Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Do you remember those lists of questions that everyone - well, I don't know about everyone. My mother-in-law used to send them to me a lot - used to forward around on the email and you were supposed to answer them and forward them to 10 more people and so on.

Do you have any tattoos? Yes
Coke or Pepsi? San Pellegrino
What's your worst fear?
My worst fear is mediocrity. It's being dull. It's being a horrible, bitter old person who walks around thinking I'm awesome and wondering why people don't want to talk to me. It's being commonplace. It's being a chore. It's being tedious and merely tolerated.

My second worst fear is being vomited on by a stranger in public.

All the Photoshopped slogans tell me to do what I fear most.
No thank you.

Excuse me, sir. I noticed that you just cannonballed a forty of Old English and ate a chicken wing and half of a shoe out of a garbage can. Could you please vomit on me? I need to grow, here.

I'm pretty sure that's not what Ralph Waldo Emerson was talking about when he said "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain."

Except one time I was playing airplane with the Hooligan when he was a baby and he threw up all over my face and it got in my mouth. I lived. That's different, though.

So, Mr. Emerson, what are you talking about?

I've spent the morning examining my two worst fears, along with some navel lint. What it boils down to is this: I am afraid of the perceptions of others and I am afraid of things I can't control.

How tedious. How utterly dull and commonplace.

So now I've done it, Mr. Emerson. I've done the thing I fear. I've 'fessed up to my absolute mediocrity. My fear is not dead. Not yet. It's only mostly dead. [10 points if you catch the reference]

Is there ever such a thing as a certain death of fear? Should there be? My own fear of mediocrity compels me to work hard at doing something, being something. My fear of how others might perceive me forces me to stop and consider the alternatives, to look at things from different perspectives, and to really think about how much I actually care what people think in any given situation. The vomit thing, well, that's just self-preservation.

If those fears were dead, what would I do?

Now that I think about it, what would I do?

Does fear hold me back sometimes? You betcha. Do I make excuses for my fear and rationalize it away? Of course. Do I cozy up to my fear and stroke its warm, furry pelt and keep it as a bodyguard instead of fighting it like a monster? Who doesn't do this, I ask you? But I also ask you this - in all sincerity and without actually knowing the answer to the question - don't we sometimes just need to feel safe?

I have been charging around these last several months with a whip and a chair and big boots on. I have been working at taming my fears across the spectrum of my life. I find the more I fight, the more exposed I become, the more the same fears keep popping up in different outfits and playing a little bit of "nanny nanny boo boo" with me and I'm not taming fierce lions, I'm playing whack-a-mole. I feel all courageous and strong, an Amazonian warrior with my bloodied sword standing atop the heap of my conquered foes, but really I'm just some fool with a big foam hammer, pounding away at giggling rodents who, by design, elude me. Whack-a-mole. A roadside attraction.

Maybe it's because Whack-a-mole and the internet hadn't been invented yet when Mr. Emerson was writing, so he's a little dated.

I'm going to keep wrestling with my fears. I'm going to keep being so utterly and ridiculously commonplace until I'm all right with that, or until I die. Which ever comes first. But sometimes I wonder if all this conquering and whacking and whatnot isn't a little bit with the windmills and the tilting. All this whack-a-mole makes me feel  a little unsafe. And naked. Isn't it OK to hide sometimes? I don't know.

I don't have any answers today or any conclusion to all this nonsense, really, so I've kind of wasted your time. I leave you with a parting gift. A little something for your Pinterest boards.


  1. This has got to be the third, maybe fourth, time I've read this and I keep laughing and sighing and nodding. Still. So I suppose this is the part where I say as much.

    And if this is wasting time, bring it. I'm all for this kind of time wasting.

    1. Oh Deb. Thank you. I wrote this in a fit of madness and published it for no real good reason. I'm glad that you can relate. I was starting to wonder if my last marble had finally fallen out and gotten lost somewhere. Thank you for reading and saying so.

  2. I found it funny so don't worry you didn't make me waste time :)

    Catherine Vargas
    Vintage Girls

    1. Hello and welcome, Cathy! I am glad you found this funny and that I didn't waste too much of your time with it. Stick around and I promise they won't all be this nonsensical.
      Your website, by the way, is beautiful. I'm a little bit sad that my wee girl is too big for any of the clothes because they are beautiful. I will definitely refer my friends to it, though!

  3. The complete elimination of fear is probably neither possible nor recommended--that said, I would like to gain a little perspective and balance where the (potentially positive) role of fear in my life is concerned. I like the image of the war against fear as futile but ultimately entertaining...it definitely speaks to me. Should I be scared by that?


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