There isn't much I fear in life. But the things I fear are vast:
- Wide open spaces, especially when dark and unfamiliar
- Death in vain
- Failure to express myself in the way that I intend
The second one is self-evident.
No one can anticipate death. It's inevitable. Death is this unique destiny that all human beings share. I know I will die. But I can't imagine dying without some sort of internal peace and acceptance.
And now for the point.
In this time of finals, projects, and papers it's a struggle to express yourself in the very best way for each and every task. But that's not what's important when it comes to real life, your last breaths, the moments in which you anticipate death. Have you ever had an insert-foot-in-mouth moment you wish you could take back? Did you ever rectify the situation? Would you be worse off to try? Did you ever give patronizing advice to someone who didn't need it? Or regret not giving advice to someone who did?
The importance of communication is invaluable. Jean-Dominique Bauby published an entire memoir transcribed solely by blinking his left eye. After suffering a stroke, he lost movement of every body part except his left eye. A speech-therapist developed a system for Bauby to respond to spoken letters by blinking, to form full words and sentences. Urgency provided him with inspiration to say what he needed to say. He was determined to prove that he was more than just a vegetable.
I complain about having to type some papers or speak in front of people. I have all ability to express myself and yet oftentimes falter. I say things I don't mean or I don't fully express what I mean. I feel like I offend people all the time. My greatest fear is pushing people away because of the words that spill out over my tongue. There are people in my life that I hold to very high esteem and I feel like a chamber of my heart would cease to function if I were ever to lose them. I just don't think I'd ever get over it. Especially if it were a result of my words, my silence, my actions, or my inability to act.
Just as I feel apprehensive upon approaching a traffic light, fearing the green will turn to yellow and I will be crashed into, I think about this all the time. Last Tuesday, I was on my way home from school, ready to begin my Thanksgiving break. A lady on the interstate in front of me slammed on her brakes. I subsequently braked quickly, narrowly escaping a wreck. Just when I let out a sigh of relief, I felt a vehicle slam into the back of my car. I rolled forward, all of my things flying to the front of my car, my glasses landing near the brake pedal. Luckily, everyone involved was relatively unharmed but the back of my car received subsequent damage, that is still impending repair. Now every time I see a brake light ahead, I brake immediately so I don't have to slam on them ever again. I am so fearful that every car in my perimeter has the potential to crash into my car. I'm hyper-vigilant and paranoid.
Caution scares me, almost as much as not being cautious. Will I caution myself out of living? Will I always hold my tongue in fear of saying the wrong thing? Is saying the wrong thing just a process that one must go through to be more certain of themselves in the future?
Alas, with my hazard lights on, I check my rear-view window, and slowly make my way back onto the roadway that is life.