the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: fear

Fear

fear

In all my years of blogging, I have never written anything with the aim of inspiring you. It’s not my style.  I’m not a teacher or an advocate.  I don’t consider myself inspirational.

But that changes today.

The night started with my own search for inspiration. I’ve been feeling scared lately, fearful, unable to take steps that could improve my life.   I searched online for advice. Through Google, I found all sorts of gurus, wannabe gurus, psychologists, happiness experts, and thought leaders who were eager to help me.  These articles were written by two categories of authors — those who never faced fear, and those who learned to overcome it.   Whether written as  longform or Buzzfeed listicle, on an academic website or online women’s magazine, the advice was always remarkable similar, pretty much expanding on Nike’s advertising copy of  “Just Do It.”

“You can’t succeed without failure.

You will never know until you try.

Change your way of thinking.

Fight the fear and do it anyway.

Twelve Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Win at Business.

Get the Love You Deserve By Risking it All.”

All night I read articles that felt cold against my skin, clichés tossed at me to sell e-books or writers promoting themselves. I was not inspired by someone who once feared air travel and now jumps out of an airplane every day at lunch.  What if you’re still finding it hard to call up American Airlines to change a flight?

These articles just made me feel inept.

“Just do it,” they said.   That sells stuff.

“Fuck you.  I can’t do it yet,” I answered.   That will never sell anything.

So, I am here to talk to those who fear change, risk, or rejection. I cannot tell you to fight that fear, because I have not done so myself. I give you no tips on how to overcome obstacles because I frequently falter.

My only inspirational message is this — if you fear something, you should feel it. That’s it. Save fighting it for another day.  Just feel the fear.  And know that others feel it too.  That’s my inspirational message.  It’s the only way I can help you.

That is what I was searching for tonight. And since I could not find that inspirational article on any website, I wrote it myself.

Baby Steps

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A few of you emailed me recently asking me how my therapy was going.  I was embarrassed to reveal that I was still dragging my feet about the whole thing.  I’m not sure what was holding me back.   Fear?  Anxiety?  Talking about my marriage?  SPENDING MONEY to talk with someone, when I can just talk to you FOR FREE?

Today, I decided it was time to act.  It was time to contact a therapist.   A blogger/friend recommended someone in West LA.  I emailed this therapist.  I told her a bit about my issues, such as my fear of rejection.

Tonight, I received an email back from her, saying she was too busy to see me and was rejecting me as a client.

Now with added clarification:  50% true!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthBe of Good Cheer

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Last Halloween, while all my friends dressed up and went to Halloween parties, I stayed home under the old-fashioned belief that Halloween is supposed to be a children’s holiday.    I have so many fond childhood memories of going door to door with my friend, Rob, and collecting all our loot, as well as the pennies for UNICEF, back when the United Nations was a reputable institution.  Rob and I still talk about our famous “old-men” Halloween costumes, with the gray beards and old hats borrowed from my father, which has become less funny as we have started to get actual gray beards.

I bought tons of candy (at the 99-cent store, of course) and waited for the cheerful smiles of the local children.   I even bought this scary Frankenstein mask that lit up, hoping to give the kids some thrills and chills.  I waited and waited.  Not one child came knocking on my door.  Not one.  I still have some of the candy from last Halloween.

My only conclusion is that in Los Angeles, most parents do not want their kids knocking on strangers’ doors, even if the kids are accompanied by an adult.  Now, I didn’t live in a “bad” neighborhood.  I lived in what they call Beverly Hills-adjacent.  (Hah!)   I think parents are scared for their children, thinking that every stranger is a potential pedophile.

Now I know this is a serious issue, so parents, please don’t throw tomatoes at the monitor just yet.    Every day, I read about some young boy or girl who is being lured somewhere by some crackpot on MySpace.  But a red flag goes up in my mind when every “Inside Edition” and “Dateline” is about the same issue.  I know how much these TV shows love selling danger to a scared public.  “Eat spinach and risk death… or worse!” a squeaky-voiced female newscaster recently said on Eyewitness News.

From doing a little reading tonight, I’ve learned the obvious — MOST problems with children are with extended family members.  Going around for Halloween might be less dangerous than leaving your kids with Uncle Joe.  While I understand the fear of strangers, I think it is bad for kids to grow up feeling afraid of ALL strangers.   How are they ever going to empathize with others if they are only taught to trust their own family?

Today, I was at my local Starbucks.  It is situated next to one of those Gymboree’s.  As I was drinking my coffee, some little girl came running over to my table.  I smiled and said hello.  The mother, at the next table, gave me a glare, as if I SHOULDN’T be talking to her daughter.  

I just thought that was a little weird.   Should I not talk to children anymore? 

Well… I was unshaven…

But, I’m not giving up yet.  Not everyone can be so fearful.  After I left Starbucks, I did go and buy some more Halloween candy, just in case someone shows up.

A Year Ago On Citizen of the MonthJohny Kops, Remember That Name

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