FEAR (Less) ?


At 19 years old I wrote down this word in red ink one day and decided that that was the most noble thing any human being could ever be. Someone who wasn’t controlled by their own fear of failure, fear of doing it wrong or making a mistake. Someone who wasn’t afraid of being fully seen for who they are... they had to have the keys to this whole “life” thing we’re all trying so desperately to figure out.

So, like any rational teenager-

I decided I was going to etch this word permanently into my skin forever .

I knew in that moment, that this would be a statement to myself, a constant reminder, that no longer was I going to let fear dictate the moves I made in my life. I had emancipated myself from a tragically tumultuous home setting just 3 years prior, in which fear was always being served at our dinner table. And to be quite honest, it’s all I knew. Anxiety, worry, shame and overwhelm were all places I knew so well I made homes out of them and frequented often.

I knew that this was holding me back but I also knew that I was comfortable here. That fear + anxiety had become such close companions there was a part of me that almost felt guilty for wanting to leave them behind.

But the time had come, just as it always does, to make a choice. What exactly do you want Imán? What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of life are you setting out to create here? I ask myself these questions often, sometimes i think I know, other times it’s a little more foggy but in this moment I knew. Clear as day. I wanted to be the kind of person who operates from a place of Love, of Understanding, of Compassion and of Certainty.

What I wish I knew before this tattoo however, is that the kind of person who operates from these places is not necessarily “fearless” but instead it’s that they’re fearful and yet they choose to do it anyway . The most noble people are not those who have no fear, it’s those who feel the fear and have the courage to do it ANYWAY. 

The very trauma I had been running from my whole life was exactly what had MADE me compassionate, what MADE me kind, and understanding, it was the fertilizer to the rich soil that was going to help me grow further into the human being I had always wanted to become. The funny thing is, if I would have stopped to really look at myself that day, I would have seen that it was *because of* my fear that I was already the person I wanted so desperately to be.

Moral of the story, if you’re emotional young adult like I happen to be.. Maybe wait on the permanent ink tattoo you plan to etch into your skin forever? Things have a way of shifting and becoming clearer with time. Tattoos however, do not .

At the end of the day though, I don’t regret this tattoo. In fact, it still stands as the reminder I hoped it would when I got it, my perception of it however has shifted a bit with time.

I’m certain now, that fear is not something to be afraid of, nor is it something to let dictate each move you make in your life. Fear is simply the fuel to this vehicle we call life - and you my love, have always been the only one in the drivers seat.

Iman Lewis