The Conquest of It

I really don’t like talking about fear.

Oh, little fears, sure. I detest rollercoasters because I’m sure they’re going to break and kill me, I’ve been known to dive under picnic tables to get away from wasps which are clearly dark minions sent forth from the bowels of hell, and my horror of open water has been reinforced for decades by nightmares and augmented by that time my baby sister almost drowned in a river right in front of me. Those fears are nothing. I’ll cheerfully share stories about those with a self-deprecating chuckle and a twinkle in my eye.

Those fears can’t actually hurt me. Those fears, I can laugh off.

But real fears? The ones that keep me staring at the ceiling at night? No, thank you.

That might seem a little odd, considering I’m someone who otherwise wears pretty much every emotion she has out on her sleeve. I have a highly expressive face and almost no ability to keep my thoughts off of it.

Fear, though. Fear isn’t something to display. Fear is something to be beaten down.

My favorite characters in fiction are often those who stare terror in the eye and walk calmly towards it. Daenerys Targaryen walking into the flames. Ysandre de la Courcel riding towards the City of Elua through the ranks of the Unforgiven. Princess Leia defying Tarkin when he’s pointing a planet-killing weapon at her homeworld.

No matter how much you’re trembling inside, lift your chin, keep the facade uncracked, and never let them see you bleed.

That, I can admire and aspire to.

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Cass Morris lives and works in central Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She completed her Master of Letters at Mary Baldwin University in 2010, and she earned her undergraduate degree, a BA in English with a minor in history, from the College of William and Mary in 2007. She reads voraciously, wears corsets voluntarily, and will beat you at MarioKart.

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