I am the most scared person I know. Within three minutes of walking into this room, I knew how many of you – statistically – were carrying a gun and how many of you were likely to fire it at me and the middle name of the man who built this stage and the name of the son of the woman who was hired expressly to walk me from that staircase at the edge of the stage to the car where the only driver I will ever get in a car with sits, waiting to take me to the next stage.
For years being scared was what I did with my day, and it got to the point where it took so much of my energy that I could do nothing but lay in bed and sit at my desk and then go back to my bed. My mom brought me food three times a day – always the same sandwich on a small white plate and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. I did this from age 23 to 27. And then she died. And I only knew because my food didn’t show up. So I called out for her and she didn’t answer and my fear went into overdrive, making me sweat and I started to feel nauseous and I cracked open my door and stood there staring through the crack of light at my childhood home calling for my mom and my lunch. I hadn’t left my room when I called the police.
I am always scared. I sweat through every shirt I wear. I know every outcome of every step I take, and I am learning to take them anyway. There is something about being scared that is similar to the anticipation before Christmas or your birthday or prom. It is that before-feeling that will always be better than the actual day. And it is the same with my fear. The pain of being scared of something will always be worse than the pain of any of the things I am imagining.
The fear is worse than the thing itself.
If that light slipped from the loop there and then the metal bent just right and it came down and knocked me out cold, I would get over it.
So I get over the fear.