“So why choose fear?”

A few days ago, I saw a customer wearing a shirt at work that said, “No other road, no other way, no day but today.” Everyone who has ever seen Rent will recognize that quote from the AIDS meeting. The people begin the meeting by singing their common anthem.

When Johnathan Larson shared this song, some of his friends complained that the song was too positive. There is a line that says, “Forget regret.” They pointed out that there was a tremendous amount of regret, especially in the early 90’s before the introduction of the triple cocktail. Johnathan Larson accommodated their view by including a dialogue between one of the members of the group and the leader.

In the dialogue, the young man says, “My T-Cell count is low. I regret that, ok?” The leader asks him, “How do you feel today?” The young man says, “Best I’ve felt all year,” to which the leader asks, “So why choose fear?” The young man answers him by saying, “I’m a New Yorker, fear’s my life.”

It’s a funny joke, and reminds me of an even better one. Why are New Yorkers so pessimistic? Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

As funny as it is, I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’m scheduled to start a full time job in early September, and yet I am still scared. I’m scared of the other shoe dropping. I’m scared they’ll withdraw the job offer. I’m scared I’ll get laid off again. I’m scared of many different things.

When I went to my two year follow up last December, my endocrine surgeon said something that terrified me. “Here’s the thing. Your cancer is never coming back.” My first thought was, “Don’t say that!”

It makes me sad because I wish I could choose hope and not fear. And yet the reality is, I seem completely unable to do that. Fear’s my life.

Still, I know that, once the job starts, I’ll feel much better. It’s just difficult now. I feel like the line from Coldplay’s Every Teardrop is a Waterfall. “Maybe I’m in the gap between the two trapeze.”

I love the idea of being in the gap between the two trapeze. It’s so perilous, and yet thrilling, and full of hope. There is hope that the other trapeze is right there, waiting for you to grab onto it.

aliya mustafina

Ok, not a trapeze, but I couldn’t help it. Of course, with Musty, you know she’s going to catch the bar. I just hope I do the same.

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