April 05, 2008

The Fear of Fear

I am driven by fear.
Fear of pain. Fear of failure. Fear of not living up to my lofty expectations of life.

Fear isn't cast down on me, I am not a victim. My fear is a part of me. I am fear. It is me.

My fear is subtle. It doesn't stalk me or hound me or jump out of the closet like a banshee. My fear does not wear a hockey mask.

My fear is a foe and a friend. It is my worst enemy and my closest companion. It is an obstacle constantly blocking my way, challenging my courage, trying to break my will. It is the debilitating weakness that bolsters and buoys my strength. My fear is my fortitude.

Fear ties me down and lifts me up. It is the hamster in the cage that spins the wheel that creates the energy that makes me go.

I fear long and strenuous workouts. I'm scared to start; petrified of the possibilities. I don't know if I can get through. I question whether I can bear the pain. I doubt my very ability to survive.

I read my past like a book, the endless stories of success. But all I feel are the spaces of weakness hidden like cowards between the words, behind the truth. My fear makes me blind.

I walk to the pool, I climb on the bike, I step on the pavement. In the first step, the first stroke, the first moment - I am fear. I am free falling. I am a BASE jumper, soaring from the highest bridge. No parachute, no net. Nothing but my will to survive; learning to fly.

I start by playing mental games. To reduce the strain and quell the fear. I count my laps backwards. 23, 22, 21... I break down my effort into minuscule goals. Just swim to the other side of the pool. Run to the end of the block. One more mile. One more step. One more second.

These are the things we do to fight the fear.

And soon I become so engrossed in the process, so mired in the moment, the fear begins to dissipate. It weakens. I absorb the energy and charge faster, stronger, harder. I force the fear to cower in the corner. And there comes a point in every day in every workout when everything changes. When the mental games to quell the fear, reverse. When I am no longer fighting the fear, but it is fighting me.

From whence I was the servant of fear, I emerge the master. I increase the strain. I push myself to go further. To go faster. To go harder. I incite my mind and challenge my body. The adrenaline warms and simmers and boils as I strive for every second to be better than that before. I am king. I am power.

I conquer the fear.
There is no fear.

And as I finish the swim, the run, the bike – as I take the final step across the final moment of my adventure – I emerge the victor. I am brightened by an eternal glow.

And as I stride towards my home, shoulders back, head held high, I am proud of what I’ve done. I am success. I am the conqueror. And though I can sense the growing pitter-patter of fear’s feet following close behind, waiting to jump once again upon my back, I don’t fear fear.

Fear does not hold me back, it pushes me forward. My fear is not my limiter, but my driver. It is my engine. It is my mirror. It is my friend. I embrace my fear, for my fear is me.


TriGirl Kate O said...

Very poetic, and very true.

Cat said...

our "strengths" are our "weaknesses" ... our "weaknesses" are our "strengths".

Triathlonmom said...

I love this post! Thank you.

Spider63 said...

Very inspirational, very true, very scary. I have felt those moments too. Working out. The moments when I want to quit. Sometimes I do. It is scary.

Alili said...

Wonderful post-I am working on conquering my fear...your timing is amazing:)