A few weeks ago I wrote a thousand or so words on fear.
I didn’t share it, and I haven’t even saved the document I wrote it on.
It still sits there, open on my desktop, maybe waiting for my six-year-old computer to crash and for the file to be corrupted, or maybe for a further spell of inspiration to turn a few hundred words of bullshit in to something worth reading.
It was an attempt at humour framed by a back injury which had landed me in hospital earlier in December, and the idea that the fear of such injuries could hold me back from this life of adventure and fantasy I’ve sought for myself in the last 18 months.
But what it really came down to, after I’d ill-advisedly made a link between the fears I hold for myself and the world at large, was that I was again just writing a self-indulgent rant.
And so I realised that this year, which began for me being yelled at by some spoilt son drunk on Dad’s dime in the restaurant I bartend at, and which will likely end in a similar fashion, was the Year of the Narcissist.
The following is a few paragraphs from what I wrote earlier in the month, before I realised that the year ending was not one worth relating to fear or sadness, but to all things great.
“I’m not scared of spiders or snakes.
I don’t fear rapture or the fall.
It’s the hitting the ground, the nothingness of oblivion I can’t handle.
I’m scared of ideologies, of forced lifestyles and an existence out of my control.
When I was young I feared failure; I avoided talking to girls and trying new experiences for fear of it not working out in my favour.
The introversion I suffered from has been eroded over the years since I left high school and I’ve come to meet people who admire the skills I have and the person I’ve become.
So I travel, and I search for those whose passions I can share in and who will bring out the best version of myself, while hoping I can do the same for them.
But still fear drives me from both directions; the fear of inadequacy swells behind me, pushing me on, while the fear of having the ability to move forward taken away seems to hover at the horizon.
There’s nothing to do there, like Cold War Kids sang, in a hospital bed, but to lie and complain.
The fear of a snow-season-ending injury crawled around my head, as I flirted with the nurses in grunts, gasping for breath as a pain like a vice made an attempt to introduce my sternum to my spine, disregarding my protesting ribs.
It’s a fear I’ve felt throughout my travels; that some injury will send me home, bags packed and without a chance of return; leaving stones unturned, people unmet, destinations unvisited. Those Italian operas and Vietnamese fishing trips.
I’ve felt fear and been hysterical.
I’ve met fear with an attempt at bravery.
The protagonist of every movie or book or tv show or radio serial you’ve ever loved has been guided by fear.
It is as ever present as love, as we fear the loss of love.
Just as the protagonist needs the antagonist for the story to progress, I need fear push me to do the things I love.
Fear is the catalyst for the world’s many and varied issues.
A mass hysteria.
A broadcast xenophobia.
A reason to perpetuate hatred under the guise of safety.”
Somehow, I managed to convince myself that my masturbatory teenage shyness could be related within a few hundred words to the idea that Donald Trump’s hatred is more dangerous than the danger posed by extremists of all nationalities and religions around the world.
Really, I was just writing about myself and not accepting that, but instead hoping to write something that would reach further, that would hit home for those not concerned that I spent an afternoon in hospital and the resulting bills may mean I have to wait a few extra weeks for a new piece of snowboarding paraphernalia.
Each and every movement I made in 2015 was for my own personal gain; for my own thrill seeking selfishness; for my own self indulgent adventure; for something to write about in the hopes that you would read it and think about me and how fucking interesting my life is.
It’s the social media effect; the perfectly curated online presence validated by double taps on an Instagram account.
But as the curtains close on 2015 a flash of awareness has dawned across your narrator’s face, and although I have no qualms with my year of well documented introspection, I look forward to 2016 with excitement of seeing my family for the first time in nearly two years, thinking that maybe, maybe I could learn to live not for the things I fear, but for the people I love and those who tolerate me in return.