Cowardice

Fear is a lifelong companion. Not a healthy friend, for the most part, but occasionally useful. When danger is real, fear can be life saving. But when danger is imagined, distorted out of proportion, or a reasonable risk, fear is a hindrance to growth.

All very logical and clinical and, in the midst of the battle, utterly useless.

Logic and intellectual knowledge are not proof against the paralysis of fear. The fear of change, rejection, loneliness, loss, powerlessness, emptiness. These seem so much bigger, more important than the speculative benefits of a risky, life-changing decision.

So much safer, easier to keep small, keep quiet, don’t make waves, don’t disrupt the status quo. Even if the status quo is misery, it’s familiar, predictable misery that can be managed to a degree. That fabled freedom, lightness and acceptance that authenticity is supposed to bring seems, at best, gossamer-thin compared to the thick, stinging whips of consequence that follow in its wake.

This isn’t advocacy for succumbing to fear. These are the things I tell myself to rationalize my response to fear. Pathetic, really, but still…

Internally, deep inside where I’ve let no one see, I’ve recognized who and what I am, have always been. The choice isn’t in accepting that truth. The choice is whether to ever say it out loud and make it real.

Two+ decades of adulthood, of experience and education have dropped me off on the doorstep of Decision Making Time. I don’t recall setting a course for this destination, nor do I particularly want to be here right now. But life moves and you either travel with it, or get trampled by it. I’m not into trampling.

So, here’s the options: Continue the journey, find the me life is revealing to me bit by bit, and assume the risks & consequences of the discovery and ultimate disclosure? Or, stifle that inner voice and dig into the stagnant loneliness of lost opportunity?

That’s rhetorical. I’m already on the path, come what may. I’m just steeling myself for the train wreck that’s coming. Months, years, decades from now? Who knows, but if I know anything about my life, I know that every unpleasant thing I’ve ever tried to avoid happened despite (sometimes because of) my efforts to avoid it. So too, I am certain of this: that fear I’m battling? It’s well-founded. The wreckage that will come from owning this discovered self out loud and every day isn’t speculative.

So, being discovered is inevitable. Ok. So, my job now is to learn to confront the reactions I expect to result.

How the heck do I do that?

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