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  • Thomas

F e a r

Fear is something we need to talk about more, especially in the light of the productive tool it can be. This photo was taken during the most fearful day of my year. Like most internal battles, I’m not entirely sure what had me so spooked about moving my home from Winchester to York, but it served me up for far too long.

I’ve found that I struggle to communicate this feeling, a common trend amongst those closest to me, and perhaps I wouldn’t be all too wrong in suggesting that fear is a tough one to communicate amongst most of us.

As with all ingredients when cooking up something scary to serve, I had spent months obsessing over our decision. Working strategically to conjure up the possible scenarios, constantly injecting an overflowing measure of doubt and an unhealthy confidence in my sudden ability to predict the future and our fortunes.

Months of this led to a day like most. I put on my denial hat and got about my day. Imposter syndrome at an all-time high, my pen ran out and the work ground to a halt. Shoes laced up, coat on my back, I broke out of the house and followed my feet on a path I had never been on. Chalk downs dancing in the wind, rippling over their gentle rolls, I walked in the direction of the nearest open space. No agenda and at the peak of toxicity. Spring was still subdued and the world was at work, whilst light rain drizzle coated leaves. My boots twisted in deeply farrowed fields and the occasional crow followed my tracks whilst digging for it’s lunch - the sinking feeling that it would be eating better than me today.

But air and stride slowly cleared my fog, and amongst a copse I noticed a roof. It’s affirming following your feet. A lonely, thousand year old chapel leaned it’s ancient lean, and I pushed open a splintered, iron studded door, it’s rough grooves strangely warm on my skin.

Muddy boots echoed on stone floor, and dust floated gently onto empty benches. It smelt as old as it looked, and I felt instantly at home in it's empty, but welcoming walls. The first time a building had felt like company for a long while. Places this old hold an ancient echo, and the ghosts of previous visitors made for company. Plus a few dead people buried beneath the floor in a four hundred year slumber. The hard bench made for little comfort, but I rested easy with a clearer mind than I had been equipped with for months.

Time ticked, and I sat there, with my fear, for almost an hour, in complete silence.

It’s this process of acknowledging your fear, of sitting down with it, that opens up its productive prowess. I digested it’s haunts, I walked hand in hand with it, and let it lead me. To York. Instincts are always right, but fear can paralyse you, until you look it in the face. Many of it’s physical features are the same as excitement, and through that lens I decided to do the scariest thing I could think of at that time - leave what I knew, in favour of exciting new trails, in a part of England that I had always wanted to explore.

Back inside the chapel, standing up to venture onward, and the first glimpse of sun I had seen all day cascaded through the glass. I closed the splintered old door, along with the doubt I had entertained for the better part of six months, and stepped forward...

This photo reminds me to say hello to fears, to embrace them not for the cold they bring, but for the doors they open. However impossible that might feel.

Here’s to the next adventure! T x


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