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Living in fear, a reflection

Living in fear, a reflection

Living in fear, a reflection
July 18
16:08 2019

Eva Reinoso Tejada

Fear is probably one of the biggest oppressors we have in our lives. Fear is formally defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Therefore, fear is nothing else than a defense mechanism that we have that helps us protect ourselves. We feel fear if we see a big animal about to attack us, so we can run or do something to protect our lives.

Fear is a part of our lives, most of the time. We have all kinds of fears. Fear that something happens to our kids, fear that we or them get sick. We fear pain. We feel fear when we see or hear about a tornado warning and look at the sky and see the funnels form. We fear that we won’t have enough money for retirement, or that we will be deprived. We might feel fear when we get on the plain, thinking of aerial tragedies.

Fear might or might not be founded on reality. For example, the odds of dying in an airplane crash are one in five million. On the other hand, the odds of dying in a vehicle accident are one in 103. But we fear the airplane more because when those accidents do happen, they are atrocious and widely publicized. Hundreds if not thousands of people die every day in vehicle accidents, and we are not as impacted.

We also fear people. The abused wife fears the abusive husband. The abused child fears the abusive parents. We learn to feel fear from a very young age. We are taught that “the boogey man” is going to take us if we don’t behave well. In my culture, it was about “la mano peluda”, also known as the hairy hand. I would hear “the hairy hand would take you”. And I never asked; Where? What is a hand going to do to me? I just feared the hairy hand and that’s it.

We live in a world full of hairy hands and boogey men that know how to use fear to manipulate us and fulfil a purpose. For example, the president of this country plants fear in some population groups saying that immigrants like us are going to take their jobs or steal their social benefits, or rape them and kill them. We all know that an immigrant most likely will take a job that nobody else wants. We all know that immigrants, especially if they are undocumented, have no access to the social benefits an American citizen has. And as far as getting raped, it could happen to anyone, by anyone. But we are used brilliantly to instill fear in other groups of people.

Then, we get trapped in the game of fear when we hear about the ICE raids, and people being picked up on the streets or at the store. We stop going out, visiting the stores, or the parks, we start becoming sullen and grey. The work of ICE has always been there. Raids, deportations have always happened. They are part of this country. For the most part, I guess they are part of the rule of the law. But the key ingredient to the drama we have now is fear. And this fear is instilled by the master of manipulation: Donald Trump. No wonder why the book by Bob Woodward Trump was named FEAR. 

But, what do we do? How do we live like this? My only answer is to accept the unacceptable. I will live hoping for the best and bracing for the worst. And that will prevent me from being paralyzed by fear. Because I can’t live a half-lived life thinking on what is the worst that could happen to me, which in fact, will probably be nothing.

I want to close this reflection with a quote from Cesar Chavez, that says “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.”

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EDICIÓN VIRTUAL | #349 | 10 DE OCTUBRE 2019

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