Aurora TLS
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Aurora TLS

Fear: A Goldilocks Situation

Treading around the tipping point and what it means for PRIDE.

Ask someone what they look forward to in the future. When their anticipation turns to concern and then worry, they begin painting a picture of morbid overwhelmingness through the creases under their eyes and hesitancy in speech.

Fear manifests in many forms. The dread of loss and then loss itself, anxiety, and associated feelings like guilt, shame, and panic. It is debilitating and wreaks havoc, especially when peak performance is demanded of someone, say a performer like an athlete or an artist, whose entire preparation culminates in a matter of moments.

The need to alter such states has been prevalent from times immemorial. Moreover, in recent times, a burgeoning self-help and self-care market and the increased availability of clinical treatment and therapy show that fighting fear is still very much a staple part of the journey for students, performers, and working professionals alike.

Society has thrived out of using fear to its will. Making legends of those who have fought adversities to reach glory; all the while clipping its inhabitants into following unwritten norms of civility and following moral obligations tacitly. It plays into our hands on a personal level as accomplishments and expectations as well as by being a part of the culture in the form of literature, religious discourse, and entertainment media. This is very well evidenced by people of a particular community/ society associating similar faces, signs/ symbols, and behavior with fear. Being the power tool it is, manipulation on its basis — both by its imposition as well as by coward-shaming is unequivocally widespread.

Arguably it is one of our more primal emotions, one that fulfilled primary life needs and ensured the lineage and the settlement’s continuation through the ages, once upon a time ago by associating rustling leaves in the woodlands to stalking predators; and serves us very well right into the present day wherein it exists as a driving force in many endeavors people undertake. Although consensus is yet to arrive in the scientific community regarding its neurological profile as well as on the nature of emotions, overcoming the forces that instill fear is considered a triumph like no other. The mere presence of fear need not imply the existence of evil, let alone necessitating the need to triumph over it, although it does demand redressal.

Yin and Yang: The Chinese ideogram has symbolized that in a universe of two, a part of one in the realm of the other. Inseparable elementary opposites. Like chaos amidst peace. The entropy released herein channels disruptive ideas; as if almost channeled from another realm. Sheer brilliance in the creatives has often come from clutter.

On the flip side of the coin is the absolute omittance of any mention of fear and irreverence to its consequences. Its denial in the face of mounting adversity is paradoxical and even beckoning danger. Denial is just as bad as succumbing to fear. Unlike the ‘Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was’, such altered perception of reality and lower self-awareness seldom directly translates into being heroic. Inculcating a third-person view is always encouraged in professional as well as business development and entrepreneurship, particularly when rating one’s own body of work and/ or ideas to avoid the ugly baby syndrome and is a quality tool in understanding the repercussions of various actions.

Experiencing fear as it comes is important given its mere presence with or without due acknowledgment can stoke feelings of jealousy and inadequacy among a host of others that are not very hand-in-hand with positivity and productivity. Such effects linger around long even after the fear-inducing triggers check-out.

Furthermore, acknowledging the various forms it comes to is just as important. The dread doesn’t necessarily emanate from assailants or situations already present in the immediate external environment. “The calmest looking people are the ones fighting a losing cause deep within” and the continued popularity of related literature through the ages proves that many people are grappling with their own problems, if not having already succumbed to it. It could also be about the lack of acceptance from others, of being treated in an undignified manner, and subsequently, a lowered quality of life since mere survival is nowhere near being a key way to satisfaction. Such issues while not very visible (and if at all encountered on the internet taken down as hate speech) plague the lives of those who have to deal with the repercussions of their identities.

“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist” — Charles Baudelaire from The Usual Suspects (1995)

Internal conflicts and personal choices that were once stigmatized have made way for societal recognition which has brought many to embrace their true selves with open arms and many others to suspend their fear of facing persecution. Although limited, the ideas of Pride have been steadily seeping into all walks of life. While deeper inculcation into legislation and taking form into some of the more conservative cultures throughout the world could even take a generation or two, continued efforts will help in heralding an end to stigmatization and toxicity, moving beyond token inclusion and ushering an overall shift in thinking and opening the gates to true free will.

“Courage isn’t just about being brave. It’s about overcoming fear, and doing what is right for you and your fellow man” — Pastor, The Help (2011)

While prevention of discrimination and denial of basic human rights is only possible by law enactment, opening up avenues to conversations and creating a safe space for those in the LGBTQ community is the way to go to promote inclusivity and freedom to everyone. After all, in a truly civilized society, nobody should be left to live in fear and anxiety. Boldness starts from acceptance and not suppression.

~Submitted and written for Aurora TLS by Abhimhanyu Vijayaraghavan

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