People have a lot to say about fear and love. Can one exist without the other? Is fear necessary? Is it a hinderance? One thing I know; fear increases with age. One of the hardest things ever was watching my previously fearless father melt into a paranoid, terrified infant in the face of lowy body dementia (made famous by being the cause for Robin William’s suicide). If fear can turn the smartest, most ingenuitive guy I know into a quivering, elderly shadow, certain hired nurses are murderous specters; it’s mos def my enemy.

Two excellent horror films have been made that can only be described as alzheimer’s possession horror. Part of the dread for the protagonists in the films (and those suffering from dementia in real life) is no longer knowing if you can trust what you see and hear. When you yourself become an unreliable narrator. Or are you? One could make the argument that reality is simply your perception, and in that case, perhaps the anxiety and paranoia are warranted. After all, who am I to tell you what’s real?

Fear and love; are they diametrically opposed forces? Inherently intertwined? Can one exist without the other? I mean, at the heart of it, isn’t feeling fear a necessary protection and defense mechanism? We are told to banish fear and embrace love; but again, note the source. The person telling you to release your fear may have nefarious intentions. I do know that you will never experience the full spectrum of love while clutching a bouquet of fear in your arms. The essence of love, what makes that feeling so extraordinary, is the boundless certainty that your bliss is untouchable.

Fear is insidious. It keeps us separate. Keeps us closed off, weary and giving a hard, suspicious side eye to those around us. Fear is the basis of anger; and it’s exhausting, being so constantly vigilant. Love is letting go. Letting things in. Releasing preconceived notions and false stories about the way things are or the way things should be. Love keeps the mind open while fear acts like a steel vise. Choose love, but choose wisely.

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