The one about playing with fire.

What’s up, party people? In today’s installment of “Look At This Motherfucker, Thinking He’s All Wise And Shit”, I’d like to talk about fear.

Now before you get your knickers in a twist, I’m very much aware of my stance on fear. I’m self-admittedly the biggest chicken-shit scaredy-cat I know. If you look back on this very blog I’m sure you’ll find a good half-dozen posts about my fears. Given that, you might be inclined to think that I have no place discussing the topic. However, It’s been said that in order to be an expert at something you should have done it for over 10,000 hours. I can guarantee you that I’ve been a-scared for far much more than that; so as you can see, I’m an expert in fear. So, shut up and listen.

When we were young, I’m sure each and every one of us was told not to touch something because it was hot and would burn us. I’m also sure that each and every one of us has been burned despite that warning. Being young is about being curious. We don’t just let the grown-ups define the world for us, we ask for their input, but we are almost dedicated to exploring it for ourselves. We played in the street, we jumped from heights that we probably shouldn’t have, we yanked on the dog’s tail. Fear was incentive, because back then it wasn’t known as fear.

Somewhere along the way, we grow up. The moments in our life where fear led to something unpleasant, although almost surely outnumbered by just the opposite, have made it so that we actively avoid feeling fear and uncertainty. It works for us as long as we’re just trying to blend in, and most of us are.

Here’s the thing though. Sometimes we get so determined to avoid the fear, that we blindly accept warnings without any proof of anything to fear. “Don’t use your cellphone on a plane, we’ll all die.” Really? Says who? Have you ever seen a news headline, “Fiery blaze kills hundreds in plane downed by cellphone use!” No. It’s just a warning someone made up, just in case.

So now, this new guy moves into town and starts popping up more and more. You ask a buddy, “hey, what’s his deal?” and they don’t know. They’ve heard this, that, or the other.. “Word is he’s a douchebag and eats puppies,” so now you put this guy, whom you really know nothing about, in the blacklist. Empty Fear.

My name is Rich, but I don’t like that name. I’ve been Skid Vis since way before I came to Nebraska. I’m Skid Vis, my brother’s name is Gizmo, although it’s really Gabriel. My best friends were Xen (Edgardo), Vexx (Danny), Pete (Miguel), and BB (Juan). That’s just how it worked. You, or your friends, decided what you should be called. It’s not some ploy, some act, or some secret I’m trying to preserve. I cringe when I hear my real name, it’s just not me.

As for my anti-social behavior? I’m an introvert. Surprise! I was physically abused by my dad, mentally abused by my mother, sexually abused by trusted family members, and then thrown into the streets where I had to cross chalk-marks to get to school. I’ve been bred to not trust people. Leaving the comfort of my home to hang out with people I don’t know, people who I have no reason to expect will have my back in a dangerous situation, that’s not my definition of fun. It scares the living shit out of me. But I’m doing it.

I go whitewater kayaking even though I can’t swim. I’ve piloted a plane, and I’ve jumped out of one all by my lonesome. I ride a motorcycle, even after wrecking on the highway and almost becoming roadkill. I went to BigOmaha, even though I felt as if absolutely everyone there was staring at me the whole time. I ended an abusive unhealthy relationship knowing full well I’d be branded the villain and lied about. I started CoVis CoWorking even though I’d have to be insane to start a business reliant on being a part of a social community and exposing myself and all my flaws to strangers.

I face my fears. One at a time, and step by step. I’m no better than you, I hate myself most days and dislike myself the others. I’m opinionated, blatantly honest, egotistical, and determined to get my way. But I’m also considerate, kind, and compassionate. I try to make people happy and I care too much about the well-being and opinions of others.

I’ve been labeled a “40 year-old child with a violent streak.” That’s not far from the truth. Like a child, I don’t take life too serious. I still explore. I still challenge myself regardless of the high potential for failure. As for my violent streak? I challenge anyone to prove I’ve laid a hand on them. I talk tough, but my strongest belief is that no living creature should ever suffer. That includes dickheads, assholes, and anyone who stands in my way. I talk tough, it’s how I vent, and I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, but I won’t hurt a soul unless I absolutely have to.

What about you? Are you a grown-up? A child? Perhaps you’re still a teenager, caught in the middle and living like you’re still in high school. Are you scared for no reason? Do you believe there’s a monster in your closet?