m only human.
We are all only human.
We won’t be fearless, but we have every capability to fear less.
I’ve got the heart of a lion, so why let my voice be tamed?
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Editorial Assistant: Kristin Monk / Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photos: Leap, Wikimedia Commons