"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
-- Frank Herbert, Dune

Bran thought about it. 'Can a man still be brave if he's afraid?'
'That is the only time a man can be brave,' his father told him.
--George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire)

"There were they in great fear, where no fear was..."
-- Psalm 53 vs 5

โ€œWe are all afraid of something---โ€, a friend of mine said to me once, โ€œsome people are scared of spiders, some others a roach or something but Iโ€™m talking about something more than that. I wish I could tell you how I feel but I canโ€™t. I canโ€™t explain it but I am terrified.โ€

I watched her speak all the while until she eventually fell silent. I wanted to say something to her, something motivating---to alleviate her suffering, but I didnโ€™t know what to say. So, I said the only thing I could think of, the one thing that has been on my mind all this time. I said to her, โ€œDonโ€™t be afraid---โ€

But she cut me off; turning to me she yelled her next words, โ€œYou donโ€™t tell a terrified person not to be afraid; you might as well tell a monkey not to climb trees--- it is the only thing we can do: be afraid. Donโ€™t tell me not to be scared.โ€ By this time she already had tears in her eyes, and I could feel her anguish welling up in her throat, and I think for once I knew what fear looked like. And by this time I was entirely out of ideas.

So, for the rest of the time I ever saw her, I saw someone who suffers---I saw my friend suffer and I could do nothing about it.

Sometimes I think that perhaps if I had told her distress to someone more emotionally capable than I was she wouldnโ€™t have ended up the way she did. But by the reason of her fears, I couldnโ€™t do so without creating chaos in the tragedy that was her life and also I had promised her that I wouldnโ€™t disclose a thing to anybody.

Nevertheless, I do not write this so you could judge how stupid I was or how impossible a situation it was, but to fulfill the tiniest bit of the large dream she had in this world: to make people less terrified. I remember her saying to me once, โ€œIf I ever escape this, I would ensure that no one has to go through it again. It is a terrible thing to wish on any person.โ€

For quite some time after what was a tragic revelation, I have always wondered: what do you say to someone who is terrified? I have read and heard people talk about fear. Most of which were beautiful and inspiring, but quite recently I read something about fear which was written by a girl of eighteen and I finally realise what I should have said to her that day.


"โ€ฆbut life has a way of breaking the mind, doesnโ€™t it? A way to shatter your determination; wring you of every will. Till there is nothing left but blood and tears. I know. You have every right to be afraid; every reason to fear.

My only hope is that one day you will be so far driven by fear, and on that day I hope silence becomes too loud and that running seems like walking. I hope your breath stales, that your sweat becomes as blood and living seems like dying. I hope the voices in your head consume you, that reality becomes your daydream, and that the night escapes you. And on that day, I also hope you determine to end it all; to have that death look in your eyes, and I hope in that feat of fear you discover the most uncommon courage:

I hope you stop and turn back, then I hope you realise the craziest thing: you have been running from a shadow."

I am terrified too. But donโ€™t tell me not to be afraid rather tell me that I have every right to be, however, reminding me of what hope there may yet be in living.

~ For Aurora.
The only reason I ever want to go back in time.

The only reason why I believe that broken
doesnโ€™t necessarily mean broke.

I hope you escaped all your sufferings.

To Aurora.