Prison of Fear

Updated: Mar 20, 2021

It’s about 12 A.M. give or take and I can’t sleep. As I think about the day and the past week, it’s just really struck me. My observations of myself and others have left me with one question: Why do we let Fear control us so much?

Worse: Why do we assume the worst situation possible or the worst outcome and accept it without knowing any if it’s really true? I can easily say I don’t get it, but in a way I do. It’s as if we are wired to assume the situation will go horribly wrong or to accept that it can and will.

It’s almost like some sick way of comforting ourselves, because the unknown of a positive outcome is too hard or impossible to believe. It’s a hamster wheel and we run ourselves to death.

While it’s perfectly natural to be afraid, Fear can be healthy, it can also make us a prisoner. It’s like we’re in this cage and the key is hanging right in front of us. We can leave anytime we want. I mean the key is right there. Yet some part of us says that we can’t take it, that we shouldn’t take it.

It’s as if Fear itself is trying to convince us that the cage is safer than what awaits us, all the while taunting that freedom is just within our grasp. So we sit. We wait for things to get better, we hope the moment will pass. In the end however, we never address the core issue that we are living in fear. We become so comfortable with the cage that we believe it protects us from harm.

Maybe this is just a 12 A.M. rant from a guy who can’t sleep. On a personal note, I’ve been struggling what to do with myself. Querying has had be really scared to hear no. I’m sure I’ve talked about it in a couple other posts. But any writer worth their salt is afraid of this part of the process.

Let’s be honest who wants to be told no. It’s like hearing the words ‘you suck’ without them ever being spoken. So we push on. For me, Ii just had to tell myself, “I don’t care.”

I had to say to myself, “Not everyone will like what I do and that’s okay.” The most difficult part when you are in the moment, and the anxiety builds, is having the courage to say, “STOP!”

Still, you can feel your chest tightening into a ball. It compresses and pulls itself into a dense knot. You start feeling nauseous as your mind conjures up the worst possible scenarios. “Oh, you’re gonna get fired now. Oh look, you didn’t do this the right way, that person is so gonna hate you…” Maybe this sounds familiar…. “You will never be good enough to find someone to care about what you write.”

The thing is and the truth is this: If we spend our whole lives being afraid of what we can’t see or control, then we will never be able to accomplish what we dream. It’s took me a few days to get enough courage to start querying seriously. With the help of some really great people I found the courage to say, “Screw it, my agent is out there somewhere. The agent for me will love my work, but more importantly they will be interested in selling me.”

I don’t know what Fears are holding you back, but something that helps me is that I treat Fear as if it were a real person or bully. I stare it down and remind myself of who I am and what I’m about. I remind myself that Fear is a Liar.

It doesn’t mean I’m not going to be cautious around a drunk guy waving a bottle at a bar, or something dangerous right that. Those dangers I can see. It’s worrying over what I can’t see that allows Fear the power to push me around and keep me in my cage.

So I encourage you my friends that as you go about this week, take that key hanging in front of you and have the courage to open the door of your cage. Don’t let what you can’t see keep you from accomplishing what you are capable of. Ok, half asleep rant over. Have a good night everyone.


Matt Brown.

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