26 April 2007

fearless friday

i remember being in college in the mid-90s when there was this fleeting fashion trend of t-shirts with the logo "no fear" emblazoned across the chest. it annoyed me to no end -- no fear? please. the concept was ludicrous, especially as a catchphrase being sported by any and all mallrats and skateboard enthusiasts.

yet here i am, more than ten years later, considering the same topic, with gravitas: fearlessness. when did i become, or start to become, fearless? for me, this is a case of hindsight. the moments that i can retrospectively cite as being my most fearless were done with the most trepidation i can imagine. at the time i was fearful, yet decisive.

two examples that stand out were the two times i quit my "serious" jobs to go embark on "non-serious" adventures such as traveling around the world or moving to europe. both times i quit i did so without much popular support, certainly not encouraged by bosses or family to leave the stable corporate world without a return ticket back. i did it without making plans beforehand, little more than a plane ticket had delineated my future. and against the grain, bucking the trend of what had been expected of me. i had such great promise and such an expensive degree and was putting it to good use making money!

so, fearless? hardly. those are the two scariest things i have ever done, and ultimately the most formative decisions in my life. to me fearlessness is what a woman must rely on when the only faith she has is in herself. fearlessness is the power to reject other people's opinions or advice, to forge ahead with an unpopular path. and don't be mistaken, there is plenty of fear involved. it's not the shedding of the fear that is important, it is the overcoming of it.

this post was inspired by my friend joie and a book by arianna huffington called "becoming fearless."


Angie said...

its always the things that seem so scary that turn out to be the most amazing...i still look back on our adventure across the globe as one of the best times of my life and part of that was the constant "un-known".
im also thinking 400 ft suspended gondola, 8 sec freefall, walking the plank - after that i say you deserve a "no fear" tee.

Emily said...

What a coincidence. I'm thinking seriously about quitting the corporate job with little or no plan besides not doing that kind of job again. It is scary, and it flies in the face of others' and my own expectations. But also trying to ratchet up the faith so I'll do it and not just dream...

joie said...

Fearlessness. Ha, ha. Sometimes the word even scares me. I guess the most "fearless" thing I've done is sharing my writing with others (you know of what I speak, Ms. NO FEAR). It can be absolutely torturous at times, especially because writing exposes you--and all your vulnerabilities--to the world. Just when I think I'm fearless, I realize how sensitive I can be. Someone will make a suggestion about a piece I've written or a post on my blog gets ignored and I just want to run and hide. But I keep on keeping on, and I have gotten better at being fearless. Now, when I feel like dying of embarrassment, I say to myself: Just remember, you're SENSITIVE. This reminder helps me breath. It helps me connect with who I am in all my glorious flaws. My sensitivities aren't diminished but my fear of criticism (or even worse, irrelevance) is no longer crippling.

zoe benedict said...

´Fearlessness is what a woman must rely on when the only faith she has is in herself¨Wow.