My List of Fears

Michael Bernard Loggins is a developmentally disabled man with a poetic sense of expression. A recent episode of This American Life features a reading by actor Tom Wright of Mr. Loggins’ list of fears (starts at 32:42 in the clip). I loved this clip. Maybe you will too. Give it a listen.

It made me wonder. I’ve never thought of making a comprehensive list of my fears. I trot them out in therapy sessions, but they’re all dressed up and polite. They never really say what they’re thinking. Sometimes I’ll talk about them behind their back, with a friend. The rest of the time, they just sit in the situation room of my psyche and keep lunging for the controls.

But maybe if follow Michael Bernard Loggins’ lead and make a list, exposing them will take some of their juice away. We’ll see. These are in no particular order.

  1. Fear of snakes.
  2. Fear of dentistry, even just getting my teeth cleaned.
  3. Fear of sudden noise of any kind, from outside the bathroom, while I’m inside it.
  4. Fear of outliving my children, outliving my wife.
  5. Fear of coming to the end of my life, and realizing I missed the point completely.
  6. Fear of losing my power of speech.
  7. Fear of total paralysis, my mind still in tact.
  8. Fear of losing my mind, my body still in tact.
  9. Fear of losing the use of my hands.
  10. Fear of living into WWIII.
  11. Fear of cave crickets
  12. Fear of my own incompetence made visible at the worst possible moment.
  13. Fear of violence on TV, of what it normalizes for our society. Fear of how often it’s used as the solution when it just perpetuates the original problem.
  14. Fear of torture, even just depictions of it in a story, and how it is almost impossible to shake the images if I see them or read about them or even hear about them.
  15. Fear of being found out as insufficient, inadequate, inept.
  16. Fear of living so long that I’m no longer useful to anyone. (Really scared of this one.)

I know there’s more, but I don’t feel like looking anymore.

And while this exercise was useful in its way, I didn’t find it terribly engaging. It might just be a slightly low point in this 100-day writing challenge. That’s ok. I’m allowed to be less than stellar from time to time.

I’m curious, though. What’s your list?

For ideas, you can listen to Michael Bernard Loggins’ list. (Remember to start at 32:42 in the clip, if you want to hear just that part of the show.) It’s really beautiful, true, strong and real. And the way Tom Wright reads it is nothing short of sublime.

I’m a patron of Ninja Writers and this is part of the Medium Post-a-Day Challenge of blogging for 100 days. (This is Day 52.) If you enjoyed this, please let me know. Comment, or click on the clapping hands at left and give it some love, or share or follow me. And thank you so much for reading.