I’d sell my stuff, buy an RV, and spend a year driving the land. I’d pick up hitchhikers and linger in forgotten towns with forgotten people and pass out coffee and hugs on street corners. I’d wait tables 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 speak truth to power and prophesy and use my words to praise the activists and expose the hypocrites. I’d run for office and fight for justice and equality and bras that do their job without suffocating you.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d audition for a play, learn hip-hop and belly dance and do stand-up comedy. I’d learn how to duel and break a board with my fist, and I’d climb Kilimanjaro and camp out solo, like in the woods, in a tent, by myself, where the wild things are.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d throw parties for people who are enemies with each other and pass out wine and weed until they held each other and danced. I’d get commuters on the train to stop staring at screens and sing Bohemian Rhapsody on their way to work. I’d open a 24-hour drive-through soup stand/library because soup and books are needed at all hours.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d cut my hair short and dye it purple or maybe blue. Then I’d shave it off and let it grow back wild and gray. I’d stop wearing makeup and burn the Spanx and smash 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 naked in the ocean and wear a bikini at the waterpark. I’d learn to snowboard and sing and surf and play the guitar and get a tattoo or maybe I’d do none of those things and take a nap instead because I wasn’t afraid of disappointing either of us.
If I wasn’t afraid, I’d tell you I’m banking on God being good and real and love and those things are easier to believe when I don’t read the bible or go to church but harder to believe when I’m not around people who believe those things even if they are jerky sometimes.
I’d tell you I love the Jesus of the bible and I believe in supernatural good and evil and I’m approaching my faith these days with a spirit of trust, not suspicion and tethering myself to the Jesus who loved and healed and fed and cooked breakfast for his friends. But also? Sometimes I wonder if we are living in the Matrix.
I’d tell you these things if I wasn’t afraid and I’d hope you’d feel less alone, and less afraid.