I am afraid.

Yep, that’s it. Oh, you have questions? Oh, yikes, you’re providing solutions and don’t know what’s what. Oh, you are afraid too.

I guess we could chat awhile. There is plenty contributing to fear and a total-sense-of-being dread. Substations shot up practically a county south of me. From systematic worker abuse to climate catastrophe but make it everyone else’s responsibility except profuse corporate and overall state greed, extractive policies, and negligence. On the topic of neglect, barreling into year four of the COVID-19 pandemic, with other viruses vying for top spot, and the organizations and folks tasked with aiding mitigation instead encouraging us to throw in the mask and implementation of every preventative measure while undermining the ongoing and long-term consequences—


Okay, I’m done with my newsreel since I doubt I’m delving entirely into either. I’m not fronting, promise. These things are disconcerting, straight up terrifying, and require transformative accountability—a whole nother essay.  But, they must be felt, not merely articulated as if what they stir doesn’t live with us.  

Cause fear is when shit pops, and, even if you locate safety, your mindbody now understands its fluidity; thus, it is also dread’s vindication. My gut trippin. 

A persistence at the back of my throat reconfiguring expressions. 

A disorientation of breathing. A discernment mired by desensitization.

A hesitancy with my intentions. 

Cause dread is a disquiet that’s taken residency, forget “the facts” 

and keep them near; thus, it is also the well worn imprint of fear. 

A panic rendering masterpieces out of mishaps. A constant meticulousness 

about exertion and rest from existing with systemic lupus in addition to the treatment-linked complication of avascular necrosis in my right hip. 

An apprehensive internal voice keeping a ledger of every unnecessary 

moment—spoiler alert: they all are—spent in close proximity to others.  


I am deeply afraid, and processing a heaping pile of kindred feels.


Would a story help? Huh?—And, isn’t this already a story? Mmhm, but one incline at a time. 

I ask because, when the pressure of my dread and fears surge to numbing, I remind myself how the tales I cherish move me to engage and root fully in emotions through conjuring spaces of whole witnessing, truth telling imagination.

Meaning ain’t none of this some foolishness fixated on overcoming, or naming without recognition that a good bit of the violence above is hitched to certain narratives’ diffusion and suppression. I’m talkin bout parting pages, upping the volume, fiddling with a pen or my keys to meet and explore the shape of what scares me\us.

Being so, I commiserate with monsters, unwilling sacrifices for a false light, and learn the exterior origin of my unease with the vividness of my shadows. 

| Airways reinvigorate, words transmogrify. | 

Shook but glad at conclusions where haints resist exorcism, 

in essence a dismissal of their pain. | I weep and don’t surmount my aching, 

permit it to crashland me onto the altar of the supplest available horizontal surface. | 

Sampling care marinated yearnings and honoring realities otherwise, liberated from a petrified fatalism by recollections this miserable “progress” and brutality forward imitation of life is precisely that. 

| Body twanging with sonorous perception. | 

While worrying a hole in this dimension observing here-futures in which mythologies are programmed into technologies fabricated to erode and replace the protective encodings of our bonds to each other and our environs. 

 | I tap my intuition and reach irregardless. |


Hmm? You’re wondering what we do with all this? Obviously I’d advocate for us to construct forever homes around and out of our fear(s) . . . I apologize for the sarcasm, specially assuming you’re also holding so much. 

Remember those kindred feels I mentioned?

One of mine is a searing anger I know to be the direct result of frequently pretending I’m not knee-knocking spooked, by the way everything seems the residue of decent, to stop supposed family from trivializing my concerns while claiming they’re listening. Why I’m not bout to play you or myself by concocting simplified so-called productive answers. 

However, from the immediate realm of leaving my house primarily for my j*b due to more than forced-socialization avoidance, I’m gonna extend something else to you. Whether you’re currently crossing the textual finish line absolutely desperate for pause and connection—dreading what untended fear chokes off—or inundated by these feelings—dreading how they’ll expand, ravel awareness, and feed other heaviness:

~ Be tender, appreciate its power. 

~ Be mindful as well not to participate in harm out of 

true or designed hurt\dread\fear. 

I am afraid, and trying to do the same. But, mostly, I’m just here whenever possible in the living of now and the different offerings opened for me to experience through this honest dedication to presence.

*settles palm on chest then lays it on screen within a breath*


Jeané D. Ridges was born and raised in the southeast of the land the United States occupies, and it remains where they reside allowing themself to be nourished by ecos appreciation, soul filling food, and of course any expansive tales they can procure or spin up. In 2022, they became a Voodoonauts Fellow—tending community while traversing the pluriverse—and honed their editing skills through Tessera Editorial’s mentorship program. You can discover their works at


Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

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