I’m afraid of three things, mainly: death, needles, and failure.
Death is a big one. I don’t know how anybody gets around it. When I think of death, I think of Philip Larkin’s poem Aubade, in which he writes:
This is a special way of being afraid
No trick dispels…
…Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave
Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.
I don’t believe in Heaven. I believe that when people die, it’s over. So Larkin’s “courage is no good” resonates with me. It’s not about bravery, it’s about the extinction of a consciousness. That, as they say, is that.
Moving from the most rational fear to the most irrational: needles. This one is simpler. Somehow, some neuron or other got tangled up and saddled me with a phobia of needles. These devices of doctors, which diagnose and prevent and cure, scare me. It’s not the pain of being stuck – it’s the needle itself, somehow, absurdly.
Fortunately, this is one arena where courage can prevail. And there are other tricks as well. I prepare by looking at pictures and videos of injections, desensitizing myself. During the actual event, I hum Canon in D in my head.
I used to get so afraid that I’d become physically sick when I had to get blood drawn. Mostly, that doesn’t happen anymore. Progress.
And finally: failure.
Fear of failure is tied up with fear of death, in that I’m very aware of my limited time to succeed. I want to get stories and books published; I want to make an A.I. in some form; I want to be a good person, and a great person. I want these things because I wanted them as a child, and I refuse to give up on the childhood dreams. And so, failure haunts me.
I don’t want to die; but if I must, then I don’t want to die regretful.
Not sure why all that has been buzzing around in my head lately, but there we are.
What are you afraid of?