the one where it is Day One

So 2016 was pretty rough. 2017 looks like the uglier, angrier brother come to finish what the casually cruel started with just a touch of sadism to give it a whole new feel. Or maybe that’s just my perspective.

I am dutifully and diligently avoiding work, which is good since I am drunk, and I never work well while drunk. But I made a post to facebook about my new thing, and I’d thought I’d mention it.


I keep calling this new thing living without fear. But that’s not true. You never live without fear. Fear, in and of itself is good. It’s what tells you to disconnect the garbage disposal before fishing for that ring, to chalk the car tires before changing oil, or to pause before sending that Rwandan prince your bank account info. So it’s not about fear. It’s about cowardice.

I don’t have to tell anyone who has been abused that the thing that you hate isn’t actually the person who abused you. I was beaten up a lot (a LOT) as a kid. It isn’t the bully you hate, really. It is your self. It is knowing that if you had ever dared throw that punch (spoken up for yourself, left the deadbeat, etc.) that you may have been pummeled to within an inch of your life, or even killed.  But you would have died as YOU. The real you. Not the coward that cringes when the little punk (literally in my sense, it was the 90s) mocks you and tries to make you feel worthless, and succeeds by putting your head between their knees and jumping backward across the playground leaving bruises you have to lie to your parents to explain.

It is the cowardice that hurts. The knowledge that you never stood up for yourself in any meaningful way. The ingrained belief that this means you are not worth it.

I have been abandoned. Battered. Hurt. But I am alive. And from this day forth, I’m going to do my best to live without cowardice. ‘Without fear.’ By being brave. Not callous, not reckless, but brave. I am trying to stand up for myself. And if it costs anyone else their self-esteem, their power, their comfort, tough.

You get the truth, or you get nothing.

The Jackass at work who refuses to do his job. The pushy sales guy who needs a tic-tac. Even my friends and lovers. I am not going to live in silence because my feelings matter. I will stand up for myself even if no one else does.

Wow. I have had a lot to drink and Grammarly is earning its money tonight.

But the truth is, this cowardice, this fear of failure, of never being worthy or valued, of being rejected? The truth is it never goes away. Never.

So every day I wake up and make the same promise to myself. And every day I fail in big ways or small. And every day I get up and do it again. Every Day is Living Without Fear: Day One.

So for all you out there who feel the same way:

It’s always Day One.

And you are always worth the attempt.




6 thoughts on “the one where it is Day One

  1. This reminded me of the song ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles. Some of the lyrics are:

    You can be amazing
    You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
    You can be the outcast
    Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
    Or you can start speaking up

    Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
    And they settle ‘neath your skin
    Kept on the inside and no sunlight
    Sometimes a shadow wins

    But I wonder what would happen if you
    Say what you wanna say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave
    With what you want to say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave

    Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
    By the enemy
    Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
    Bow down to the mighty

    Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
    Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
    Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
    Show me how big your brave is

    Say what you wanna say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave
    With what you want to say

    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave

    Innocence, your history of silence
    Won’t do you any good
    Did you think it would?
    Let your words be anything but empty
    Why don’t you tell them the truth?

    Say what you wanna say
    And let the words fall out
    Honestly I wanna see you be brave

  2. Your openness is refreshing. Wish there was something this random fan could say to give you a little boost of encouragement to off-set the accumulated crap a bit, but it seems that your battle is yours, as my battle is mine, etc. Still, I enjoy your writing – and I still have random scenes and moments from ‘I Know Not’ and ‘Last Dragoon’ pop into my head on a routine basis, in spite of the fact that I’ve read a thousand other books…

    It’s always Day One. Nicely put.

  3. What the hell happened to _I Know Not_? When I went to my Kindle to try to read it again for the I don’t know whath time (stopped counting after five), it just wasn’t there. Well, the icon was there, but the pages were gone. WTF? I want my copy of the book back! I was going to buy it again, but it’s not for sale as a Kindle book! What happened?!

  4. After valiant solo efforts on my part, I finally broke down and entered a chat with an Amazon employee who updated _I Know Not: The Legacy of Fox Crow_. Then I had to delete the book from my device and download it again. FINALLY I have my copy of this book back! I enjoy reading it at least once a year. Thank you so much, Mr. Ross, for writing this book. I love it!

  5. I’m reading your posts and it’s like looking in the mirror. I wonder if you really exist: is it my imagination or a freaking google robot. It’s like you ripped part of me and glued it right there. I won’t dare reading any more posts for today. This feeling is really powerful and can destroy or make someone stand up. At this point I don’t where I stand..

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