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It’s Scary Being Fearless

Halloween spiders

Someone once told me I was fearless. I suppose I am.

I would go for a job interview, if I wanted to, I’d leave this chair and go. I wouldn’t be afraid of not getting the job. I’d be afraid they’d offer me something else. Something better.

What if the interviewer offers me her job? What if she sees my resume and says, “You are perfect for what I do.” And then she’d lower her voice and continue, “It’s not just interviewing people,” and tell me she does much, much more, listing things that soon will be things I do, and I trail off in my head and imagine how I’d redecorate this office—it needs purple—and she’d reach for my hand and tell me to be there Monday.

Then I give her my keys, so she can go home and let my cat out, and “There is some chicken in the fridge that needs to be eaten and cheese I was going to make into a cheese and tomato sandwich, but you’ll have to get tomatoes, I forgot them today when I came to the interview.”

And then I’d be afraid she’d only manage half of it for she was clearly not as talented as me.

I’m not afraid of breast cancer. I am fearless about breast cancer.

I’m afraid of losing my hair and having it grow back blond. I’ve never thought of myself as a blond—I can’t deal with it now, I certainly couldn’t deal with it as a breast cancer survivor.

And if I have to see myself as a blond, it might be impossible to go on living. I’ll have to wear prosthetic hair. Would it be someone else’s hair? But I can’t do that, someone else might need it more, like a child—I can’t deny a child the promise of brown hair. No, I’ll beat cancer, and I’ll wear scarves. People will ask or look like they want to ask, and I’ll just say, “No, I don’t have cancer anymore, I just can’t live like this, as a blond, I mean. So I shave my head and wear scarves.”

There is a huge spider in my room. I am fearless about that spider.

It sits there, twisting and contorting its winding legs and doing more industry in moments than I manage in hours. It doesn’t write or communicate, or worry about the existential crisis hovering on the horizon. It merely waits in the little pocket of space, not more than an inch wide, pinning its life and genetic legacy on the small hope that a bug will fly just there. These little, tiny, insignificant things that depend on even tinier, even more insignificant things just to survive. It is a marvel I can’t possibly understand.

I’m not afraid of the spider in the corner of my room. I’m afraid it won’t be there when I come back from the bathroom.

I’m not afraid that I’m addicted to television. I am fearless about television.

The characters that have become my friends and neighbors and have affected my speech patterns and accents and certainly how I view the world. But that is just fine, I’m solid against influence. I resist everything overtly limited, narrow-minded, or ideologically one-sided—I know what it can do to you. Besides, it keeps me company and keeps me in my chair and spurs me to industry.

And yet … no, I’m not afraid. I just prefer it to a silence perforated by my own breath.

I’m not afraid the racists are winning. I am fearless about racists.

The vile bastards, what do they know? What have they learned from their limited, narrow-minded, ideologically one-sided TV shows? From what small corner did they crawl? That blond hair they shave closely and cleanly. That is what they all are anyway, sunburned, aching to cover but too proud. Against them I will fight, we all will, all of us good ones. No, I’m not afraid the racists are winning, I’m afraid of my own self losing.

I’m not afraid of pretty much anything. Lately, that has kept me up all night.

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