Learning to Fear

For whatever reason, it happens frequently that I tell stories revealing that I was not this person as a child, and how timid and scared I really was. 

Today it occurred to me, that’s not entirely true. 

I was timid and terrified. But when I believed I was invisible, as children often do, I was fearless. I have vivid memories of myself mostly ages 8-12, mostly alone, but feeling excitement and no fear. 

  • I was never afraid to jump in Uncle Fred’s car going to Long Island without knowing when I’d be back.
  • I was never afraid to climb a tree all the way to the top,  or to walk on the edge of a mountain cliff. 
  • I was never afraid to walk into the woods alone, and keep walking.  
  • I was never afraid to jump in the back of Uncle Beach’s pickup knowing he would drive like the wind over every bump and hill he could find.
  • I was never afraid to approach a dog bigger than me. 
  • I was never afraid to walk uptown to the library and check out a pile of books so big I’d have to put some back because I couldn’t carry them all.   
  • I was never afraid to peddle my bike down a steep hill never hitting the brakes, or to sled down a hill so steep I couldn’t see the bottom. 
  • I was never afraid to climb an abandoned railroad trestle and sit on the edge swinging my legs, or to swing on the playground as high as my legs would propel me.  

It really is quite simple in retrospect. I was timid and terrified of people.  I was never afraid of things that hadn’t hurt me. 

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