Vickie Patik Posted over 2 years ago What is it to be Fearless ? Fear is so emotionally and physically difficult to handle, we try to overcome it, hide it, deny it, beat it with a stick, shame ourselves out of it and avoid it. But as a DNA-coded mechanism for survival, fear acts not only as a warning system but, I have discovered, as a friend and guidance system as well. When I was a performer, stage fright gripped me. Initially I loved being on stage, but eventually I became fearful, with attendant diarrhea, shakes and memory lapse. But I learned through a 2-year acting course to become comfortable on stage again. By constant repetition I was able to adapt to the horrible feeling of walking a tightrope without a net. I was able to channel the adrenaline to enhance performance. I went from wanting to be the last one to go on stage to do a scene, to wanting to go first to get it over with, to wanting to go first so that I could do my thing without having to wait around. Most importantly, I realized that the choices I most feared were the very ones I HAD to make in order to develop my skills. In this improvisational class, whatever scene or character I could imagine that made me feel uncomfortable was the very scene/character I HAD to do. By allowing my fear to inspire my choices, I grew in confidence. Fear became my friend and guide. Now, I never sat in a boat waiting to invade a country, watching my fellows blown apart as they tried to go ashore (D-day). I can't imagine being 17 and facing THAT fear. But even soldiers say that over time their fear subsides. Age also seems to mitigate fear... we all know people in their 80s who say any damn thing they want with impunity. Their body chemistry has changed for sure, which may be one explanation, and they are on their way out, so what have they got to lose? Fear is amazing. Fearlessness is awesome. And both seem to be necessary for life.