My mama was a hippie, my daddy was a trash man & I was a child who gave too much weight to her fears.
It’s happened all my life. I frill up fear—doll it up as if it is on the shimmying edge of an onstage performance. Makeup. Lipstick. Pucker, pucker. Tights. Tap shoes. Ready to stomp & tatter me to pieces.
My mother holds no clue of where it came from. I’m the child she never could quite figure out—how so much worry could consume one body, 40 pounds of flesh & bones. But once the fear seeped in deep enough, it held the keys to wreck the whole place. Take me hostage. & steal from me. Passions & loves I once held dear ripped straight from my hands.
Fear showed up the other day.
A strange heaviness of its presence lingered in the air, like the cologne of a boy who once broke my heart, as I boxed up belongings from my cubicle & walked to my car, whimpering & making strange puppy-sadness noises over leaving. Going. Finding some sort of Away from the normalcy that has sculpted me for the last year.
New chapters seem so much safer before you walk out the door.
I dubbed Adele as my copilot for a solid 33 miles full of crying & bawling & wailing & quivering. Letting the fear of What’s Next dominate my bottom lip. My shaking hands. My tear stained cheeks. How will I eat? And what if this was a mistake? And where am I going? And what do I want, oh, what do I want? And What If… What If…. I Fail.
Thoughts rolling in the deep. Deeper than Adele can take you. Suddenly ganging up all around me. Tangled in my hair. Where, oh, where did the sweetness of this spontaneous leap go?
Closer… they crowded. Closer….
All shrilly interrupted, the whole lot of em’, by Miss Sara B. and her famous, karaoke classic: Love Song. Suddenly I’m singing. Belting. Having a moment with my fears that I have never experienced before. Pounding the steering wheel and screaming the lyrics.
I’M NOTTTTT GONNNAAAA WRIIIITEEEE YOOOUUUU A LOVEEEE SONGGGGG, CAUSE YOU ASKKKEEEDDDDD FOR IT. CAUSEEE YOUUU NEEEED ONEEEEE…. YOUU SEEEEE (though this looks much nicer than how it really sounded).
And this strange sense of freedom & liberation. Sweeping, sweeping over me. I won’t write them fears a love song. Not a single shred of them. I won’t give them the time it takes to muster music notes from the sky & find just the right tune to flood them & keep them in a dizzying trance. They are not worth that. They have never been worth that.
I’ll write you love songs if I’m breathless. Love songs if I’m smitten. Love songs if I plan to keep you around—sitting on my porch slugging sweet, sweet tea with me well into the evening. Well into the nights all swelled up & swollen by glow of fireflies’ bellies. But not a love song if you were never meant to take me & have me & try to hold me for your own with all the anxiety & worry it takes to make a dreamer tremble, curl up & cry.
The fears are real. They must serve their time & space. But a love song would give them legs they were never made to grow. They can slither, they can slunk, but they can’t hold me tighter than they’ve held me in the past.
Because this is the truth-the truth, truth, truth to writing love songs to the fears that are waiting in the shadows of this leap: they’ll bind me. Handicap me. Stop me. Strap me. Make me afraid, so god afraid, to move. They’ll see the way they’ve got me captive & they’ll be snake charmers until the sunset. Slithering, slithering to stop something so good.
I cannot have that. Not right now. Not today.
I’m not writing love songs. No, no. Not today.
Is there a fear that’s binding you today? Or did you just send one off packing? Have you written one too many love songs to fears in the past?