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"Fears of Your Life"

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6 February 2006

I read an extraordinary little book last night.  I reviewed it on my critic blog (yeah...I's hard to keep them all straight, isn't it!).

But this book is called "Fears of your Life," by Michael Bernard Loggins and it is the book on which an upcoming stage piece is to be based, and that stage piece is the focus of the next feature article that I'm writing.

126932_96b6be0df0_m.jpg (11146 bytes)Michael Bernard Loggins is a developmentally disabled man whom Kim Epifano, the woman who has developed this stage piece (can't call it a "dance" or a "play" or a "display" because it has elements of all of these things and more), discovered the book when she was visiting Creativity Explored, a workshop in San Francisco for developmentally disabled people, which I hope to visit on Monday, in preparation for writing this article.

What Loggins has done is to take all of his own fears and write them down, he says, "to let others who may be afraid of things know that they "don't have to feel lessened, like they're the only person with that experience."

Some of his fears are common to many of us at various ages in our life--fear of monsters under the bed, fear of the dentist, fear of bees, fear of elevators, fear of pirates, fear of planes.  He also says there are "Los Angeles fears and Oakland Fears and San Francisco fears."  I've been in all 3 places, and he's right!

There are fears which are more specific to Michael himself.  "What people think of when they see me coming up the street? What the first thing they can think of once they see a stranger like me coming in the direction I goes in? Nothing but fear!"

It got me to thinking what I would record if I were to sit down and write out some of my fears.

  • A mother's biggest fear is of something happening to her child.  "Something" has happened to two of my children and I am always fearful of yet another late night phone call.  I try to push those thoughts to the back of my head, but they are always there when I know someone is flying...or driving...or walking...or just sitting somewhere.

  • I don't know that I will ever again get over fear of riding in a car on the freeway.  I wish I knew how I got so fearful and what I can do (other than sleeping or reading) to get past it, but it seems to be a fear that has settled in to stay.

  • I am afraid of getting on a bike again.   Or, more precisely, falling off a bike again, even if I were able to get on one.  (It's like people who have a fear of flying.  I suspect they don't really fear FLYING as much as they fear LANDING!)

  • I am afraid of being paralyzed.  I've had that fear since I was 10 years old and first heard about polio.  I would lie in bed and break out in a cold sweat and run in to my mother crying that I was afraid I was going to get polio.  Now that I'm of an age where people are affected by strokes and other horrible things, I think about that a lot.  I try to imagine how I would cope if I couldn't move.

  • And yes, I am one of those people who is afraid of clowns.  Terrified of them when I was young, now just not comfortable around someone in clown make-up, though when she is out of make up and sitting in front of me slurping up escargot, a clown isn't so bad.

  • Fear of being noticed.  Please don't single me out.  Let me fade into the background.

  • Fear of being discovered--that I'm not who people think I am

  • Fear of accidentally biting into a bit of beet in my salad.

  • Fear of what will happen to the world if something happens to Oprah.

  • Fear of 3 more years of George Bush

  • Fear that Jeb Bush will decide to run for president

  • Fear that I'll run out of things to say in this journal (some of my readers may fear that I won't run out of things to say in this journal!!)

  • Fear of public speaking ("public" being defined as any group larger than 5)

  • Fear of contracting Alzheimers...or losing my brain function.

  • Fear that this country will never recover from what has been done to it in the past 5 years.

I'm just getting warmed up.  Michael Loggins eventually came up with something like 185 different fears, and I'm not going to go that far.  Obviously it's a scary place out there and it's nice that we have someone who can acknowledge that and give us permission to explore our own fears.

Top 10 signs you're a Christian.   While this list is funny, it also gives a LOT of food for thought.  I hope people, especially Christians, will read it in that spirit.


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What?  Me Worry?
Photo by Claire Amy Atkins


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