Fear punched the ticket granting me an unwanted lifetime pass on a personal carousel of indecision. When not anxiously spinning, fear affixes my feet to the ground. My too often stagnant life is rooted in a fear of the world. I fear my place, or misplace, in it. I fear encounters that will never occur. I fear failure that ironically exists because I don’t try. Most of all I may fear myself.

Beside me stands a belief, one that has impacted decades of decisions and chosen paths. A belief that remains in the shadows. We don’t speak or acknowledge one another. Rather, we quietly exist side by side engaging in a clumsy tango as we maneuver through this dance of life. At the core of the belief lies — I am not good. Not just not good, but bad. In this fabled scenerio, if I were to venture off on my own, without the canopy of God and Family overhead, I would spiral into deep darkness. Evil would consume my self-defined addictive nature and I would lack the strength to climb from the potential depths. For this reason I fear myself, in retrospect I suppose I fear my lack of self.

Decisions needing distinct action to stretch beyond my comfort zone become riddled with imaginary monsters and cavernous alleys that begin in the light and flow into darkness where no end is visible. These are the people I may meet, and the places I may find myself. If I believe myself to be inherently bad, then it isn’t a stretch to assume the rest of the world is as well. Or, perhaps visa versa.

Not venturing creates a self-imposed prison of stagnance, and while burdensome and frustrating, this prison cell maintains an illusion of safety. There is safety in the familiar, the people and places to which I confine myself. However, there is also a very real danger. Stagnant water becomes foul, diseased. Flowing water is boundless and nourishing, a source of vitality.

The work I must do requires recreating my beliefs to assume there to be more good in the world than bad, to assume more good in me than bad, and to accept the bad as necessary in order to define and distinguish what is then good.

If you’ve read any of my previous essays or poems, you may now better understand the anguish I needlessly put myself through. The dichotomy of an innate desire to explore and travel and the crippling fear of what exploration will reveal of myself and the world of which I am a part. While my quest and the wading into a psuedo vagabond lifestyle may seem strange, misunderstood, and even come across as irresponsible in this fifth decade of my life, it holds for me the possibility of breaking patterns stemming from my misguided belief. I carry the hope that this unglamourous journey of simplicity and discomfort may hold the lessons and experiences I feel, at my core, are necessary to extinguish what looms in the shadows, or at the very least expose them to the light.

This journey is a rights of passage that I haven’t yet taken. A necessary voyage to uncover faulty beliefs and create healthy ones, to learn to navigate this world confidently and proudly as an introvert.

I will explore my thoughts and write my mind. This is my voice. I write because my voice is echoed in the voices of others beyond the shadows who have yet to find their outlet. These are my experiences and my thoughts, but I know they aren’t mine alone. I am less horrified by my thoughts because they now see light.