Posted by Author Robin Selise Muse
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. ~Rosa Parks
See, here’s the thing…fear is a bitch in heels.
It’s the one intangible force that can stop any and everything it chooses, better whatever thing chooses it. For a while, I chose fear because it was easier to own that, than to own responsibility, obligation, moral validity, values, humanity, and any other adjectives that fits the synonymic phrase. I fancied myself for many years, a pretty brave girl—one would have to be to still dream when her dreams should’ve been deferred—but it turns out that I wasn’t as brave as I thought I was.
The lack of bravery came in the form of caution.
I wanted to be cautious not to overstep boundaries, not to do something that would rub the grain, because being raised in a household that celebrated realism and not romanticism that’s what I was told…well, at best, led to believe. There was a path that one followed; grow up, graduate high school, off to college—graduate, get a job in the majored field, find a respectable husband, get married, have kids, live stably.
That was the formula.
I didn’t follow it per se, but I put forth good effort.
And that was the rub.
At every turn I failed; sometimes miserably, sometimes successfully.
It wasn’t until recently that realized that I kept on with my recidivist-like antics because I wanted to, I sincerely wanted to swim with the current, but there was a part of me that just couldn’t.
It didn’t feel right.
It wasn’t who I was.
But, I didn’t act on the feeling, I acted on fear. Fear was what kept me trying to do what “they” said and trying to do what was “right” and “good” but it was to no avail.
The current called, I answered, and have been struggling to stay afloat every since…and I’m completely freaking happy.
As Ms. Parks, stated, “Once one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear, knowing what must be done does away with fear.” So true, Ms. Parks. So true.
There was a reason that reading made me happy, there was a reason that my English and Lit classes were my favorites and it had nothing to do with wanting to teach it.
It’s the reason that when I hear a new word, I get tingles.
It’s the reason that I listen to people’s conversations and hope to turn them into a story.
It’s the reason that people intrigue me, not in the wanting to be friends sort of way, in the you’d make a good character sort of way.
The reasons why I idolize, Tony Morrison, Jamaica Kincaid, Rochelle Alers, Brenda Jackson, Darrien Lee, Sylvia Plath, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Hemmingway, Zora Neale Hurston, Sandra Cisneros, to name just a few—there’s so many more—but it’s a reason for this, and the reason is, the written word. It’s sexy, it’s provocative, it’s erotic, it’s nurturing, it’s a feeling, it’s a untouchable emotion that only others like me could identify with, it’s the reasons, that I just couldn’t follow the rules.
And for the first time in…ever, I’m okay with that and I’m not afraid.
I’ve spent too much time wondering how the mentioned iconic authors spent their time before writing, while writing, after righting, and never once, NEVER ONCE, had I imagined that they spent it in fear. Perhaps there was a tinge of something that every author I’m sure gets when they send a new work out into creation, or perhaps there was a tinge of something before they were published wordsmiths, but I can’t imagine for a second it was fear. And if it was, then that’s the type of scared I’d like to be. That scared led to great stories, like The Bluest Eye, Girl, Sweet Dreams, Whispered Promises, Been There, Done That, The Bell Jar, The Invisible Man, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Dust Tracks on a Road, and The Family of Little Feet. These author’s and stories have been published, sold, viewed, and reviewed by millions and yet that’s not the reason that I idolize them, or the reason that I have to be who I am, it’s because these stories have stayed with me and I haven’t been able to leave them. They mélange of authors have published many more, but these stories made me want to be in the world they created.
In The Bluest Eye, I identified. I never wanted a baby doll for the sake of having a baby doll, I wanted one because apparently that’s what I was suppose to want. I envied the protagonist for having the courage to feel what she wanted and not what she thought she was supposed to.
In Sweet Dreams, I wanted to leave my thoughts/dreams in a journal, in a cab, and have someone pick them up and want me because of them…oh yeah and I completely immersed myself into learning the Garifuna language— like the heroine, oh and planning a trip to Belize. In Whispered Promises, I wanted my knight in shining armor to be gruff and tough but tender like the Hero. Too, I love the name Dexter and I can’t shake it.
In Been There, Done That, I wanted to believe that life gave you do overs even when in the first go ‘round you got it right. Because of Mrs. Lee, I do believe that.
The Bell Jar showed me the emotional inside of a young woman coming of age, when at the time of reading this tale, I was coming of age as well. My parables don’t compare to hers, but it was refreshing to have the ability to understand. Though Ms. Plath is no longer with us, I certainly appreciated the work.
The Invisible Man, made me laugh…wait before you judge me, I meant the first chapter of the book, known as the Battle Royal made me laugh. The reason being was because I felt like an idiot for having such an audacity to be afraid when there were people of yesteryear that looked like me that faced adversity far worse than “To write or not to write,” and there I was at the time deciding what type of career I wanted.
I chose wrong then, but thanks to the like of Girl, by Jamaica Kincaid, I’ve made the turnaround. In that short story/poem, it was there that I learned to be the woman that I was going to become, anyway.
In The Short Secret Life of Francis Macomber, I laughed as well, the stupidity of Mrs. Macomber and Francis was overwhelming, but the lesson was ridiculously great. I won’t bore you with what I learned, because Hemmingway is definitely a topic for debate. There are several things that you could take away from the tale and perhaps on another post, we’ll delve into it, but for now, you can think of what you’d like to say when I present the court with MY truths.
In Ms. Hurston’s, Dust Track on a Road, I was for the first time aware that I should be proud to be colored. Black. But not downtrodden because of it. Not that I was ashamed or down before, but until that tale, I hadn’t fully embraced it, now, I’m too busy sharpening my oyster’s knife and I’m so very thankful for the idea brought to me care of this wonderful work.
And in The Family of Little Feet, I understood all too well what those high heels meant to the little women in the story and I identify all too well of just what those high heels propels us—women—to do in life. <That’ll be up for debate a little later.
So you see, these stories did something to me personally, touched something inside of me and hasn’t let go and that’s why I can’t, I can no longer allow fear to keep her herculean-like strong hold on me. I need with a vengeance that rivals the neediest to be in that number, not because of the success, not because of the fame, not because of the money, but because I have stories to tell, and I’m proud to say that I’m no longer afraid to open my mouth.
I now own the responsibility and obligation that I have to inform my little one and ones to come that it’s okay to do what you REALLY want to do.
I now have moral validity and values that life has given me, and with that, I’m able to relay to you real characters that are well aware of the human process…I hope.
Vive Sine Paenitentia
Res Ipsa Loquitur
As for the other shit:
- What the hell is going on in the world…Lena Horne is dead? Seriously, these old cats are dying left and right…RIP Mrs. Horne, I absolutely adored your work and my favorite until this very day is “Stormy Weather” listened to it with my grandmother (RIP baby doll)
My favorite quote by Mrs. Horne: “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
2. What the hell else is going on the world…Bus Driver’s letting kids duke it out in the yard of her house.
This whole earth is going to pot!
Tags: Arts, Battle Royal, Been There Done That, Belize, Dust Tracks On a Road, English Lit, Ernest Hemmingway, Failure, Fiction, Girl, Harlem Renaossance, Invisible Man, Jamaica Kincaid, Lena Horne, Oyster's Knife, Quotes, Ralph Ellison, Rochelle Alers, Romance Authors, Rosa Parks, Sandra Cisneros, Sweet Dreams, Sylvia Plath, The Bluest Eyes, The Family of Little Feet, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber, Tony Morrison, Whispered Promises, Zora Neale Hurston