Today is September 11th. So naturally, I have no idea what to appropriately write about. Even at this moment, the country is in a tizzy over all of the hurricanes and storms wreaking havoc on certain states and territories. I suppose though, that it's nearly impossible to be 100 percent sensitive to everything 100 percent of the time. If that were the case, no one would ever smile or laugh. Yet and still, coming up with any ole random topic for today seemed a bit odd. The reason I do write on Monday's (and almost always in the moment mind you, except for sometimes when I write the night before), is because I do like to draw on current events from time to time, which helps spark spontaneous creativity. I didn't even sit down to write today until super late (it's currently 5:15 pm). Fortunately, something did cross my mind that does seem relevant. Fear. It's an awkward subject, to say the least, but I figure it to be a good a time as any to tackle it head-on!
I must admit, these hurricanes are scary. Even scarier is the fact that they are happening in places that I LITERALLY just visited! Not to mention, I have family and friends living in the direct path of destruction. I honestly don't know what I would be going through mentally if I were in their position. Like, I've never had to evacuate anywhere before, but what would I even take with me? Would I even go, or would I just stay? Sometimes, catastrophic events don't have as much warning (as was the case with September 11th). In those instances, there isn't as much time allowed for pre trauma anxiety, there's mostly fear driven adrenaline.
The subject of fear has always been an interesting one to me. Especially after discovering the fact that we are only born with two natural fears; falling and loud noises. Every other fear we may or may not come to have is supposedly learned. Very interesting! Some of us develop many fears over the course of a lifetime while others claim they aren't afraid of much of anything, and "Danger" is their middle name or something. Fears are partly learned based on associations with things we experience, sort of like a once bitten twice shy scenario. Human instinct and fear are set up so that we can avoid potential threats to our survival. Fear is put in place as a precautionary measure for harm... at least based on the information I have gathered. But why are certain people afraid of certain things while others are not? Some are deathly afraid of the floods that come along with tropical storms, while some wrangle up whatever pool toys they may have lying around, and go full on white water rafting down main street.
As much as we generally don't like to talk about things that scare us, fear sure does seem to rule when it comes to the decisions we make on a daily basis, and overall as a human race. I've said this before in other posts, but the basis for the most recent presidential campaign was based almost entirely off of fear. Keeping the borders safe was one of the headlining issues. The fear that immigrants were the ones causing most of the trouble in America sparked an unease among minorities. Irrational (learned) fear of African Americans cause some police to react uncontrollably even in the most non-threatening of situations. In turn, fear of police will cause distrust and unease from citizens. All of these things based on created fear. One sure fire way to control the masses is to exploit the things they are afraid of. I asked a question on my Facebook a little while ago asking what was everyone's biggest fear. The answers ranged from things like death without accomplishment, loneliness, and even going to Hell! Seeing all of those answers, life and the way things work make a lot more sense to me. For instance, the fear of loneliness is countered with constant social media usage in our generation. Once our fears are exposed, we are much more vulnerable. A certain amount of fear is to be expected in our lifetime, which isn't actually a bad thing, as fear tells us when and how to react in order to survive. However, we must not let our fears overthrow every other emotion.
Personally, I think my own fears have changed and evolved over the years. I have actually always been quite the horror movie buff (even from my single digit ages). Perhaps the over exposure to all things frightening have helped me overcome many general human fears. Every once in a while though, a wave of some sort of inexplicable feeling will wash over me. This sometimes happens when I ride the subway at night (which I really try to avoid at all costs...and the costs ain't cheap! Uber/lyft, I'm talking to you!). I'm one of those people who would rather be safe than sorry, so if I do ever have an eerie feeling, I remove myself from the situation. The best thing I can think of when dealing with fear is to trust your instincts (and the first one is generally the right one).
The world can be a horrific place at times, but we should strive not to live our lives in fear. Imagine if you were agoraphobic (and some of you might be). While I do understand the reasoning behind not wanting to go out into the world and experience things because there may be danger looming, that also cuts you off from all of the good things that can happen outside as well. Avoiding everything is one way of staying safer, but then you'd just be... avoiding everything. I heard a great quote the other day, "The best things in life are on the other side of fear". This subject is obviously multi-layered and too deep for such a brief post, but let me know your thoughts on the subject. I will try to come up with some more theories and philosophies behind the science of fear as we know it. I really am curious, as well as eager to discover new ways of dealing with learned fears, irrational fears, and unavoidable fears of life.
P.s. I really do need to find the word for that inexplicable feeling, because I felt it the other day for the tiniest millisecond when I thought I left my purse on the bus! My heart sunk, I got really hot, and I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. All fear immediately dissipated when I felt the purse on my arm, thank goodness!
P.p.s. I do recall that when the September 11th events began to unfold, I wasn't really that scared. I've come to realize that in situations of mass panic, I get much more inquisitive than fearful. This is just like the problem I have with being more inquisitive than empathetic in situations of mass mourning. I'm just an inquisitive gal!
P.p.p.s. I heard "IT" was a pretty decent scary movie. Who wants to go see it?