Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Fear (Photo: Ian, Willy, and Hayato)

I found out Ian’s biggest fear yesterday, which, in a way, was hard for me to comprehend why it was so scary… but I guess we all have something that keeps us up at night no matter how unreasonable or stupid it looks to other people.

Last night Ian broke his tooth biting down on an ice cream bar, which caused him to freak out all evening… Originally I assumed it was his fucked-up tooth that he was so worried about, but actually it was because of the dentist, which I didn’t know until yesterday that he had been avoiding for 8 years straight. Apparently he had many bad experiences when he was young and was left permanently traumatized. He confessed to me later that he would rather get raped than go to the dentist… I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious, which finally helped me visualize how scared he really was.

For me, my biggest fear before was doing the same shitty job forever and living my second half of life as a financial loser while everyone else around me developed naturally and had nice careers… Two months back I finally did quit doing that kind of job. Now I am still a financial loser, but at least I am a bit more spiritually fulfilled... My other fears are heights and enclosed spaces, which never bothered me before until I almost drowned in Pokhara Lake with my ex-girlfriend Madi when we were in Nepal. What happened was that while we were in the middle of the lake on a boat, I went out for a swim. I didn’t realize it then, but while I was swimming away, the wind was also pushing the boat in the other direction. When I finally realized how far apart we were, I tried swimming back, but every time I would look up, the boat seemed to be the same distance apart because of the wind… Finally I panicked and my body tensed up making it harder to swim as well as to breathe… and then there was a moment… because the boat was far away and Madi didn’t know how to row at all… I thought that was it… I was going to die... die in the middle of a vast body of water (which is I guess is similar to heights and enclosed spaces) in a strange foreign country… Luckily there was another couple behind me, whom could actually row, so they came quickly and rescued me. Unfortunately when I pulled myself up onto their boat, I was buck naked and shivering, which was embarrassing, but the fact that I was alive helped me get over it.

The fear came back to me last summer though while I was staying with my friends at their beach house. One day we went swimming and ended up quite far from shore. We decided to swim back and I was already getting a bit tired with still a long way to go… and then suddenly it came back to me- my experience in Nepal- and automatically my body tensed up again… I asked my friend, who was swimming next to me if he could help… I tried putting my hand on his shoulder, but since he wasn’t that great of a swimmer either, it didn’t really work, so he told me to keep on going… The ocean was full of gyarus (the Japanese equivalent to American white trash) and their boyfriends on inner tubes and floaties, so I said, “Fuck it,” in my mind and swam over to a couple and asked if I could rest for awhile holding onto their floaty with them. My friend Shawn, who was treading next to me, tried something, and then began to laugh… He told me to put my feet down, which I then did, and felt the ocean floor below. The water came up to my chest. Again I was embarrassed, maybe even more so than being naked in Nepal. While we swam back, Shawn kept laughing while saying he couldn’t believe I went over there and asked complete strangers to share their floaty. He said he would rather have died.

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