“Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it.”
― C. JoyBell C.
Running away from fear, it’s a natural response to stimuli. When an animal senses danger, they tend to run far away from it. Simple survival tactic. What makes human different is that our species keep the courage to face the fear. Face the danger. Take risks. Come up with solutions. Running away might be the last option.
But it is so amusing to see, we- brave hearts – overpower death yet fear life, when life brings us to a hairpin turn called marriage.
What is scary? Why is it a big deal? May be we just realized we are trailing on a terrain? Maybe the process of finding a life partner, how she/he would turn out to be, or even how I would share a life with another person? When you come to think of it, it’s not just an adjustment like sharing a room –it’s a life time commitment to “sharing”. I happen to once read ‘life partner is going to be your parenting partner, someone who influences your children, your eating companion for about 20000 meals, your travel companion, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career and emotional therapist’. That is a lot in one. And that thought crowds my mind. But again isn’t sharing the foundation of happiness? Like a cherry on cake these contradictions had managed to mess my mind, unable to process what I really want. Giving it a little thought, Of course nowadays there are several platforms to discover your life partner,various stages of interaction set up to analyse if she/he fits the match and then reach an optimal solution. Such saviours and life guard apps. Yet to find love in marriage is dream come true for many. The atrocities we hear helps to fuels up the momentum and gets life rolling in the negative direction, because fear is a negative emotion.
As age climbs the number of steps to enlightenment, out there are additional pressures from family, friends, Mom’s friends, Mother of the daughter-in-law of our family friend, the fat sweet lady in the bakery down the street. Ha this list would not end. So the alarm buzzing in my head tells me to RUN. According to the author of Marriage, A History -Stephanie Coontz, for earlier generations the idea of marriage was to achieve security-financially, socially and personally making it possible to survive and reproduce. This idea exists in many orthodox societies around the world even today.
But my primary idea to get hitched would be to find love and happiness. Of course I wouldn’t call the practical weddings as love less, but the expectations largely differ from mine or shall I say “ours”?
This difference in idea is ‘The Fear’, and I run, run like Bolt in the opposite direction away from what I see as ‘Danger’.
And then there are these well wishers on the way standing like speed breakers – our parents, friends and all those closely attached to us, trying to help us slow down, letting us know that every person goes through this emotional roller coaster and storms of confusion. And yes, they all surpassed it. But knowing that everybody else have been on the same boat as the one I am expected to board does not help my fear of sinking. Either I am listening to people who state practical terms like they are pitching a sales proposal or people who got really lucky with their life like they stepped out of a hallmark movie.
So my response to the current stimuli is to shoo them away. Because I am too scared to step on the boat at the first place. Consciously or sub consciously I manage to keep them away. And when I say that, I mean to hurt my well wisher’s feelings, so they would not drag me to my Titanic. Like I said earlier, life is on a roll in the negative direction, so all the empathy is temporarily shut down. I can only think of being selfish and protect myself. Let’s just say, the ability to think was out the window.
It is excruciatingly hard to turn back and walk to the maturity our age claims to be. But when we do, let me tell you, it is a beautiful sight. It often makes me wonder why did I want to run away from where I was.
I would not say, take the leap and jump into a marital life for our dear ones or succumb to any kind of pressures – that includes one’s depressing feeling of not having what others have. Take the leap only if it is your decision from heart. It might be beautiful, sometimes not. But it does not have to make us regret. It’s up to us to make a warm bright heaven in our little world or make a barren land of dessert with dunes of fears and expectations. Unexpected is adventurous. Shouldn’t we embrace it?! This beautiful world has much more to offer than gossip mongers. I believe that a life partner is a person who can help the other change for good, bring out the best in each other, make them a better person. If one such person does not come in to my life, there is absolutely nothing to be worried about. It is not mandatory for one such person to be in my life. It is certainly not a void. At the same time, neither is it a matter of worry that someone would come in and challenge me. I have my better sense to analyse and our species’ courage to take decisions.
I once read in a novel – Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez,”Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.”
When I try to run away and take shelter at the harbour of negative sea because of few gossip mongers, who have suddenly developed such great interest in my life, I realise I miss out so much on the beauty of life. When I tangle their thoughts and my fears, I suffocate and miss out to breathe in the love that surrounds me. When I push people away, I miss out to respect those who genuinely care and love me. I unknowingly bring the worst out of me, and that- without the help of the person I am scared will come in and do the same. So now, who actually brings the best and worst out of oneself?
Life is ours, decision is ours, experiences are ours and lessons to be learnt are ours. People around us only help us through. It is up to us to extract the best and leave the rest. And of course believe in Hope.
Yes, it’s not easy like Nicholas Sparks says in The Notebook-
“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. You and me… everyday.”