Attacking Myself

Abby, in a comment here, says that “Fuck The Fear” doesn’t seem to work as a mantra for her.

“What we resist persists,” she offers, and suggests that stepping aside in a kind of akido is the best choice.

She is correct, of course. We need to deal gracefully and wisely with what we fear.

To me, though, I don’t think “Fuck What I Fear.” That would be wrong and misguided, because it externalizes the fear as something others do to me, places fear in the objects and people and situations, rather than locating the fear where it lives, inside of me.

It isn’t the fears of others that keep me small. It is my own fear.

For me, it is that fight inside against my own fear that is the most difficult, the fight against the habits and internalized oppression that keeps me small. It is fear itself that I fear, not something external to me but rather something deep inside. Why my fear comes up I self-sabotage, self-destruct, self-cripple, self-destroy.

My fear is a palpable presence to me, a presence that is made holy by the expression of self-sacrifice, the notion that surrendering to that fear is doing something good and valuable for the people I love. They have the right and benefit not to have to engage my own complexity, my own queerness, my own demons, so I have the obligation to use my fear as a limiting and destructive force to attack myself.

Stepping aside myself, well, that’s very hard. The enemy within is the persistent companion, the sapper inside, the one who eats my own strength and possibility.

I don’t need to avoid myself, I need to transcend myself.

I don’t need to fuck what I fear; what I fear isn’t real. I don’t fear actual people and actual situations, rather I imagine people and situations that would hurt me and use that imagination to cut myself to ribbons.

No, what I fear isn’t the problem, at least for me. It is fear itself that is the problem, fear itself that keeps me crippled.

I feel like what I want is affirmation of my strength and power and grace, affirmation of my power of attraction & connection, affirmation of me as beautiful & lovely.

That’s a good thing, of course. We all need as much positive support as possible, encouragement and empowerment.

But as long as I take those affirmations and expose them to the acid bath of my fears, well, then no amount of positive support will sustain me, no amount of positive support will lift me up and ennoble me. Those affirmations will be crumbled to dust by my own fears, my own expectations of failure, sadness and separation.

No, “Fuck What I Fear” is a bad mantra, an opening to act out against ghosts we externalize.

“Fuck The Fear,” on the other hand, well, that’s my crude and limited attempt to transcend what is killing me, to fight what keeps me small and crippled: my internalized fears.

My fear attacks me under the guise of self-discipline and appropriateness, even if it is my ego attempting to avoid pain and avoid calling, and in the process denying me connection, light and affirmation.

But now, as I feel my parents heading back, that ego plays hard, cranking the fear levels up, calling for self-sacrifice so that I have the tools to dismember myself again and place myself back in the tiny box of denial for the good of others.

My real good comes from boldly being who my mother in the sky made me to be.

And if I know that, well, then, I have to fight whatever restrains me from being that woman.

What constrains me? The fear my ego delivers.

And that fear?

Well, I have to fuck it, somehow, so I can get over it.

When I get over my own fears, I can deftly and gracefully handle the fears of others because they don’t stimulate my own fears, don’t trigger my own acting out, which for me, now, is attacking myself.

My fears are the biggest danger to me, not the fears of others, and my fears are the only fears I have the responsibility of removing to live in love.  All I can directly change in this world are my choices and the feelings & thoughts that lead me to make them.

Those fears are my enemy, those fears are the echoes of years of stigma and challenge that others offered to keep me small.  They aren’t real, they are my fears.

Fuck ’em.  Or die.

3 thoughts on “Attacking Myself”

  1. Callie said:

    “For me, it is that fight inside against my own fear that is the most difficult, the fight against the habits and internalized oppression that keeps me small. It is fear itself that I fear, not something external to me but rather something deep inside. Why my fear comes up I self-sabotage, self-destruct, self-cripple, self-destroy.

    Stepping aside myself, well, that’s very hard. The enemy within is the persistent companion, the sapper inside, the one who eats my own strength and possibility.

    “I don’t need to avoid myself, I need to transcend myself.”

    Fear eats us up inside and destroys all ability to be present in the world, so the natural reaction is to fight it, to try to remove it, to achieve our desire to never feel it again. However, if what we resist, truly does persist, then fighting or denying our own fears can only do exactly the opposite of what we wish, that is, increase, NOT decrease, our fear.

    I also have to be careful with the idea that I need to “transcend myself,” to somehow be other than who I am. I spent much of my life trying to deny parts of myself, including my fears, and all I accomplished was to increase the isolation, the feeling of not being acceptable, of never being “good enough,” that I felt from parents, teachers and others who believed their job was to determine who I should be. Eventually, I came to learn that the pain I felt from denying my own self-worth was infinitely greater than anything I ever felt in reaction to others’ judgments.

    So, rather than “transcend myself,” which my ego interprets as simply another form of denying or rejecting myself, I had to learn to accept that I DO feel afraid ……. a lot, and, instead of trying to escape or remove my fear, learn to simply be in and with it, to simply be afraid. It’s not pleasant to sit and honor my fear, but I had to learn that it IS OK to feel afraid. Only in that way, could I accept ALL of myself, without exception, and truly begin to honor who I am.

    Then, slowly, primarily through persistent study of A Course in Miracles, I learned the truth of who I am – a loving child of God/Goddess – who truly has nothing to fear because I am whole and complete, perfect and eternal, just as God/Goddess is. Learning and living this truth doesn’t mean that I no longer feel fear, but it did enable me to learn not to act from, not to respond to, my fear. That in turn frees me from my fear and enables me to make a different choice in each moment and every situation — to be loving, to myself and others, rather than angry and defensive and thus truly experience peace and joy. What an incredible gift that has been, after a lifetime of constant fear, shame, anger and loneliness.

    Like many of the experiences I have had in my life, I would not choose to feel fear, if I had that choice, but that truth is that I do. But denying that fact doesn’t help me to live in love, instead of fear. Only by learning to accept my fear, whether I like it or not, have I learned not to be a slave to it.

    There is a saying I like that helps explain my relationship to fear these days. I don’t know who said it first (I think it may come from WWII), but it goes like this: “Courage is simply fear that has said its prayers.”

    I’m sure you know this passage from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love. It’s one that always helps when I am working with fear and the self-sacrifice and self-destruction that it can lead to:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

    We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.

    We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

    It’s not in just some of us; It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

    As we’re liberated from our own fear, Our presence automatically liberates others.”

    Let your light shine, Callie, so it can bless us all.

    Love,
    Abby

  2. I thank you for your thoughtful and loving post.

    It’s my experience, though, that my fear is pretty damn stupid, or at least pretty damn shallow, and when I tell it to get the fuck out out of the way so the love can shine through, it does.

    Bullies are like that, aren’t they? When confronted by confidence and power, they often shut up and get out of the way.

    I acknowledge my fear, let it have its due. But I have trouble when it wants ownership of my life. I have no need to deny or dissapear fear, only to get it out of the way when I should be acting from love. I am not trying to destroy it, just trying to loosen it’s grip when I say “Fuck The Fear.”

    That mantra doesn’t work for you, I get that. And I understand how if someone tries to just deny or make fear invisible, that can cause problems, because the fear still exists and is not being honored or addressed. You are right about that.

    But for me, I need to get the fear clouds out of the fucking way so I can shine like the child of god that I know I am.

    So fuck it!

    Thanks again for your kind engagement.

    Callie

  3. My therapist has often told me to tell my inner critic/ego/superego to “shut the fuck up.” Due to my nature, especially my fear of conflict, that often doesn’t work for me, but sometimes it does. And when it does, it works brilliantly. Thanks for expanding on your thinking. Now, I understand much better.

    So, I agree, “Fuck the Fear.” Get outa my way, ‘cause here I come! LOL

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