POEM: Fear & the Snowflake [Day 24 NaPoMo: Confessional]

Reading about Audie Murphy vaccinated me with perspective.

Maybe you heard of him as a star of silver screen cowboy cinema.

He also received the Medal of Honor for single-handedly taking on a unit of Nazis from atop a burning tank after sending his men to the concealment of a forest.

But he was also known for stage fright and intense shyness. Once, asked to give a speech, he said he’d rather storm a Nazi machinegun position, and he should know.

That seems like a strange mix of fearlessness and fearfulness, but isn’t everyone’s?

I’m less afraid of giving a speech than I am of having to mingle with strangers at a cocktail party.

I’m less afraid of being punched in the face than I am of misspeaking. (Sadly, I have enough experience with both to say as much.)

I’m less afraid of dying than I am of being so incapacitated that I don’t have the option to wheel, crawl, or hobble my failing body off a cliff.

I’ve been found fearless by people mortified by hand-standing  or petting a strange dog.

I’ve been considered cowardly by masters of cocktail party mingling.

And they are both correct.

And they are both so wrong.

2 thoughts on “POEM: Fear & the Snowflake [Day 24 NaPoMo: Confessional]

    • It’s not the ideal word in this instance— meaning-wise. It does exist (in people with limbic system damage / lesions) but it doesn’t match the common conception. i.e. It’s not a state of courageousness, but a combination of indecisiveness (because our emotions mostly exist for decision making when there is not time or information to reason out an answer) and a (usually lethal) level of risk taking that is outside the bounds of even courageous people. (To clarify, by that I mean that courageous people will take the risk for a good reason, but these truly fearless people take risks for minimal benefits.) There’s my rambling answer to you (presumably rhetorical) question.

      Liked by 2 people

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