Patrick C. Keaveny

The Wordy Coder

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On Fear.


Life can be very, very scary sometimes.

Fear is a powerful feeling. It’s the kind of feeling that can completely immobilize you, make you incapable of speaking or even moving. If you’re afraid enough, you cease to function. Your whole body shuts down. You hear the voice in your head telling you that anything, even moving, will kill you, and you start to believe it. The fear can take over every thought you have, like a poison that slowly works against you. The worst part is, while it’s doing its work, you start to feel even more afraid that the fear itself will kill you, if whatever it is you fear doesn’t kill you first.

A couple days ago, I felt really afraid. All I could do at the time was steel myself and try to put on the bravest face I could. But once I got out of that situation, I felt the fear hit me like a ton of bricks. It’s the kind of thing that made me feel completely lifeless, like i was struggling to scale Everest with my hands and legs cut off, blindfolded.

Which is really the worst thing about fear, its ability to completely immobilize you makes you feel powerless, like you truly are at the mercy of what you fear, and that nothing will save you from it.

I’ve noticed that fear seems to govern a lot of different people. Certain friends I’ve had were afraid of failing a test or talking to a girl. Other people I’ve known were too afraid to put themselves out there, fearing the feeling of being humiliated more than anything else. Girls I’ve dated feared everything from cheating to dishonesty. I myself have a lot of fears, and especially during things that have been happening recently, start to wonder if there’s really anything that can save you from fear.

The only thing that can, I suppose, is bravery. The kind of bravery that makes you step on that hot coal in front of you, the voice inside of you that just says, “keep going!” The only thing that can truly fight that fear is the willpower, the idiotic ability to just keep pushing forward, to put one foot in front of the next, to say, “things are bad, but I WILL keep going.” The kind of bravery that doesn’t just get you through the process of facing your fear, but the result too. It’s the kind of bravery that when you think your company will fall through, is the thing telling you you will bounce back. It’s the kind of bravery that allows you to be okay with being humiliated, or wronged. The kind of bravery that persists straight through the fear, eliminating it from every facet of your mind.

I’ve heard stories from certain people about when they felt down and out and completely powerless, I asked them what kept them going, and they often say that they don’t know, they just knew they had to keep going. When you’re afraid, when you’re so afraid you can barely move, can barely speak, and fear that any action you might take will cause you harm, all you can really do is keep going. All you can do is put one foot in front of the next, use every last bit of strength you have, and tell yourself, “keep going.”

When fear comes, and it hits you with everything it has, to the point where you’re too afraid to even speak, the best you can do is tell yourself: “keep going.”