Self Expression Magazine

Fear Or Hope

Posted on the 29 December 2018 by Littleredbek

I was watching Black Klansman with my brother and husband last night when I was brought back to a quote which I first heard this time last year.

In my uni class simply titled “Leadership” one of the flamboyantly vivacious women who I study with, shared a quote that had followed her around for a number of years.  It was based on a Reiki teaching her mother had shared with her.  Although she was cynical and very much in doubt of the efficacy of this belief system, she found herself repeatedly thinking of her mothers words.  They were along the lines of, “Everyone chooses to live each day, to make each choice, either with fear or love as the motivator.  It’s up to you to recognize why you are doing what you are, and which you choose to motivate your actions and thoughts.”

I remember when she shared it with the class, I actually rolled my eyes and didn’t give it much thought at all.  Until I had to hand in my last assignment, part of which included a reflection of growth and changes that had occurred within the class – that quote was the one thing I remembered clearer than anything else.

Since then I have found myself really considering it not only in the context of my own choices but also of others.  Last night it became obvious to me, that perhaps ‘love’ is not the other side of the equation, but rather ‘hope’.  What ‘The Black Klansman’ did extremely well was show the similarities between the blind fear that motivated the white supremacists and the fear that existed in the African American community.  The White Supremacists had this fear that their way of life was being jeopardised, which is a narrative all too common in modern times.  Meanwhile, the African American community had an innate fear for the safety and wellbeing.  Both of these groups failed to consider each other, and instead of perhaps fleshing out their insecurities and fears, decided to make decisions and life altering choices based on them.

The lead character, Ron Stallworth, who really tried to make a difference by hoping for a better future, without discrimination or death.  He was bullied by his own ‘people’ both within the predominantly white masculine police force but also within the African American community.   Mainly, because he didn’t buy into the fear mongering tactics that seemed to override both narratives.  Instead, he made his choices and decisions based on a hope that the community, and even world, could be a better place.

By the end of the movie, a montage of white supremacy marches along with Black Lives Matter, really show that not much has really changed – fear is still motivating humans to find more differences that separate us, rather than commonalities or hopes for a better future.   Throughout history, this is a repeating narrative that doesn’t seem to go away.  Why?

Well, the one thing that motivates the masses more than anything else is fear, it’s a given survival instinct, that humans will do whatever it takes to eliminate anything which may jeopardise our way of life, or plainly our lives.  Fear is usually easier to utilise because we’re programmed to be constantly on the alert as an animalistic instinct.  What doesn’t come naturally and is much harder to have faith in, is hope.  No one ever considers a hopeful outcome or future, without a preceding feeling of fear or rejection.  Consider for a moment, the last time you thought of something positive, for the future, without immediately considering the negative alternative?

Personally I have lived my life in a perpetual state of fear, leaning from one addiction to another, not because of ‘hope’ or ‘love’ as a motivator, but because I had an innate fear that who I was as an individual was not good enough for anyone around me.  Facebook reminded me this morning, that this time 7 years ago, I was filling up a coffee cup (which had an Irish latte in prior – i.e kahlua) with champagne, as I had one last day at my job in Brisbane.

Tomorrow, I’m celebrating New Years Eve with my husband, completely sober, following my first Christmas since I was 16 being sober.  But even on this reflection, I realize coming clean about why I don’t drink anymore, has led me to tell my story motivated by fear.  I exaggerate how much I was drinking or blatantly lie about being a textbook alcoholic, because I am worried my choice to give up alcohol won’t make sense, or isn’t justified unless I had hit rock bottom.

The truth is, you don’t need to be at the end of extremes to justify your choices or decisions to anyone.  But lying to myself, to others, about what was motivating me to stop drinking, was not healthy or beneficial.  So instead, moving into 2019, I don’t want to resolve anything grandiose but rather that I will become more in tune with my choices and decisions on a regular basis.

I will actively try to consider if I am motivated by fear or love.

At least, I hope so.

x B

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