Tara, 21: "I have two fears combined into one. My first fear is, what if I am unable to have children? My husband and I have been trying but it seems as if God, or someone, won't give us the chance to have a child. The second fear I have is a little scarier than the first. What if I have a child, but it has health problems? I am scared to death that my future child will not be 'the normal' child. What if there is something wrong? Will I be able to handle the stress, sadness and hopelessness of them ever recovering? There is also this part inside of me that says I am 21, I have plenty of time to have kids. I am young, and I am healthy, so my future children should be, too, right? Maybe I am not as healthy as I think I am."
C: “I was an EMT student, and I was doing clinical time in a city squad when a call came over the radio that a man was unconscious in his house. We ran there, and he was unconscious on the floor. We did the best we could to save him. I can still feel the moment during CPR when his ribs cracked. I can still see his face. It haunts me, even years later. What if there was something else I could’ve done, something I could’ve tried? I still struggle with it.”
Sue, 60, nearly lost her life in a California fire in 1991. It's still painful for her to talk about it today. It was Oct. 19, 1991 — the day of the Oakland, California, fire that killed 25 people and destroyed 3,500 homes. During the first few hours of the blaze, Sue, who worked for a newspaper at that time, headed out with a photographer, Angela, to document what was happening. Things shifted very quickly out in the field. Sue clearly recalls the heaviness in the air — oxygen depletion. "Out of the darkness and down a hill were two mopeds going at full speed. I yelled at the riders, frantically waving my arms to get them to stop," Sue said. "Angela was in her picture-making zone as I grabbed her by the collar. Two rides out of nowhere had arrived to take us from this hell. We had to go. Now. My fear? That I will once again be caught in a hell fire like California is again experiencing ... without an escape."
Las Vegas mass shooting, Oct. 1, 2017.
Fifty-eight killed; 489 wounded.
Voices from Florida, as Irma closes in.
Thinking about Harvey and its aftermath — and the people whose lives have been lost or turned upside down.
Olivia, 22, is terrified by what she's seen (the torches, Nazi flags) and afraid that others won't think her fears are real. When talking about her fears with me, I felt like I could see right through to her breaking heart.
Amber: "I fear that I may lose you because of me.
Because of my mind.
Because of my own self-pity.
That I will never feel good enough."
S: "I always want to get started on my projects at work in the form of technology / knowledge enhancement, and writing a book. ... But when it comes to the grind, I chicken out and leave it for tomorrow. And tomorrow never comes."
"I go for the catastrophe."
I've been thinking a lot about the Manchester bombing — but simply can't find the words to express what I feel. So ... this.
C, 25, fears that "everything that has gone wrong in my past is my past punishing me." It's bad karma, she says, and she feels there's nothing she can do about it.
“I fear that my depression will never go away and that it will hinder me for the rest of my life.”
At a recent gallery show of my fear illustrations, visitors had the opportunity to write down their own fears on index cards and tack them to a wall. Here are a handful of some of those fears — using their handwritten words and my quickly drawn interpretations of them.
Fear of failing school
Fear of not finding happiness
Fear of cancer’s return
Fear of not being oneself
Fear of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia
Fears after a brain injury
Fear of something, or someone, lurking
Fear of not being honest with one’s partner
Fear of losing one’s spouse
Fear of blindness
Fear of remaining in love with a childhood sweetheart
Fear of losing kids in custody battle
Fears about one’s adoption story
Fear of not being a good father
Fears around dyslexia
Fear of being left in the digital dust
Fear of being a failure in art
Fear of being judged
Fear of not finding the perfect place
Fear of not being a stable adult
Fear of letting people down
Fear of being mediocre
Fear of getting fat
Fear of making a decision
Fear of the unknown
Fear of an ongoing nightmare