“Fear is the path to the dark side…fear leads to anger…anger leads to hate…hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda, The Phantom Menace
Every day, I live in fear. Not of ISIS or North Korea. Not of driving or walking around Baltimore. Not of Donald Trump, his policies that plan to reverse any progress the country has made or his openly racist views and supporters. Not even of a police officer pulling me over…ok, that’s a stretch.
But, I digress.
I live in fear of failure. Failure to fulfill my potential, to live my best life, to find my calling in life, to be successful and happy, to find love. It’s the paralyzing fear of the future not being reflective of the carefully laid out plan that I have for my life. This fear combines with the overall hopelessness that I feel many of young black people, particularly men, feel.
We see people that look like us getting gunned down in the street or in church choked out on camera, killed for wearing a hoodie or blasting our music too loud while the murderers face no charges or jail time. This burgeoning frustration and the caged, oppressive environment some of us live in breeds violence, chaos and a myriad of mental disorders that we try to avoid by overindulging in sex, drugs and alcohol. This excess is killing us, exactly as it is designed to. The issue is systemic and it all falls back on fear.
The fear that we as a people will not only simply beat the system but dismantle it, destroy the racist fabric covering America’s horrendous, naked truths and create a country truly for everyone. The fear that we can come together rather than live in isolation and that we will make the current ruling power a defunct minority.
As I examine how to conquer the fear that we as a people have, I know I have to conquer the fear within myself. I’ve battled with depression for ten years and every moment I’m awake, the darker recesses of my mind eat away at me, telling me that I’m going to fail and that I’m never going to be truly happy. I battle with the urge to literally give up and stop trying to live all of the time. I try to keep my balance and mental footing to avoid being pushed over the edge. In this battle, I leave fear behind and grasp on to the hope that better days are coming and that I won’t always feel in despair and lost.
It’s the hope that DC can actually be as good as Marvel but still different and that Game of Thrones season 8 won’t disappoint me.
I live every day looking forward to something small to keep me going and while it isn’t my ideal existence, I persist with the belief that trouble doesn’t last always and there are things worth living for. That I’m worth living for.