The Fear Monster

What is fear, really? A warning? A self-sabotage? A saviour?

Already my pulse quickens and the euphoria of moments, days ago, is consumed. I cancel our plans and take the day off. I work all day and his name is on the tip of my tongue. A co-worker asks about a guy I was dating the last time I saw her and it takes me a moment to even register who she is talking about, so far away it seems now. My steps are haunted while I teeter-totter back and forth, torn.

My heart is screaming like the gears of an old machine. Abused. Wanting to work harder, faster, and failing. Coming up short all these years.

I’ve only just got my feet underneath me. I’ve only just stretched these legs, ready to run, unharnessed.

It’s the first drag of a joint, the paranoia and panic building underneath my skin, pulsating at my temples and wrists. Needing to assert control on my body, the parts of me that are reaching in opposite directions. Needing to bring them back together on a stronger string, repositioned. Needing to tell myself, no, calm down, this is all in your head.

Mind over matter.

It’s overwhelming. So much, so soon. I police myself. I throw thoughts from my mind like I am bailing a sinking boat. A valiant effort against the futility of fighting a heart. Already, I am knee-deep.

I reheat leftovers when I get home. Eat two bites and feel full, fit to burst.

The fear snakes around my wrists, up my forearms, around my neck. Cutting off my airway, hissing in my ear. Run, it says. Run. There’s still time, it’s not too late, yet. Take these months of practice and use it here, where it really matters. Your feet are already heading towards the door. Your hand is on the knob. No need to look back, you never have before. Go. Run. Go.

Each word leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, a cold nail down the blackboard of my back.

This monster at the core of me, telling me I am hungry when I can’t eat. Whispering warnings in my ear. Poisoning me from the inside out.

The risks of staying. The loss of letting go.

I finger the coin in my pocket. Settle it heads up on my thumb and flick it into the air, already knowing—as the fear hisses and the silver turns over on itself—which side will land palm up.

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks


11 thoughts on “The Fear Monster”

  1. You’re not crazy. If you do run in any sense from what you’re experiencing; don’t look back.

    Never look back. It’s always easier that way.

  2. Not crazy, no, but human. The cliche comes out to tell you to fight it, to battle through, that it will be all worth it in the end. But the reader who cares tell you: make a decision you can live with. That’s all it’s really about in the end. What reasons are you using?

  3. I am all too familiar with this monster.

    Once again, you have removed my insides and placed them on the table in front of me. I think I am significantly less lonely because of you, Lindsay. Sometimes you put words to the fears I can never adequately express to other people. The ones that stay inside of me, swelling.

    Now that I have run, and run, and run…now that I am alone, I fear the monster hasn’t disappeared. Maybe I only think I’m strong because I have nothing to run from at the moment.

  4. Sometimes it’s not about what the coin tells you to do, but how you feel about the coin’s answer can reveal what decision you really want to make.

    I loved this line: “Each word leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, a cold nail down the blackboard of my back.”

  5. When I chased after GV8, I was so frightened. Physically, overwhelmingly frightened.

    But it was worth it. Even though he hurt me terribly, it let me access and confront parts of me that I never allowed to be realized.

    How many times will you run before you stop? Or are you waiting for someone who won’t even let you take that first step?

    I’m a believer in the self. Make your choices. Ask your questions.

    You can do it.

      1. If you turn around, even if the person isn’t the one, even if they shatter you, you’ve learned something about yourself.

        You know what happens if you keep running. It’s safe, predictable. There’s nothing learned, no growth. Same weary track marks.

        But if it makes you happy to run, then I suppose it’s good to keep doing it.

        Whenever I’ve tried to bolt in the past, I always feel like a frightened kitten, hiding under the bed. It’s not a good feeling.

        1. This is beautiful and sad, all at the same time. (Not crazy at all, though.)

          Poetry of Flesh is right; running is safe; the beast is part of you. As you said, you’ve built it through practice. Will you let it go, let it run away, and leave yourself behind? Or will you hold on to the fear, and let it drag you away with it?

          Running is all it knows. You seemed to know happiness in the last post; the ‘beast’ doesn’t seem to offer that. So, run, or try being happy?

          Good luck.

          (PS: Nice kitten comparison, Poetry.)

  6. maybe you will add an eric to you phone and wonder who that other eric is and it will take you five minutes before you remember even though that was less than a year ago.

    and then maybe one day you will meet a boy whose name will start your every third sentence until you’re sure everyone around you wants to puke.

    it doesn’t get any less scary. the fear just changes direction, and you’re more afraid that you’ll end up without him than afraid you’ll end up with him.

  7. This is a horror novel about the psyche. I’m praying it was tails and I don’t even know which side lands up, I don’t even know which way you were betting.

    But I always call tails, so for me, that’s the good outcome. Hope yours is/was as well.

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