Fearlessness

by gonzotrooper

When I was younger, there was a song by Massive Attack that always made me a bit envious. “Teardrop”. The phrase “…fearless somehow…” in that song always gave me an impression  of a person boldly jumping into the breach, going for his dreams and visions, prepared to face any risk and be prepared for the consequences of his actions. At the time the album came out I was terrified of absolutely everything all the time, or so it seems to me in hindsight.  Now, that fear hasn’t gone away today, I just learned to handle it. Well OK, I am considerably less scared of dogs now that I think about it. But still: Are there fearless people? And should that be something to aspire to?

I could brag about things I have done that probably scare a lot of people (I did at several times volunteer as a mock criminal at a police academy. Yes, that included resisting arrest violently) but I almost never do something that would put me at a bigger risk than say, riding a bike without a helmet.  And I know one or two really fearless people. And I love them, but my GOD they can be idiots at times! Seeing somebody without elementary fear conditioning do stuff straight out of Calvin & Hobbes in real life. I remember at one point my friend and another buddy preparing to go down a steep slope in wooded hill terrain in their homemade soap box car (they were 25 at the time BTW) with a brake system so rudimentary I believe my brain deliberately displaced the memory. I just remembered thinking “Yep, that’s not gonna go well”. Well it turns out it did ( I think the soap box car fell apart before it got up its speed too much), so the gods love a madman I guess.

And then you have the people whom I consider insanely brave, and still have the odd crippling phobia. My friend the outdoors person, who skydived with a friend the other day as a first but who’s terrified of cats. My friend the football player who is intimidated by almost nothing but whom I’ve seen literally running out of a room after seeing a spider on the outside windowpane. Or you could take myself, a guy who is afraid of almost everything. Not just adult fears as paying bills or going to the doctor but childish stuff like fear of the dark. No I am NOT superstitious. It is only that that 8 year old kid I used to be never moved out of the back of my brain, apparently. So I try not to act like a little baby when it is dark, force myself to open windowed envelopes and hope nobody sees through my adult human being act, like everybody else.

When I looked up the song “Teardrop” on Wikipedia I found out the lyrics were about Jeff Buckley, who had been drowned by the wake of a tugboat when swimming, fully clothed (boots included) at night. The guy was tremendously talented and was working on his second album. He was not high while doing this (apparently he occasionally did this) or taking his own life. He really must have been fearless. A part of me thinks that swimming at night in a shipping lane with your boots on is tremendously dumb, and that we’d get to hear more than one and a half Jeff Buckley album today if he had been slightly smarter.  Another part of me wish I could have the same reckless abandon. Not just once in a while but all the time. Or at least lose that stupid fear of the dark.

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