In our Top 5 Posts of 2008 series, this post is #3! The message is as important and valid today as it was when we first published it, so we’re pulling it out, dusting it off, and giving it another moment in the sun. Enjoy!
I am alone, laying in bed, re-reading ‘American Gods’. I brace myself as the part that scares me most approaches, and the dead woman comes to talk to her husband. I get through the scene, frightened, and this time I pause my reading to examine the fear fresh in my still-racing heart.
Why am I so afraid of this scene? Laura is dead, but animated… but not particularly zombie-esque. More vampiric, actually, and vampires don’t scare me. The imagery clearly suggests she clawed her way out of the grave, and that certainly scares me… but this feels different. Bigger. What is this fear?
This is the fear of death, quietly stalking my every move. The deep-seated fear of death, silent and backgrounded, creepily crawling across my subconscious.
A long pause in my exploration as I let this sink in, test the waters to see if this resonates true. It does, resounding in me and sending shivers up my spine. I give it much thought – why am I so very afraid of death? No answers, but the realization that this fear has become second nature to me, has been in my heart of hearts for many turns of the clock. No beginning; it stretches back into my past.
Eventually, the shivers pass and I groggily give up the process for sleep.
The next morning, I break open my current life-changing non-fiction book for to read a few pages while my beloved tinkers on her computer. The book tells a story to illustrate a point, and this is what I read:
“On Monday, Hans returned to his law office in Century City, LA’s posh corporate haven, and promptly handed in his three-week notice. For nearly five years, he had faced his alarm clock with the same dread: I have to do this for another 40-45 years?
Immediately, a strange shift began – Hans felt, for the first time in a long time, at peace with himself and what he was doing. He had always been terrified of plane turbulence, as if he might die with the best inside of him, but now he could fly through a violent storm sleeping like a baby.”
Tears pouring from my eyes, and I grok in fullness. Death stalks me and fuels my fears because I am failing to live my life as my heart needs to live! Life is precious and fragile, and I have wasted so much of it, spent so much of my life doing the wrong thing, on the wrong path, in the wrong marriage, ignoring my intuition and my dreams, doing instead what others wanted or expected even when it went loudly against my own needs or desires. I’ve been reasonable and rational instead of magickal and intuitive. I’ve disrespected and dishonored myself, lost my self-esteem and self-respect.
I spend excited moments flailing about and reading aloud to Pace, somehow managing to get the words out through the knots in my throat. She cries, too, and in our tears we vow to make our life what we want, to listen to our dreams and be irrational and loud and go against the grain, and most of all, be true to ourselves and each other.
I feel the fear unraveling in me even now, as I begin to open and listen to myself, my intuition, and my dreams.