Fear is one of the most prevalent and destructive elements of my life. Fear has held me within its grasp, controlling nearly every decision of my life for nearly three decades. The generalized anxiety disorder means I fear small, everyday actions. Getting the mail or answering a telephone call sends me into a dizzying terror. The panic disorder means that I am terrified of having panic attacks and so avoid doing things or going places that have caused attacks to happen. It sometimes means that leaving my house is more than I can accomplish in a day. The obsessive compulsive disorder means that I am afraid of things that make no sense or that are impossible. But my mind cannot separate the logical from the fear, and so I find myself paralyzed, repeating thoughts and actions over and over again.
I do not know my life without fear. My earliest memory is of fear. I do not know who I would be without it. I often like to think of who I would be, but then I become afraid of what that would look like. I become afraid that I would not know myself anymore.
That does not mean I like to be controlled by fear, but that fear has in a large part made me who I am. It drives what I write. I write what I know, and what I know is fear. But what I also know is that fear can be defeated, maybe not easily and maybe not quickly, but it can be beaten down little piece by little piece like a chisel and hammer to a rock. That is why I write. I am terrified of writing, of putting my thoughts and feelings, my very soul, in a space where people can see them with such horrifying clarity. But I do it anyway in the hopes that by doing this, I will conquer this fear, turn it from a weakness to a strength, make it something that defines not the broken pieces of me but the strength that is left behind.