Love Letter #8 – the fear


Hey y’all,
1. Just a quick THANK YOU for all the support with the video I released, I’m humbled by your time. Time is the greatest gift you can give.

I’m going to Europe and Asia for 6 weeks in December and so these are the last shows I will play before my trip. Come say hello and sing Redemption Song with me. Yes?

11.05  Sat  — Philly   @ KFN    ~Yikes the Zero, Josh Hey, Lushlife DJ set.
{{This show will be a party with your friends, no curfew just vibes}}
11.18  FRI — Philly    @ Bourbon & Branch  ~Julia Weldon, Lenore Lenoire
{{This show will aim to empower you and make you feel your own heart while you breathe in deep}}

The Performer: Part 8
On Fear

“Avoidance is not transcendence ” -unknown, shout out to Josh Hey for sharing

‘Avoidance is not transcendence’ is only four words, but boy do they sizzle brightly in the sun. I have been thinking about fear a lot, and avoiding fears. What are your biggest fears? In academic surveys people always answer 1. death and 2. public speaking, which almost makes sense but wait a minute, how did these two concepts become neighbors??

What about sex, is sex scary? Sex makes life, which should hold a special importance in our education, but it does not. My experience with sex education in school was god awful; it was mostly fear based and awkward, full of photos of disease and rabid warnings. Where’s the love element in these classrooms? And this is just school education. My sex education came way before school, as I’m sure it did for you too.  But hey if we are taught to fear sex and its consequences, death as the ~ultimate mystery~ is likely terrifying. Likely, because unfortunately there is no death education.

Maybe fear is about losing control. Death is coming, and some of us have seen it around us. We cannot control that, all we can try and control is our thoughts surrounding it. Death is often viewed as either the last dance of the night or the ever shifting lava lamp bubble, morphing into different shapes and changing colors in a mesmerizing dark sea. Our beliefs about death are often cultural, but overall they are our thoughts, our choices. Our thoughts are our choices. Are we allowing ourselves to be ok with death or will we let its lurking shadow define our every move? After all, every day we are guided either by fear or fearlessness.

Death feels mysterious, and we humans fear what we don’t understand, but public speaking y’all…? That’s just a person with a mic and a benign power point presentation. Seems basic, but it actually taps into a fascinatingly huge fear we all share. Walk with me: so public speaking means being both alive and amplified, in front of people. I do this, I play music in front of people. Am I special? Is it arrogance? Growing up I almost never asked questions in class, I was quiet, I listened. I was also afraid. My self-image was based almost entirely on my intelligence (and a bit on sports — which is the real reveal of this essay..), because that is what people praised about me, that’s who I thought I was. Back then I felt that being clever is what made me, me. The idea of asking a dumb question in front of my classmates felt like a hammer coming down and shattering my fragile self-concept. If people stopped perceiving me as smart, perhaps I’m not, and therefore what’s left?

Fear of being perceived as ignorant drove me to avoid asking questions in class. This is wild and insane but so common for many of our fears — when soaked in fear, public speaking means potentially shattering ourselves in front of people. Yikes. Singing in front of people means potentially convincing strangers that I am bad at singing. Bananas !  But hey wait a sec, this seems like the type of fear that involves giving control to others over your own heart. When is that ever good?

Something is still missing here. In the West we are inundated with stories of war and homicide by our media, yet we don’t openly address our own fear of death in a safe way. In fact this fear of facing our own mortality is arguably used to manipulate our choices: what we will eat, smoke, buy, choose as a career, and who we vote for or even marry.   Till death does us part. I suspect that death, in a way, is the ultimate shattering of our self-concept. If I’m gone, there is no more me, I am now a different thing. No more me in front of people. Then what is me, what’s left?

I want my idea of me / my soul / my spirit to be so strong yet so light, that when inevitable change comes my way — when I no longer sing in front of people, when I am no longer a daughter to someone, a musician to someone else —  I want to just be ok, to accept. It’s my choice after all. In Buddhism it is taught that “if we can see through the delusion of the individual self, we experience that which is not subject to birth and death. The idea is that ‘you’ are not an autonomous entity.”  You are not singular. It is all one system, one I, one breath, one big sigh, connected.

It is also suggested that instead of labeling yourself as romantic / hard working / a great dancer / a responsible partner / a shy person / a drinker — that instead you try to view your raw potential at each present moment. Right now I am trying to grow. Right now I will give a dollar to this person that literally has no home. Right now I will call my mom because even though she drives me crazy she has been there for me and I want to remind her I am grateful. Right now I am dancing like no one is watching because it feels good to let go. And wow just look at how that afternoon light shines on those trees.

“Suffering is caused by a habit of constructing an absolute self.”  The constructs we built for ourselves mimic those we build for other people, which, i suspect, creates a hierarchy in our minds. Look, I know this essay was a lot. This is a never ending topic, but if you walk away with anything after reading this far (you champion), walk away with this: there is no hierarchy. No human person is better than you nor are you better than anyone else. Ok gotta go, I’m about to smash that self concept and diiiiiive~~
(I’ll work on it)

Hey I want to write about death next but I will likely write about sex. Got thoughts.
Stay connected and be good to you.

If you want to respond with your own personal experience please hit ‘reply’ all fearless. Love.


Written by

I'm a world electronic folk musician. Born in the middle east, based in Philadelphia. I love evoking and hunting for meaning. and smiles.

2 thoughts on “Love Letter #8 – the fear

  1. Really love this piece of writing. We should talk some time – I hope to make it to your show here in Haverford – we have a lot of similar thoughts on the subject. Have you seen any of the Letters to YVYNYL that I publish fairly regularly?

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