“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

(Warning: this post is not PC related, and is mushy-feelings and stuff, and probably a bit melodramatic. Sorry.)

I want to talk about fear, because just the word makes me cringe a little. Fear is so incredibly powerful. Of course, we all know that. But with the recent events here in Japan, I’ve been thinking about it a lot.

The power it has over us is stronger than just about any other feeling. Fear can keep us from doing something; make us do things we don’t want to do; lead us to decisions we know are wrong; even cause us to hurt others. We feel powerless.

The earthquake that rocked Japan and the ensuing tsunami that engulfed it have killed thousands, and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Now, the nuclear reactors are barely on the edge of control. I’m on the other side of the country. I felt a couple minutes of swaying, then went back to my life. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until over three hours later. That scares me. I didn’t even try to find out if the quake was worse elsewhere. Can I trust myself to ensure my own safety if it doesn’t even occur to me to get information?

I’ve been lucky to live a life relatively free from fear. I can count on one hand the number of times I thought my safety might be in danger and I didn’t have much control. It’s impossible for me to truly understand the fear, panic, and suffering people on the east coast are dealing with.

And it makes me wonder, what would I do? How would I react? My instinct says I’d stay, knowing that things would get better soon. But how can I really know? I think it’s mostly true that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. My fear, I suppose, is losing control – my mind not doing what it needs to take care of me, and the situation then slipping beyond my control. I’m more afraid of that than an earthquake or tsunami, when the tsunami is really where my fear should center. But I can’t help it.

Sorry, end of my self-serving silliness.

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3 Responses

  1. There is nothing silly about what you wrote. To be so close, yet far enough away to not realize the destruction happening just a few hundred miles from you. Places you had visited, where your best friend lived — it must all seem so unreal. It’s no wonder you would question your own FEAR and whether or not you could react quckly enough. The whole event is so sad. Poor Lina must have been terrified. It will take her a long time to get over it. I’m glad she’s safe, and at home.

  2. One more thing about fear. We can’t talk about fear without talking about the survival instinct for it is the fear that makes the instinct surface. And that instinct is stronger than the fear — so our adrenelin pushes us to do whatever we have to do to survive. Sorry you got me going on this one!

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