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The F Word

Event after event
Opportunities after another
And so the story went
From one decision to another

I wish the knocking would stop
Every time I get up
I wish the confidence remained
Then I would be willing to try again

But I find the curious case
Of when I set about a new endeavor
The knocking gets louder
Once I move outside the known perimeter

Then my temperature rises
As I leave my comfort zone
It’s so uncomfortable
I’d much rather be left alone

The application lay before me
I entered the first few fields
But then began to calculate
The odds and the yield
I heard my other colleagues say
The application was competitive
Those planning to apply
Seemed better qualified
So I quickly clicked the ‘x’
I’d rather stay where I was
After all I knew the day to day
And was trained to a fault
I heard the familiar knock at that door
And stopped moving so it would stay shut

They called for previously unpublished work
I excitedly opened up a Word page
But then the task seemed too daunting
To put the actual words on the page
What if I was rejected?
What if I was not chosen?
What if the faceless judges scoffed?
What if they thought I was joking?
I would continue to write in my journal
And let the pages caress my thoughts
Not all writers write great novels
Not all work is to be bought
I would rather play it safe
And stay where I was
I heard the familiar knock at that door
And stopped moving so it would stay shut

I desperately wanted to live there
I’d even received a job offer
But I would need an intermediary French certificate
I definitely needed a strong refresher
I went to the language center
And took a course for about a month
But complexity increased to moderate
And I worried if my brain would cooperate
So I quit while I was ahead
Saving myself the embarrassment
Of falling on my face
I would rather play it safe
I heard the familiar knock at that door
And stopped moving so it would stay shut

He finally asked me on a date
I really wanted to go
After all he was the one person
I’d always wanted to get to know
But what if things did not work out?
What if he broke my heart?
What if we ventured into deep conversation
And he thought I wasn’t smart?
What if I revealed my depth to him
And he came up to be quite shallow?
What if he rejected me?
The hurt would be too much to swallow
Or what if I found out
He wasn’t even what I wanted?
The what ifs grew
I felt rather haunted
I decided I would just say no
I wasn’t going to go
I heard the familiar knock at that door
And stopped moving so it would stay shut



I sat alone with my thoughts

I had not moved an inch

I was getting uncomfortable in my zone

Tired of the same old things

I started to fidget and fuss

And of course then came the knock



Knock Knock

“Who is there?!” I screamed
I couldn’t hear a thing
But I wagered a guess
It sounded like that same familiar knocking

“Fear? Fear? Is that you?”
I got no response.
“Fear, Fear, what can I do for you?”
Again. Nothing.

Finally I got fed up
And jumped up to address the knock
Straight to the door I went
Shoving the key in the lock

I yanked the door wide open
And was flabbergasted at what I did find
Two things stuck out to me
I couldn’t believe my eyes

First there was no one there!
I was expecting to see Fear
Standing his ground
Ready to blow my house down

I was finally ready for the showdown
But there was no one around
The second thing I saw
Which was far more profound

Was what lay before me
When my eyes rose from the ground
Everything had changed
I was the only one still the same

As the light streamed in I realized
I was living in a prison



Leaps of faith had grown to skyscrapers
But I still lived on the ground floor



Opportunities taken had led to big breaks
But all I encountered were closed doors



Wings were flapping everywhere
While I lived in a cocoon



Perspectives had changed
From those with the pleasure of an aerial view
Those who had risen above their past circumstances
Had much to assess and review



I had played it too safe
Turns out the joke was on me
Fear had rendered me paralyzed
And now my dreams had atrophied



Fear was never really knocking
No one was threatening to come in
It was simply an increased heart rate
That comes with not knowing –
How things would go
Or whether one would be successful
But until one actually tries
Life will be painfully uneventful



So I’m taking my door of the hinges
I’m ready for everything
Let all the light stream in!
Comfort zone where? Let the adventures begin!



Zeni St. John

  • Habib Habib

    Goodbye fear! Hello victory

    November 28, 2016 at 6:44 pm Reply
  • Testimony

    [The application still lies before me
    I have entered the first few fields
    But I am calculating The odds and the yield

    The fact is the application is competitive
    Those planning to apply and those who have applied in the past are better qualified

    I’d rather stay where I am….for now!]

    It’s fear that all the miracles of 2016 didn’t help me overcome….the fear of GRE/GMAT, the fear of requesting for recommendations AGAIN, the fear of not knowing how to write a convincing personal statement and clear research plan, the fear of not affording the application fee, the fear of the possibility of that email saying I didn’t make it because my application wasn’t very strong……..

    Fear is real! And rising above it is a choice I wish was easy to make

    November 28, 2016 at 8:54 pm Reply
  • SR St John

    So well written!
    Fear, is the bogey ‘man’ that’s never out there because it’s postcode is so very near, within the spaces of our ears where doubts are all we speak and hear.
    IF only we would understand that freedom and success, doing, being and becoming are all an inside job. You work your way outward from within.

    November 28, 2016 at 9:22 pm Reply
  • Captain Zaz

    I completely and utterly LOVE this piece. Thank you Zeni for constantly writting pieces that continuously inspire and motivate me!

    November 29, 2016 at 6:55 am Reply
  • Sekyen

    This used to me, i couldnt do anything without the what if’s . Thank God for his grace and holyspirit.. for God has not given us the spirit of fear but that of love, power and sound mind…

    November 29, 2016 at 8:37 am Reply

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