Good morn or evening, friends…

So I have a confession to make to you. Something that I’ve had to confess to myself recently.

I am afraid.

Scratch that.

I’m frelling Terrified.

So very afraid...

So very afraid…

Fear has been ruling my life in some way for a very long time. Likely since before I realized, during my college years, that I had been living with Depression (which, I’m sure, has played its own part in all of this). I have, very recently, decided that this can no longer be a factor in my life. I will not live in fear. I refuse it. I reject it!

“But Sphinx, you seem like you have it together. What could you possibly be afraid of?”

Well, curious reader, a number of things. Many of these fears have been present ever since I was a wee one. (yeah, I just said “wee one” like I’m Scottish. My last name is Duncan. I’m allowed. )

Lets go down the list of them and then break down why these fears can no longer be a valid thing for me:

1. I’ve been afraid, for the longest time, of failure. That if I try, in any way, to pursue my dreams that I will fail; and not just fail, but fail in a way that is absolutely devastating and impossible to recover from. This fear has, honestly, kept me from accomplishing entirely too many of the things I have dreamed of doing. My Music and My Writing, namely.

There is an underlying fear there that is the cause of this.

2. I’m afraid that, deep down, I am a Charlatan and that someone will find out and point at me and laugh, and that all of the universe will laugh with them and I’ll want to crawl into a hole somewhere and cry myself to death.


Seriously, who wants this guy showing up at your door?

– note: I don’t know that one can actually cry one’s self to death, it’s unreasonable, I know, but try telling that to the nagging voice in my head that points and laughs at me on occasion.

I know that this is a stupid fear. I know that I am talented. I know that I have worked hard to cultivate and improve upon that talent. I know, I know that I am what I have always believed myself to be. I also know that if I don’t pursue my dreams and try to create the kind of life I dream of that I will die inside and be unfulfilled for the rest of my days.

No one wants that. I would become a bitter, horrible person.

Or a Congressman. [Shudders]

Yet this stupid voice in my head tells me that I’m not good enough, and because that fear is using my voice to project itself, it’s very hard not to pay attention. I know. I get it.

And I seriously need to kick that voice in the balls and get over it.

Here’s a fun one:

3. I am afraid that I have, or will, at some point become undesirable to my wife.

This one is stupid. I know this, but it also stems from an old and long standing issue I’ve had with my self-image.

It’s crappy. I have a crap self image and I always have.

I’m sure it stems from all of the crap I had to deal with from some of my peers growing up. (Mainly the girls – Hell’s Bells that was a shit time) I’m the kind of person who takes things to heart, especially back then when I felt like no one really liked me in that way. (oh the stories I could tell you on that subject…[sigh])

It’s so strange, the things that stick with you and carve an impression onto your psyche.

I look at my incredibly gorgeous wife and I have to ask myself: “How the hell did I luck out and get her?” Seriously, I’ve asked that. I often wonder what miracle I performed in a past life that I land someone as Gorgeous as she is. There are times when I still feel like she is so out of my league and that one day she will realize that and run for the hills. Or Taye Diggs. Damn that Taye Diggs and his boyish charm and captivating smile!

You stay away from her, you beautiful man, you! You can't have her!

You stay away from her, you beautiful man, you! You can’t have her!

I tell her about these things and she gives me her best “for a genius, you really can be an idiot” look. She assures me that, while she finds Taye Diggs to be an attractive man (DAMN YOU TAYE!!), I am sexier by far. And she makes me smile and blush and all of that and I feel assured that I have married myself an amazing woman.

But I still don’t feel any more attractive. Not to myself, I don’t.

Stupid voice in my head.

Stupid years of that voice being fed by myself and other people.

I am working on changing that, and kicking that voice off of real estate that can be used to be more awesome!

One day soon, I will feel less like a freak and more like an attractive human being.

Don't look at me. I'm not sexy enough...

Don’t look at me. I’m not sexy enough…

4. I’m deeply afraid of failing as a father.

This is a huge deal for me. I’ve never been a dad before (unless you count the co-raising of my little sister and she turned out alright, I think) and I’m terrified that I will so or say something, especially during her formative years that I can’t change and that will scar her for life.

More than that, I never want to have the kind of relationship that my father and I had before I moved out. I felt like I was being antagonized and attacked on so many levels. I felt like nothing I could ever do would make him proud of me or even accept me as I was. I felt like I was being pushed away so hard that it eventually led me to moving out before the situation could escalate the way I was always afraid it would.

I’m glad that things eventually got better and that my father and I are on great terms now, but those memories, especially one in particular, are burned into me.

I never want to make my daughter feel like that.

I would rather die a hundred thousand deaths than have her ever feel the way I felt.

This was something I had vowed to never do ever since then. She will never go through that. Ever.

But the fear still remains.

look at her! Who wouldn't want to do everything possible to give this kid a happy life?

look at her! Who wouldn’t want to do everything possible to give this kid a happy life?

5. the last fear that I will divulge is the fear of being insignificant.

Let’s face it: as much as I might say that my writing and my music is more for me than anyone else, I want to be heard, I want my writing to be read. I want to be validated as an artist and a writer.

Hell, I want to feel validated as a person! I want fans, I want followers, I people to see me on the street and say “Wait, you’re that guy! You’re awesome.”

You know…or something to that effect.

In the end, I know that what I am doing is and will be seen by people. I know that I am not insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

But there is also that part of my brain that notices all of the less than stellar art and music and literature out there and how amazingly popular they all are. How can I compete with that? What hope is there for me when the likes of Nikki Minaj [shudder] and Justin Beiber [wretch] are idolized.

There is a simple answer to this. One that I am recently coming to after careful consideration:

I am not in competition with them. I am not in competition with any of them.

As James Brown would say: “I’m just gonna get up and do MY thang!”

James sure knew how to do his thang. Yeah...he did it well too!

James sure knew how to do his thang. Yeah…he did it well too!

I guess the point with this one is that, while maybe Rock Star status might not be for me, I’d settle for recognition if only at the level of cult following (yeah, I get that even reaching for that is a bit of a much, but I’m allowed, right?). I want to feel like I matter in the world, like I make an impact somehow with my writing and my music. Of course the first step in that is simple: I need to DO IT MORE!

The more I write/perform/record, the more content there is for people to find. I would really like to be found…and liked. That, I think, would be nice.

I just hope that it’s not asking for too much.

These are just some of the fears that have been controlling my life from the backstage of my mind. They are all valid in their own right, but at the same time they are fears that are conquerable.

They are fears that exist only in my mind, and I refuse to be ruled by them anymore.

Why am I sharing this with you? You wonder.

Well, a couple of reasons come to mind: Firstly, because it’s good to get them out. Talking about them, getting these thoughts and fears out in the open, also gives me the opportunity to plan ways to conquer them. Gives me a space to reflect on them and remember why they need to be conquered.

Secondly, because I like you guys. This blog is about me sharing things. I can assume that you all deal with fear on some level yourselves. It’s nice to have that solidarity, even if it’s silent. It’s good to know that one is not alone when dealing with things they fear.

You’re not alone either.

And now, because I find it appropriate on a nerd blog to include it, the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear from Frank Herbert’s Dune:

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.

Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

This will be my new mantra.

Thanks for listening, friends.

Catch you next time.