Tag Archives: Fear

Rising Song

If I told you once
I loved you–
I don’t think I foresaw
A life held back
Against a cold hard wall.
You suffocated me
With sparkling chains of words
I tried in vain to embrace.
I was grasping at an empty vessel
Of half-meant hopes and dreams,
And ‘almost like a dream’ meant
Nothing
If I could not catch my breath
From running aimlessly to escape.

A young woman’s escape–
I leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind
As I run out of the monster’s howling lair.
You carried me away
From the truth of a thousand lies
And wounded me with blows.
The skin is thick on the scars
You dug into the mental flesh
Of my blood-stained heart.
The places you struck me
Will heal with the falling snow.

Ring off finger
And flung away.
My finger can bend again–
I was numbed to the bone
From hypothermic waste.
Screeching,
I flung open the bars
Of the prison in which
You held me.

Your heart’s key–
I never meant to unlock
That door.
I threw the key away
Somewhere in the garden,
As drifts of white
Danced in the solemn breeze.

You denied me life
And pushed me inch by inch
Into a living grave.
I was a foot deep in mud
Before I hitched myself up
And braced my feet against the wall.
I won’t say it was easy–
The grips at the bottom
Were hard to cling to
And you were there holding me down.
I made it anyway
And overcame.
Your smug face shuddered
And collapsed into itself
Before the smoke cleared.

That smile was a dream
I attempted foolishly to keep.
As the flames of your fire
Scorched the meat
You had me cook for you,
The bonds of female servility
Were already crumbling
At our feet.

running in woods
“I was numbed to the bone From hypothermic waste.” Photo from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

As you held me down sweating
Against tear-streaked sheets,
I watched the window open
A crack to let the wind in.
As you pulled away and stood
At the door beckoning me to follow
Down the hall of portraits
Of faces smiling in false confidence,
I leaped at the chance
To fly out the window
And baptize myself in
Melting banks of snow.

You can swing at me again–
Your broken dagger was
Never too sharp anyway.
I won’t be hurt again
By untended wounds.

When spring comes,
I will run barefoot
Through the woods
With the sun beating down
And the wind following
My movements
There
And never back again.

Anxiety Catalyst

The airport has always been a catalyst for my anxiety. The walk to the small plane, the trot up the stairs. I could die, ya’ know.
Sitting down in my window seat, I whisper, “At least I can see the clouds.”

The 6-month-old next to me should be kicked out for disrupting the small peace found looking out of my prized window.

airplane
“The 6-month-old next to me should be kicked out for disrupting the small peace found looking out of my prized window.” Photo from: https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/airplane.jpg

A man with duck shoes stomps through the small isles. I imagine he doesn’t know his circumference. The empty seat next to me is praying for its vacancy, but all in vain. He smells.

A three-hour flight, next to a man that smells. Great.

The window seat has its disadvantages. The corner where one’s feet would go is rounded, allowing for virtually no foot room. In a fair assessment, the ceilings are 6 ½ foot tall, allowing little room for error.

The longest flight of my life had to be next to a man with incomprehensible body odor, a 6 ½ metal ceiling, and an infant screaming beside me.

Anxiety

Fluttering, falling, fading,

Once green leaves stained yellow with groundless fears,

Buffeted and shaken by rains that once

Wouldn’t have even been noticed.

One by one the leaves die of terror,

And the branches are left bare.

But instead of doing anything,

The tree lets it happen.

The more the leaves fall,

The less strength there is to hold on to the ones left.

The wind tries to help,

Tickling branches in ways the tree once loved.

But without leaves, the wind feels harsh and exhausting.

tree

“One by one the leaves die of terror, And the branches are left bare.” Photo from: www.staticflickr.com

 

 

Branches snicker, snap, and groan

At the innocent wind.

The bare bony fingers reach towards the sky,

Scraping against the blue in desperation.

But the sky never says anything,

And only the rain that was already coming

Responds to the cries.

Soon there is nothing

To protect from the coming ice,

And all that remains

Is to do

Nothing.

Don’t get in your own way

When traveling to new places, it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be unsure, nervous, and even doubtful that you’re going to have a good time. All of those feelings are perfectly normal.

What you can’t do is let it get in the way of experiencing new places, new people, new things. When it becomes an obstacle that blocks your view of your future, that’s when you need to see the bigger picture, see what’s really important, and see all the advantages you can gain from letting go and letting yourself experience life.

times square
“You can’t make decisions based on fear or self-doubt.”

Going to New York City for a student media conference has changed my view on the world completely. Before traveling to NYC, I was pretty scared of new environments and general changes to my daily routine.

I was afraid of the different people, people grew up struggling, who are homeless or are trying to sell me things. I was nervous to go out on my own and to experience things that I wasn’t sure I was ready for. However, when I arrived in NYC, I wasn’t scared. I was excited and ready for what the city had in store for me. I realized that my fears were unjustified and unnecessary, just thoughts I put into my head to sike myself out, to tell myself that I won’t enjoy myself so that I don’t get my hopes up only to be let down.

I discovered that my own thoughts and ideas were getting in my way of enjoying new experiences, of appreciating what it meant to expand my horizons and see what it’s like to live on my own, somewhat.

If I had been afraid of coming to NYC, so much so that I decided to stay home, I would have deeply regretted by choice. You can’t make decisions based on fear or self-doubt, that’s no way to live your life. When making decisions in life, the only factors that should be involved are “will this experience benefit me in any way at all,” “will I learn great lessons from this experience,” and “will I regret not going through this experience.”

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you have to do it. Fear might be a feeling that you have before making decision but that feeling doesn’t always mean it’s a bad choice. Follow your gut and never let fear guide you.

Eternal youth

Whispers in a witch’s ear

Telling her of her deepest fears

The wanting of a young man

Full of youth and ignorance

Time grasps at her

Her skin is wrinkly

Her eyes glaze

Her youth begins to fade

"Her youth begins to fade, as the hourglass runs." Graphic by Grace Higginbotham
“Her youth begins to fade, as the hourglass runs.” Graphic by Grace Higginbotham

As the hourglass runs

Desperation

Fear

Acknowledgement of what must pass

The circle is set

The candles are lit

The live centerpiece squirms

The stage is set

The moon is past its apex

Words of the dead language

Reborn in this world

The wind picks up

The candles grow brighter

The young man screams

Time halts

Youth is bled dry

An old man wallows

The rejuvenation of an old body

The beauty of a young woman reappears

With old eyes

With no soul

The hourglass is flipped

Would you choose a lobotomy over fear?

There have been plenty of treatments for phobias over the years, and lobotomies aren’t the newest fad for this. However, one had recently been successful, as a 44-year old man lost a piece of his amygdala and, happily, his aversion to the creepiest of our little friends: the spider.

Though the surgery was not originally intended to cure the man’s arachnophobia, the side effect seems to be a welcome one. The procedure, known as a left temporal mesial lobectomy, was merely intended to deal with an abnormality in his left amygdala that doctors decided was the cause of his recent bout of seizures. Although the abnormality and accompanying seizures were part of his preexisting (and rather uncommon) condition known sarcoidosis, the bonus results are a happy outcome.

Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker
Lobotomy. Graphic by Jilletta Becker

The amygdala is responsible for our emotional responses, so it isn’t new information that this ability to cut out someone’s fear is possible. However, this is the first documented case in which a specific fear was completely removed from a human being through surgery. Researchers are still not sure how exactly this was possible or how they might be able to recreate the results, but it seems to depend at least partially on what type of fear is being targeted.

Arachnophobia is a specific fear triggered by a specific image or idea which leads to panic. When it comes to more general anxieties or fear, scientists do not yet know if the same results could be achieved.

In another case, however, a 44-year old mother was able to lose all her fear after illness permanently damaged her amygdala. Scientists have been studying her for over 20 years, yet despite their research, have not come to fully understand how the disease worked to only eliminate one emotion from the woman, despite her entire amygdala being damaged by the disease.

Perhaps this isn’t a time for science to be too involved in recreating a situation, though, and perhaps this is why it doesn’t seem to be something anyone is working too hard to develop. Even though it sounds like a great relief to feel no fear, the woman has recounted several stories in which she was in danger due to her inability to recognize the emotion. The same could perhaps be true and therefore an issue for the 44-year old man who no longer fears our creepy, eight-legged friends.

Without our emotions to drive us and warn us when necessary, are we still fully capable humans? Perhaps it’s better not to find out.

The Cricket’s Song

My heart races

My breathing quickens

My bare feet hit the drenched pavement

The sound of boots echo from behind

An eerie message that I’m not alone

1_IMGS8304
“The street lights become scarce. The dark atmosphere is void of all sounds.” Photo of: Emma Rothe. Photo By: Caroline Leggett

 

The street lights become scarce

The dark atmosphere is void of all sounds

Like a vacuum sucking up all that once was

Cement turns to dirt

Blood mixes with polluted water

Foreboding trees loom over my slowly fatiguing body

Roots grab hold of my feet

Like a black widow elopes it prey

 

Silence

The wind dares not breathe

The crickets renounce all music

The rain turns to mist

Silence

A twig sings out in pain

 

Fear

Fear is the poison that paralyzes the soul

Fear sings in my veins

Fear beads on my brow

But death

Death knocks on my Soul’s door

Before violently entering

Death caresses my Soul in its icy hands

Thu Thump

My Soul cries

Thump

Drowning in its own red tears

Thu

The crickets begin to sing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Am Here

Do not be afraid my love,

Just close your eyes and drift away.

I’ll see you in my dreams tonight,

With loving eyes and whispered fright.

 

Please do not run,

From your fears and sorrows.

Don’t think of all the bad tomorrows.

I’ll help you quiet the chaos of your mind,

And guide you through when you are blind.

 

You will learn, one day my dear,

That you’re never alone, for I am here.

In every breath and every wind,

Through sun and trees and back again.

 

I’ll never leave you, you must know.

If sadness or madness ever grow.

I’m by your side,

Through thick and thin.

I will love you,

‘Til the very end.

hugs
“I’ll help you quiet the chaos of your mind, And guide you through when you are blind.”

 

 

 

The biology of fear

It’s the little chill that goes through your body on dark nights. It’s the tingle at the back of your neck when you feel watched by hidden eyes. It’s the feeling that comes during a confrontation that lets you know somewhere in the distant past, your ancestors are raising their hackles and baring their teeth. The culprit, of course, is fear — a force as old as conscious life itself (or maybe even older).

Everyone knows what fear feels like, but what’s actually going on behind the scenes? What in our bodies and brains drives such a powerful and necessary emotion? Continue reading The biology of fear