It’s the 2AM, truth or dare but you picked truth, topic.
What in this world or the next do you fear the most? What makes you shake and tremble. What saps the strength from your lungs and lets your breath escape in shallow gasps. What makes your heart beat so fast you start to believe it’s going to break free from your ribcage.
When I was about eleven, I went through a phase of deciding I was afraid of a long itinerary of absurd and irrational things.
Deep water, the dark, werewolves, heights, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, the white bit of mould on brie, snakes, and most creatively…bread that had to be defrosted from the freezer.
I had just learned about expiration dates and was convinced my parents were plotting my demise, by freezing the pak ’n’ save loaves of white bread they brought in bulk and then defrosted many months after the expiration date, when anyone had a craving for Vegemite toast.
For a solid year, I boycotted frozen bread and all the evil I was convinced it harboured.
But these were uncomplicated fears I could easily explain to my equally afraid peers. I had picked them up and pinned them like badges on my chest, from the books I devoured. All the heroines I lusted to be thought of like, had fear. A fate flaw. Some visible weakness. But slowly, my collected badges fell off.
I was actually very disturbed by this. How could I be the heroine of my story, if I didn’t possess my own fatal flaw?
I love swimming, understand that werewolves are fictional and therefore not a threat, and eat as much bread as I can get my hands on, frozen or not.
But I have gotten to know my biggest fear intimately since those uncomplicated days, please let me paint you a picture…
What if I climbed so high, I reached a glass ceiling I couldn’t shatter. What if I woke up, tied to the commitment of being the same person every single day for the rest of my life. What if I was forbidden from collecting knowledge, never to learn anything new ever again. What if I wasn’t allowed to indulge in my own thoughts. What if I had to love the same person, the same way forever. What if I wasn’t allowed to leave that love. What if there was no back door, no secret exit, no Plan B. What if I got so used to being caged, that I accepted the bars as the new edges to my earth.
What if I already have?
When I was younger, I used to dream that I had been tied up and put in a cage, it was a bit BDSM’y for a fourteen year old. The cage was one of those very grand regal golden ones, like what you’d see at a steam-punk-circus keeping the lions on display.
Everyone I loved was then brought out to stand before me. And everyone I loved was then set on fire or stabbed. Then it happened again. And then again.
After a while, I realised I couldn’t help them, I had to just sit there and watch so I did. I stopped screaming and struggling with the ropes that bound my wrists. And it destroyed me. I would wake up sweat pooling so heavily on the sheets under me, that I would think I had wet the bed.
Thats my biggest fear…to finally loose hope.
To finally give in and give up. To accept who I am in this moment, and never wake up wanting to try something new or think a different way. To accept love for how it presents itself to me and no longer demand that love teach me how to grow. To accept the edges of my world, the shadowy walls to my cave, and stop running breathlessly towards the next adventure.