Fears. We all have them.
I used to have lots of fears, and they mostly stemmed from my former job covering crime for the Las Vegas Sun.
I was afraid to answer my door because of home invasion robberies.
I was afraid to cross the street because of all the pedestrians I wrote about who had been hit while trying to make it across the wide roads in the Las Vegas Valley.
An armed bank robbery that I interrupted in a Philly suburb taught me to fear banks. I didn’t set foot in one for at least 10 years.
All of those are gone now.
My biggest fear now, besides clowns (a childhood fear that has never really left me) is financial ruin.
I can’t really explain why, because I’ve never been in such a state, nor have I really witnessed it close up.
Granted, I’ve been strapped and I’ve had money concerns — after all, the reporter jobs that messed with my mind so much never really paid all that well. (How’s that for adding insult to injury?)
But nothing awful ever happened. I didn’t have many luxuries, but I managed, and everything was essentially fine.
I guess having resources equals stability, and stability is important.
I don’t usually give money to homeless people, but I’m thinking maybe I should, since I empathize with them? Do you have any opinions on this?
Thinking about fears has made me see how destructive some fears can be.
Some people feel a need to carry a gun.
Some people support a ban on refugees and Muslims.
Some people are straight-up racist.
The way I see it, fear is at the heart of all of this. Basically the right wing machine has turned some Americans into extremely frightened and irrational people.
They are absolutely terrified of people who are different from them. They’re terrified of the world that exists outside their bubble. And fear drives them down a dark and hateful road.
And, some people do good deeds because they fear they’ll burn in hell if they don’t.
Some people believe in the concept of karma, which motivates them to do good things because they think good things will then come back to them.
What about just being a good person because it’s the moral, ethical, and right thing to do, and because people’s feelings matter, and not because you’re afraid of the consequences if you don’t?
Fears can also hold us back — they can zap our confidence and make us unwilling to try new things.
Fears can keep us in crappy situations, crappy jobs and crappy relationships. Raise your hand if you’ve been there. I have.
But fears can also fade.
I used to be much more terrified of financial ruin than I am now. Before, it was more comfortable to make minimum payments on my card rather than paying it all off every month because paying it all off every month meant waving bye-bye to a big chunk of change. Liquidity made me feel secure.
But I don’t do the minimum payment thing anymore because doing so ultimately costs much, much more. (Thanks to my husband for drilling that into my brain.)
See? Fears mess with us and make us act irrationally and in ways that are destructive. But reasoned thought can snap us back.
I hope that dreadful, frightened presidential candidate can snap back, too, or at least ease up on the rhetoric that’s poisoning the minds of his misguided, terrified followers.
Did you know a severed pig’s head was found outside a Philadelphia mosque? All because of a fear of Islam.
Now, that’s fucking scary.
What are your biggest fears?
(Also, what’s your take on giving cash to the homeless?)