Fear vs. Phobia: An Incredibly Transparent Piece

I thought this was a dope picture of Aquemeni getting 5 Mics in The Source in 1998.

As I have stated and have proven on a few Tuesdays: I am a huge OutKast fan.  This may be my third or fourth post with regards to their music and my life.  I still have one more in my head and will probably post it in a few weeks just to give the ‘Kast motif a rest (Unless I have writer’s block…Then you will can expect a musical post based around a selection from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below). 

I forgot all about this song.  In the fall of 2010, I burned a few CD’s and was driving from New York to Buffalo for the first time.  At five months pregnant, Timile was staying up there with family for a couple of weeks before traveling would become much more difficult.  I made a double-disc set of some of my favorite OutKast songs and hurried out of the door at the last minute.  I was rushing because a couple of days before that Timile told me that she felt our baby kick for the first time.  I wanted to see my lady because I missed her and was eager to feel who would later be the piece of work that is kicking me right now in her sleep.

Phobia came on as soon as I got off of the Suffolk Ave exit on the expressway that runs through Buffalo.  I was listening to Big Rube’s poem at the beginning of the song and what he said has stuck with me ever since:

Many of us mistake Phobia for true fear. Whereas fear is a gift from
God to be used for self-preservation. Phobia are obstacles strategically
placed in society by opposers of positive existence. Through
stereotyping, innuendo, false documentation, and glorification they’ll
turn your fear switch to a permanent on. We can change this by changing
the small truth within’ the lie. 

The difference between fear and being phobic is something that people often misconstrue.  Fear heightens senses and will make one act in a manner that they did not know that were able to: a fight or flight reflex, seeing a child under a car and out of nowhere being able to lift up part of the car to save them, or even working up the courage to sing your heart out when you have stage fright.  Phobia is crippling: chronomentrophobia is the fear of clocks (OutKast fans see what I did there?).

Most people do not believe me when I say that I am a shy person.  I talk very casually about anything in my life and act in a manner that is bold and even audacious.  When talking with a friend of mine earlier today they asked me if I was assertive.  I responded “Very.  Maybe even aggressive.”  I am bold because I am shy.  I don’t believe in letting my fear of people or being accepted hold me back.  Mentally, I back myself into a corner and eventually whatever I have to say, think, or do comes out.  A mini adrenaline rush if anything.  

My friend and I were talking within the context of relationships.  They just went through a breakup and I was explaining to them the difference between fear and phobias.  Some people don’t like to be alone.  They are afraid of that or there is a fear of being and feeling “unloveable” that they jump from relationship to relationship in which the same things keep happening over and over again.  Self-worth dwindles and as the patterns keep repeating themselves, the experiences they have been through often confirm their irrational fear of not feeling loved.  That becomes paralyzing and turns into a phobia.

While it is a work in progress, I am still cynical.  I think the absolute worst of people and in the context of relationships I am phobic of commitment.  Other than Timile, I can only think of one other girl I ever called a girlfriend and that hardly counted because it was for like two weeks in high school and I didn’t like the girl anyway; I was trying to be nice.  Its the reason I don’t let too many people into my inner circle, why I keep a poker face on just about all of the time, and I’m incredibly hard to read. In fact, no one person living (and I have a twin) can say that they know everything about me.  It’s that deep.  Thank God I am the father to a little girl because raising her means working on breaking down this phobia little by little.  

To ensure that I don’t get too close to people just about everyone I have dated in my adult life was in a relationship.  I have become an expert at it.  Their boyfriends (or husband) was my safety net that things wouldn’t get too serious because after a while they would go back to their significant others.  If they wanted to actually pursue our courtship even farther I wouldn’t be interested because they were the type of person that would break off a seemingly happy relationship: theoretically they could do that to me.  As bad as this may sound, my expertise came in handy when Timile and I broke up and she had another boyfriend at one time: I got rid of him and talked her into moving back to Georgia from Virginia.  

After she passed away, I went back to the only thing I knew and tried to figure and fix my internal problems along the way.  With that said, I was okay with dating people in relationships because I wasn’t ready for anything else.  These situations were a practice of some sort to see if and how much I was really ready to move on.   

At this point I’ve dated and “talked to” someone who was actually single.  Am I still phobic?  Absolutely.  I actually tried for the first time since Timile.  Whether it works/ed out many steps that I did take in actually opening up, being patient through another’s flaws, fears, and phobias, and all that comes along to me are in fact a big deal and have required taking large steps out of my comfort zone.  One day, it may be as simple as charming someone who has a boyfriend; but that isn’t the case right now.  I am in the process of turning my phobia into a healthy fear and maybe one day just an anecdote in a chapter of my life.  Understanding the difference between fears and phobias means that I can compartmentalize actions of mine into one or the other.  Recognizing a behavior that has been stifling means I can turn it into something less threatening.  When my friend earlier today asked me how am I able to actually try again I told them “It can’t end as bad as my last relationship.”

That’s how I push through it.


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