Words by Ecleen Luzmila Caraballo.
It is wild, yet fitting, that the four-letter words in the emotional lexicon carry the most weight. Though short, words like “love” and “hate” can make or break our souls and the bonds we share with those who we choose to entangle with. “Fear” lives in that family of terms; it is one of, if not the, most crippling emotions, only to be surpassed by its sister term, “love.” A sister term, rather than an antonym, because, in most cases, they cohabitate in our minds and hearts—in the best of cases, fear can fuel vulnerability and allow us to foster safe spaces, while in the worst of cases, it acts as a parasite, paralyzing its host.
By definition, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the anticipation of danger. It carries the expectation of hurt and (valid) apprehensiveness to the worst possible outcome. In essence, it’s our attempt to protect ourselves—sometimes to the extreme. When it comes to love, of all kinds, but especially of the romantic type, fear has become an unwelcomed staple in the “anxious generation.” It hinders many of us from diving deep, or stepping into the waters of love at all. It’s the “Sunday scaries” on steroids—it bleeds into our Mondays and lap dances its way onto Fridays. Then, it momentarily exits the room as we enter perhaps inebriated-friendly spaces on Saturdays, remains kindly dormant as we cuddle on Sunday mornings, only to make itself very known when folks decide to ghost their once (albeit momentarily) relished lovers by the following day.
It’s perhaps silly (and unwise) to think we’ll be completely void of fear when jumping into relationships that allow for hurt (aka all of them). But it’s important to remember that, in doing so, we make room for more hefty feels and words like bliss, comfort, vulnerability (which I’ll choose to maintain a positive here), sweetness, joy and—you guessed it: love.
Love is by far the greatest gift. At its best, love is spiritual and magical; the all-around most significant, shared purpose for all who inhabit this planet; a wild, natural impetus to be consumed by in this lifetime. So, why is it that fear often steers the vast and varied boat of our emotions?
This month at ILY we will explore the different fears attached to love—from the fear of loss, which often leads to limerence (also known as the obsession with another person) to the fear of “falling,” and why we call it so. We’re going to learn to name and face our fears in order to overcome them; join us as we do so.