Hi, I’m Nancy, and as you know, I’m something of a Misfit.
But did you also know, I’m a wee bit of a coward?
It’s true. And it sucks. Mostly because of how much it has taken me by surprise. I have always thought of myself as, if not outright brave, at least something of a “quasi-non-conventionalist/throw-a-reasonable-amount-of-caution-to-the-wind” type. In short, I’ve never been much of a worrier. That was back in the day; those glorious pre-Covid, pre-Cancel Culture days. Remember them?Ah, those were some good times. But I’m discovering these days that, while I never thought of myself as a ‘fraidy cat (Can you even say that term now? Will some cat out there be offended and cancel me?), fear, in fact, has snuck up on me like a cougar, taken me as prey in its kung fu kitty grip and forced me to admit I am not as stouthearted as I fancy myself to be. And I know what you’re thinking, but it’s not fear of getting sick, cause that would be understandable, almost fashionable… but no, what I’ve discovered is that, there’s a whole World-O-Fear out there, and in the immortal words of Blondie, one way or another, it’s gonna find ya, it’s gonna getcha getcha getcha getcha…
So what am I so afraid of, you ask? Oh, a few things. Clowns, for starters, cause they’re just creepy. But that’s old news. Aside from that, and pertinent to this here post, it has come to my attention that I have, as of late, been afraid of my own Misfit shadow. That is, afraid to post here. Or almost anywhere, for that matter, save a series of fascinating Insta stories featuring my astoundingly cute, slightly dopey cat, Edmund (which I guess is poetically ironic, given the whole ‘fraidy cat theme we’ve got going here). But yeah, I’ve kind of gone off the grid these days, and if I’m honest, it’s at least partly because I’m just, well, a little skeered of saying the “wrong” thing. Or saying the “right” thing the “wrong” way. Or being misunderstood and hated. Or being understood and hated. Or that no one really cares anyway, everyone’s talking/no one’s listening, echo chamber, echo chamber, bla bla bla… so why even bother?
That’s a lot of fear to lay on you, I know. But maybe you can relate? Maybe you’re feeling that way, too, what with the weirdness of the world in which we now reside, and all its perils. You know what I’m talking about. All of a sudden, we have collectively been fast-tracked down the highway to the danger zone, a la Kenny Loggins, and it’s a real risk to open our mouths, or hit “send”, or do much of anything but “stay safe and stay home” anymore, isn’t it?
Like, no joke. There is a hyper awareness and therefore avoidance of every possible pitfall we could encounter, even ones we’ve been living with our whole lives and didn’t think twice about, prior to the last several months. (And yes, I get it, we are facing the unknown right now… But haven’t we always been facing the unknown? Maybe now we are just more aware of what we were previously unaware of…??? I don’t know. My head hurts…) Aaaanyway… Some may say that’s a good thing, this vigilance, that it’s made us more sensitive, more considerate, responsible, even better citizens. After all, we are our brother’s keeper. Sure. And yet… it’s also made us, dare I say it, a little less tolerant? A little less willing, perhaps, to live and let live? A a little more willing to kick it into Big Brother overdrive and turn on our neighbors who aren’t living as “safely” or “correctly” as we deem they should? And by default, maybe, just maybe, it’s made us all just a little more paranoid? Maybe a little more likely to hunker down in our own little “safe” spaces?
Maybe that’s just me? Maybe not.
So the question I’ve been wrestling with of late is this:
With all these dynamics at play, and with the very real possibility of encountering pain of one kind or another just by expressing thoughts, any thoughts, to a world that may very well either ignore, cancel or destroy the messenger… “Is it really even worth it?”
And the answer I’ve come up with is…
Now you may think I’m talking about Covid. Or Racism. Or Politics. Or any number of scary issues out there that seem to be all the rage these days. Oh yeah, and Rage. Don’t forget Rage. And you’re right. I’m talking about all of the above. But what I’m really talking about is something bigger and badder than the synergy of all of them together; because until we can deal head on with this issue of fear that surrounds every hot topic you can name, like razor wire around a prison, none of us can really be free (see what I did there?). And I so desperately want to be free. Free to own my awkward Misfit ways, without fear of retribution. Free to love you for your awkward Misfit ways, too, even if I disagree with them. Free to recognize the beauty and truth in a perspective that is not my own. Free to make mistakes. And most of all, free to learn from them.
Can’t none of that happen if I’m paralyzed by fear.
And so, my Misfit friend, here I am, throwing caution to the wind, offering these thoughts… wow, it feels good.
But wait, there’s more!
I also want to offer you a PODCAST within this blogpost today (oooh yay, a TWO-fer!)… of a real, honest, somewhat awkward (on my part), but mostly beautiful discussion I had, with a friend and an on-line mentor of mine over the years, Pastor Stephon R. Henderson (but you can call him Ray)… We touched on some of these topics (particularly race and relationship), and, well, it’s a little different than most of my podcasts, but I think in this case, that’s a good thing. And I think it’s a great conversation that you’ll love.
So, I’ll do my part to conquer my fears, and hit “publish”. And not gonna lie, I’m a little scared. But you know what they say about courage: It’s not the absence of fear, but being afraid and doing it anyway. Or, as the meme says…
So here we go! Courageous… Or stupid? You be the judge.