If I wasn’t afraid I’d sell my stuff, buy an RV, and spend a few years driving the land. I’d pick up hitchhikers and eat in the diviest dives and meet all the people, the real people, not the caricatures. I’d waitress and pull draft beer, glean in fields, dig fence posts and be a camp host. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t dig fence posts. But I’d do the blistering work, the work of dirty hands and broken nails, the work of sweat and sunburns and calluses.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d write about important things like abortion and politics, racism and the death penalty, guns and immigration. I’d call out the assholes and praise the activists. I’d write long essays and poems and I’d submit them to magazines and newspapers. Or at least email them to my friends.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d organize myself and others to sit on the capitol steps and protest for change.
Hell, if I wasn’t afraid I’d run for office and be the change. I’d fight for justice and equality and freedom and good. I’d go behind the curtain and Snapchat what the suits are doing. I’d expose where the system is broken and work hard to fix it.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d cut my hair short and let it go gray or dye it purple or red or blue depending on my mood and I’d stop wearing makeup. I’d wear yoga pants and tee shirts every day and I’d burn the Spanx and the heels and the scale and the mirrors, except for a tiny one to check my teeth and pluck the pesky hairs, because no one wants to see a brave bearded lady.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d be wilder in bed, swim in the ocean, or at least put on a bathing suit. I’d learn to snowboard and sing and scuba and play the guitar. I’d climb Kilimanjaro and go all Walter Mitty and take pictures and submit them to National Geographic. I’d audition for a play, one where my character cries or dies or is a complete nut case, or I’d fight for a role on This Is Us, or apply to be on Survivor.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d spend all the money. Sorry kids.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d open a restaurant with only community tables and ban cell phones and have sharing questions so people could talk and tell their stories be less afraid of each other. And I’d open a 24-hour drive through soup stand because soup is needed at all hours on this planet. And I’d open a mobile library, like on a bicycle, and I’d bring books to people under bridges because we all need books. And I’d make sure Facebook died a quick and forever death and I’d bring back phone conversations and long, handwritten letters and postcards and telegrams.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d tell people that God is good and Jesus is real, Christians aren’t perfect and the Bible is true. And I’d tell them God is jealous and to be feared and Jesus died to save us from his wrath. I’d tell them about the many good Christians who do not judge and hate and try really hard not be hypocritical and give their lives to helping and serving and making the world a better place. Also a lot of us are jerks.
I’d tell people the Bible is true but it’s not the only place to find truth and also? Evil is a thing and it has a name and it is just as real as Jesus is. I think. Because there is so much mystery and knowing and doubt all at the same time and sometimes I’m sure God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are the realest things I know and then sometimes I think maybe we are living in The Matrix.
I’d tell you that if I wasn’t afraid.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d forgive quickly and love immediately and never hold a grudge and feel all of the feelings except cynicism and I’d fall into bed at night exhausted from living every moment fully alive and consumed by fresh air and sunshine, cold and wind, not from the rabbit hole of Twitter and Netflix.
If I wasn’t afraid I’d push the publish button at the top left hand corner of this page right now.
Or maybe I’d say I am afraid but I’m going to do it anyway so that maybe you’ll be less afraid.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?