#WriteWithMe reflection: Week 4

This week was very full of all the feelings. Recalling fear and comfort, and ups and downs, and bringing my dreams back into focus can be intense and also uncomfortable for me. This week the one prompt that still is sitting with me is “When you reflect on your life, what are the fears that keep you from making changes or pursuing dreams or interests?”

Over the course of my life, fear has played a significant place in keeping me alive and also keeping me from living. The truth is that fear has a place, it has a purpose. It just isn’t supposed to be the driving force of a life, someone living in the kind of fear that I have experienced isn’t actually living at all.

I have thought about this often over the last few years. How fear can keep you alive, and can also be something that keeps you from living.

Today is Trans Day of Remembrance. A day to honor the memory of transgender people whose lives are taken from us due to hatred of and violence towards transgender human beings. Over the last few years the tension of fear and hatred towards transgender people has increased, in this past year we saw so many folks use their fears to try and make others live in fear. So many whose hatred, based in their fear, made them feel as though the lives of trans people specifically but also the entire LGBTQIA2S+ community were or are inferior to theirs. To the point that various forms of exclusion and rejection seem the right path, as though squashing trans people and other members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community would help them fear less. And that ending the lives, figuratively and literally, of any member of the LGBTQIA2S+ community is almost celebrated. An astronomical amount of money, energy, time, and resources have been poured into anti-LGBTQIA2S+ legislation and other efforts over the past few years. The human beings who have been hurt and taken from us because of the hatred that comes from fear, the human beings who are actively being hurt because of fear…. continues to climb tragically and needlessly.

I am reflecting in this space today, my heart is heavy. At least 5 souls taken from us and more whose lives are forever changed. Last night while they were enjoying their lives in a space that should have been safe for them. In one of the few spaces, they should have been able to feel safe to be themselves.

Days like Trans Day of Remembrance shouldn’t have to exist. It does, because fear became hatred and hatred lead to darkness.  

It takes courage to live as your full self. It takes enormous courage and bravery to live as your full self when the world around you are invested in not allowing you to live at all. And so many LGBTQIA2S+ live as their full selves despite damn good reasons to live in fear. Beautiful humans who deserve to live, and live fully, who deserve to enjoy life, to celebrate and revel. Every single one deserves to live, thrive, be safe in their homes and communities, to be boring, to be magical. To live.

Fear plays a part. Fear does not need to become hatred. Fear does not have to be projected onto others. Fear does not have to be used to drive others into fear.  

What are the fears that have kept you from living? What are the fears you have used to keep others from living?