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08 February 2010 @ 08:53 am
I would like everyone to go read Kristin Cashore's post today about fear. Well, technically, it's a post about trapeze lessons, but also about fear. Go read the whole thing if you're even slightly interested, and I'm quoting my favorite part here:
Anyway. Realizing this was a revelation for me, because while I couldn't do much to change my strength or athleticism before my next swing, I could deal with the fear. I've talked about fear on this blog before, especially when it comes to writing. Fear likes to keep writers company while they write, trying to convince them that they're going to fail. Whatever. He can hang out with me if he wants, but I'm never going to let him stop me from writing. And once I knew I was dealing with fear in my heels off, I realized I just needed to do it and damn the torpedoes, just like I do with the writing. Fear can swing with me, but he can't stop me from flinging myself into thin air. Next time up on the trapeze, when I heard the command, I exploded off that bar as fast as I physically could -- and apparently it was good enough, because when it was time to try it for real with the catcher, we made both catches. Yay!

If you feel like a wimp or like a person with no courage, don't forget that sometimes, courage feels just exactly like being terrified. The photo above is proof, actually. That's me practicing exploding off the trapeze. In addition to looking very silly indeed, my face also looks scared, doesn't it? But do you see what I'm doing? You're not going to tell me that throwing myself off the trapeze into the air was a cowardly thing to do, are you? In determining whether you're courageous, what matters more, how you feel or what you do?

Reading this made me happy and tearful. Thanks, Kristin!
I'm feeling: tiredtired
B.K. DeLongbkdelong on February 8th, 2010 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing. I think we all need a good lesson in fear and to be reminded what "courage" feels like - especially those of us who posted about fearful things in the Confessional.
David Policardpolicar on February 8th, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)

I am very fond of a trilogy of fantasy novels called The Deed of Paksenarrion. One of the reasons I'm fond of it is a more sensitive treatment of recovery from brain damage and managing PTSD than I would expect from a fantasy novel.

One aspect of that is a whole lecture about how "we" have come to think that courage is the absence of fear, and how the absence of fear is awfully useful for certain kinds of tasks, but courage is something else altogether... courage is the ability to keep going.

I'm reminded of that, reading this.

Edited at 2010-02-08 02:14 pm (UTC)
ruthless compassion: cosmicaroraborealis on February 8th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, I like that trilogy very much, myself, and its treatment of recovery and what it means to be courageous were big for me; I still go back and read favorite passages from those books (the literary version of comfort food) regularly.
David Policardpolicar on February 8th, 2010 04:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, me too. As with most of that sort of high fantasy, I find the extended travel-war-torture scenes tedious and tend to skip over them, but there's a lot I like in it. (I also really enjoy that characters frequently misunderstand each other in ways that don't affect the plot at all. Very few authors bother with that aspect of conversation.)

It has, of course, taken on a whole different resonance lately; it was a while before I was able to read it again.
harimad on February 9th, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
I don't remember the actual quote or where I got it from but the gist is "Courage isn't being unafraid. Courage is being afraid and going on anyway."

Courage does not exist in the absence of fear. One can do amazing things without fear, or simply suffer from lack of imagination or be simply stupid (often terminally), but none of these things are evidence of courage.
evolution, and some other stuffjacflash on February 8th, 2010 02:34 pm (UTC)
There's a quote from someone -- Churchill, maybe? -- that I have paraphrased for my kids as: Having courage doesn't mean you're not afraid. Having courage means that you do what you need to do even though you're afraid.

"Sometimes, courage feels just exactly like being terrified" is an even better way of putting it. Thank you for this.
Hawk Handsawhawkhandsaw on February 8th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
That last reply was me, not signed in, but I'm not trying to post anonymously to all your entries :-)
ruthless compassion: laughteraroraborealis on February 8th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
Re: heh..

New habits can be hard to break? ;)

And, yes, I'm so excited for her second book!
kristincashore.blogspot.com on February 8th, 2010 04:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks! When I make other people teary, that makes me teary, so now we're all teary! :o)
ruthless compassion: happy petalsaroraborealis on February 8th, 2010 05:54 pm (UTC)
In the best way! Thank you :)
sabriel: patience_sabriel_ on February 9th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
I thought I got this from you, but maybe not....This has become one of my new favorite quotes....

How do I stop being afraid? Know that there is no safety anywhere. There never was and there never will be. Stop looking for it. Live with a fierce intent to waste nothing of yourself or life.
-Ann Shulgin

this is loosly connected, in essence if not in words, to what you were saying. Living fearlessly and fiercely is what I'm striving for these days. I often miss the mark, but it's a process and I'm learning!
THank you so much for sharing!