The Opposite of Fear

I am afraid of things: afraid the spider behind the refrigerator is poisonous, afraid a mole on my back where I can’t see it will be the death of me, afraid of being misunderstood or being understood too well. To balance this out, I try to surround myself with people who are unafraid, as if some of their fearlessness will flow into me through osmosis. So far, it does not appear to be working.

Julianna is the most fearless woman I know. She walks alone at night in the tenderloin. She drinks straight from the milk carton without checking the expiration date. She doesn’t go to the doctor at the first sign of a cough or 102 degree fever. She writes about sex and men and women and her vocabulary is frighteningly vast and impressive. She shoots nude self-portraits and posts them online as well as off. She makes outrageous wagers and pays her debts when she loses. She can drink Charles Bukowski under the table.

I am a little bit in love with her.

I am afraid that she knows this.

If she does, of course she’s not afraid of it.

Being afraid is my job, after all.


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