“The Fear” is a concept I first encountered in skateboarding. It is what keeps people from doing stupid things. Like skateboarding. You have to overcome it in order to do even the most basic things on a skateboard. My skate friends will talk about it in hushed tones. Making sure you try a trick again after a big fall, just so that you don’t develop The Fear. Because it isn’t failing that hurts you, it is The Fear. Doubting yourself when you should be boldly pushing.
A perfect example of this is dropping in. It is a move where you stand at the edge of a ramp, board clicked out on edge, tail of the board under your back foot. You then step out onto the front of the board and lean forward. Mechanically easy. Physically easy. Mentally/emotionally hard as hell. You have to just trust that you are going to make it through a 4-6 foot fall. And if you don’t do that, you basically can’t skate bowls or ramps.
The Fear is over come through patience and practice, or just taking a deep breath and pushing past it. Realizing that it is just a sensation and worse than the actual consequences of what ever it is you are afraid of.
The Fear is what stopped my boxing training. There was a span of time where we were sparring all the time. At the gym I went to, sparring was the real deal. It was a fight from the moment you got in the ring. I was getting hit in the head a lot and couldn’t control flinching. That meant if my opponent landed a few head shots on me, I would start flinching and then it was open season. I could take the hits. I was a decent boxer. But once The Fear settled in about the flinching I never did get past it.
I’m walking up to The Liberty recently and two guys are standing on the sidewalk out front. One of them, pulls off his hoodie, and drunkly exclaims “I want to box someone.” He turns toward me and I pull back into my boxing stance.
He charges and I very clearly and calmly say “I really don’t want to do this.” He gets up to me, throws his arms wide and hugs me.
He goes on to explain that he was just drunk and rowdy and thought he wanted to fight someone. I just tell him that it was fine and he didn’t need to do that and head toward the door. His friend thanks me profusely for not clobbering him and I head in for a drink.
This blog is about my life. I know every blog sort of is, but the sole content of this is to make notes about the life I lead and post anecdotes about my experience.
I’ve spent years behind desks working in the tech industry and testing and making video games. I’m between jobs right now, and honestly, this is when I’m happiest. I am much better with money when I don’t have any. I enjoy the fruits of having a flexible life. It gives me the opportunity to say yes to what ever may come up.
In previous bouts of “under-employment” I’ve traveled the country, driven giant neon signs cross country, worked in bars, visited Burning Man, taken up photography, skating, boxing, zazen, stunt work and spent a lot of time bumming around the town.
I’m a friendly guy, gregarious even, but I fight social anxiety and self doubt. I have a lot of acquaintances, but I let very few people in close. However, if you ask the questions, I’m likely to tell you about anything you want to know.
I have been talking to some of my friends who are smart creative types, and all of them have told me to start making notes about my experiences. Since they each mentioned it to me independently, I figured it couldn’t hurt. If it is interesting to them, maybe it could be interesting to other people.
So, hello, my name is Nathan Black, and this is my life.