I’ve been reading the wonderful book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert about creative living beyond fear. In her book, Liz writes a letter to Fear. This inspired me to write my own letter.
The first time I remember meeting you for real was when I was seven and I was waiting for my ballet exam. I felt so sick when you arrived, jumping around inside me. I lay on the floor and rolled around, as if this might get rid of you. I felt so much pain that I wondered if you were trying to kill me.
I’ve met you lots of times since then, and I’ve come to realise that I’ll always survive. But I still get that churning inside that tells me you’ve arrived.
As I got older, you tried to trick me by showing up inside my head, your heavy hand pressed against my mind. I’ve long wished you dead. I wouldn’t feel at all bad if you left this world.
But then I take a breath. Deep down, I know you wish me no harm. You want to keep me safe, but like a tiny child you don’t understand what I really need. I wish you would believe in me. How many things could I do if you weren’t around? How much confidence would I have to speak my mind, to meet new people, to try new things? Fear, you’ve let me down.
But then I look at it from the other side. What person would I be without you, Fear? Would I be the kind of person I despise, who thinks they’re the best at everything and doesn’t give a second thought to how what they say makes people feel?
Fear, I see now why you’re here. You’re here to stop me from doing things I’ll regret, from turning into someone I’d be ashamed to be. You’re here to keep me in check. I realise now that you’re my friend. Perhaps if I’m kind to you, you’ll return the favour and be gentler to me sometimes.
Lots of love