Monday, 2 May 2016

My fears are alive - I am alive

When I was young – I still am by the way, so let’s use the phrase “much younger”;  When I was much younger, I watched the Incredible Hulk transformation scene just once.  And that once was enough.  It terrified me.  So I stopped watching his transformation.  I always knew when the transformation was about to happen -after that David someone had been smashed smashed a bit a bit – I never knew a person who got beaten as regularly as he was, I mean, every week?  Surely?  Anyway, my siblings would start screaming – He’s changing, he’s changing, he’s changing!!  I would ran from the sitting room to a side alcove and wait out the changing, as I asked my sibling anxiously “has he changed? has he changed?”.  The music would change, and Hulk would growl, then I’d know he’d changed, and I would return to my seat, to watch and cheer him beat up the bad guys. As I wrote this, I have googled and watched an Incredible Hulk transformation clip, and I am wondering, in retrospect how did I believe such dot not?  My fear of the transformation is gone, but my fear was very real then.

I was brought up on myths and legends.  There were the handsome ogres with mouths hidden under hair at the back of their heads- that they fed flies into as they walked away with a young undiscerning bride, she completely taking by their glittering countenance.  There was cursed wailing Cain wandering the earth in eternal punishment.  The seeking giants who stepped over whole blocks of houses or from hilltop to hilltop looking for someone to steal and go and torture unto death for their amusement.  The ndiba maï – spewer of water - a creature that waited on kids coming back from the outhouse at night, and covered them in water.  Talking animals, singing birds, thinking oddities.  Wonderful fables, whose messages were at the time lost to me, except for the literal fear they created.

I could not go upstairs or outside alone at night – what if there was something waiting for me at top of the stairs, outside the door.  And the leaves of the banana tree casting shadows in the bathroom window, were alive and must be things like urban hyenas trying to get in through the closed window at me.  You are a scaredy cat, you are a scaredy cat, you are a scaredy cat – they’d sing.  Who cared.  My grandmother always said, ke gwoya kainokagïra nyina - he who has fear, returns home.

And it did not help that at some point, my over active imagination took the horrors of the fables, juxtaposing them into my everyday life.  I created worrying pictures of falling aeroplanes, splitting grounds, collapsing houses, running wildlife, thundering earthquakes - an evil jumanji-like world, that no one else knew about, and where I never knew what was going to happen next, who was going to live, and who was going to die.

Fear is exhausting.  For self preservation, and compelled by other unimaginative factors, I stopped worrying and blindingly lived only for moment, only for the now, because the next moment was when the fear was going to be realised. 

With time and happenstance, my youth changed dimension.  I got hitched and birthed a brood.  For me the worrier, there is nothing like all those responsibilities to set the systems off.  I worried.  Constantly.  On the road.  At work.  At their school.  At home.  In bed.  Asleep.  Too much.  Too much.  Constant. Worry.  That grew into potent fears because some of the worries did get realised. 

My lot of fear is unashamedly bountiful.  Never runs out.  The fear of of being wrong.  Of being right.  Being too bad.  Too good.  Too accommodating.  Not fair.  Not sympathetic.  Not generous.  Not successful.  Successful.  Arrogant.  

My fears are alive. They feed on my experiences of yesterdays, and the uncertainties of all my tomorrows.  I step into them, fearful yet resolute.  I am alive.