Fear + Pain


“Alive. I feel alive.” -TUM

There you are, going about your business when the unthinkable happens… you stub your freakin’ toe. Shrieking in pain you cover it with your hands and hop around. You’re deathly afraid to look at it as you can only imagine the worst. The thought of it being broken, only hanging on by a thread, keeps your gaze away from the wound. You won’t look at it. You can’t look at it. Knowing you have things to do, you ask a nearby friend to check it out. “It’s nothing, it’s just a little red” they ensure you. You get up, take a stroll, look down and give them a little wiggle. Your toe still hurts, but you feel instant relief in knowing it is only temporary.

Physically, we are usually forced to face our fears as mentioned above. We know we can’t survive the day unaware of whether our toe is hanging on by a thread. We are forced to look at it. Emotionally, of course this is often not the case. Our society preaches if your exterior appears in tact, then it can’t be that big of a deal. 

The fear of looking at ourselves keeps us stationed in horrible internal circumstances. Our egos are ridiculously good at finding methods to preserve itself and its pain. You know that neck pain no doctor can seem to fix? Well, you can most likely thank your ego for that, as it’s stored that pain, which now has become unbearable for your body. 

Instead of looking to emotional and holistic remedies for your neck pain, your doctor prescribes pain killers. Congratulations, they just gave you your first bandaid. Soon, the bandaid starts to ware. You throw on another one and feel the relief once again. As time goes on, bandaid upon bandaid you find they aren’t sticking well, as the first bandaid is starting to peel. You start crossing them, finding any available skin you can around the wound. More time passes and you notice now, not only does the wound still throb, but the bandaids themselves are creating raw areas. You start to feel the pain from the bandaids now and request bigger ones from your doctor. 

We use bandaids all the time. When one bandaid stops doing the trick we rip it off and buy a new brand. It is no coincidence that when I got sober, my cravings for chocolate and soda escalated. My ego needed a new bandaid. Of course chocolate and soda are much shittier brands than booze and drugs, giving much lighter coverage, but they still are enough to keep that fear in check.

This week, one of my bandaids was removed just as a family issue resurfaced. My past is littered with situations and actions of which would scare the britches off of any self respecting adult. But in last week’s scenario, I felt fear like I had never felt it before. With most of my bandaids removed, I felt not only the current scenario, but feelings from the past resurfaced in what I can only explain as an extreme emotional release. After this painful release wound down, I was asked “How are you feeling now?”. My response… “Alive. I feel alive.”

Tear that shit off,


p.s. As mentioned above, bandaids come in many forms. Some of which are socially acceptable in society. This does not mean they are not a crutch, keeping you in a stagnant state.

Try removing actions from your daily life as a test. Call in sick for a mental health day. Do you feel guilt? Bandaid. Don’t attend the gym one day. Do you feel like a failure? Bandaid. Put your phone down for an evening. Do you yearn for it? Bandaid.

I am in no way saying don’t go to work, exercise or keep in contact. But bringing awareness to the driving force behind such actions in itself will manifest into growth. 

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