the power of fear ~ Outside the Margins with Brandon Witt

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Brandon Witt Outside the Margins

My default is fear. It’s always been. I didn’t actually realize that until after the Orlando shooting. A lot of the time, it’s covered up with perfectionism, worry, and good-old-hard-work. But, it’s still fear. Yes, there is the constant fear of reactions due to my homosexuality, that’s always been the case and is proving to be a necessity that needs to hang around for a while longer (and be fought against at the same time). But, the fear I mean is deeper than that, or at least broader than just my sexuality.

The realization didn’t hit until after the Senate failed, once again, to do anything about gun control. I can’t say I was surprised, as other people have said, if they didn’t do anything about first graders getting slaughtered, they’re not going to do shit for a bunch of fags. Still, rage coursed through me. So much so, that my dad called me, simply to check up on me. (What you’re getting ready to read, if you come from a different background than me, will sound unloving. I can guarantee you, every word said came from a place of love and support.) During his call, the conversation slipped to where it often does during these times of fear and hardship. Before long, biblical prophecy was laid out, both due to the hostile environment of our world and the political happenings. How it all shows that the end time is coming. The mark of the Beast. The anti-Christ. God. Salvation. Damnation. Yeah, all of that.

Let me take a step back. This stuff was my whole world for my first 21 years, in some ways, my first 27 years. I was taught it, I believed it, I taught others. I was terrified my entire life. I got ‘saved’ a billion times over my life. The whole gay thing was the clincher that guaranteed I’d never stop needing to get saved. That I was never going to ‘make it.’ (Wow. I’m so oversimplifying, but I don’t want to go on for the next 10,000 pages.)

I’ve rejected all of this. In every single way.

And yet.

I got off that phone call and new/old fear seeped into me. I couldn’t just be angry at the shooting, at our fucking obsession with guns and death, I had to be afraid. Afraid of the end of the world, of the reign of Satan that was coming, of God. The people who yell about God being love or that the Bible teaches how we should love each other and how much God loves us confuse me. Those people have asked if I’ve read the Bible. I laugh. So many times, and I have a degree in it to boot. Jesus spoke a lot about love, if you remove it from the rest of the Bible. The rest is fear and a godly amount of hate. (This is my opinion and experience. I don’t want to convince anyone to see it the way I do, and I sure as fuck don’t need anyone preaching to me the other way around. Chances are, I’m able to give a much better sermon around the points they are trying to make.)

Nerveless, after that call, and for days and days after, those old feelings came back. Not shame for being gay specifically, though that was included—as well as for having tattoos, the whole nine yards. (During this time, I got a tattoo in honor of Orlando and to literally wear my sexuality on my sleeve so that it would be impossible for me to ‘pass.’ The tattoo SUCKS, and I’m yet sure how it will be fixed. This sent that fear and guilt into overdrive. I’d desecrated the temple of god, yada, yada, yada.) So much fun that no matter how much therapy and work we’ve done, we still revert back, as surely as someone hitting factory reset. (And here, I could write another 10,000 pages on the fear.)

I spoke to my boyfriend about it and it’s something he simply doesn’t understand, and I envy that. While his family was extremely religious and not okay with the gay thing either, they weren’t Midwest fundamentalist. To him, these fears of my childhood and at times my present (though they hadn’t raised their heads in a long bit), are akin to still being afraid of monsters under the bed or believing that electricity is from the devil. I hope, one day, I can get to the point where I shove them away that easily all time. I do most of the time, but, man, it’s not fun when they’re able to still take hold.

It’s caused me to take a look at my life, yet again, and realize that I operate out of fear nearly all of time—in all its different masks. To also realize that fear is part of my heritage. That generations, literally, have lived under constant fear of this vengeful god and religion. Currently, the biggest fear is the writing and being able to ‘make it.’ It’s not just artistic failure on the line, it’s become a spiritual and moral question, it seems. Funny how we recreate our prison over and over again, we just use different bars. Well, maybe not funny Ha Ha, but you do have to laugh. Maniacally.

And, there you have it. My uplifting thoughts for the day. Or something….

~Brandon Witt

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt resides in Denver, Colorado. When not snuggled on the couch with his two Corgis, Dunkyn and Dolan, he is more than likely in front of his computer, nose inches from the screen, fingers pounding they keys. When he manages to tear himself away from his writing addiction, he passionately takes on the role of a special education teacher during the daylight hours.

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3 thoughts on “the power of fear ~ Outside the Margins with Brandon Witt

  1. I’d love to leave a thoughtful and encouraging comment. But this: “Funny how we recreate our prison over and over again, we just use different bars.” It’s too true to dismiss with a comment. Just that I get it. I get what you mean, and I appreciate the feeling that we have more in common as people than not. This is an important one of those things. Thanks,Brendan. Hugs, Jaime

  2. Can I say how much I admire you? Getting beyond a lifetime of indoctrination based on fear is a real achievement.

    You might be interested to know that in the State of Queensland in Australia, some parents complained about the Christian religious teachings being taught in a school (standard Christian stuff about fear and little kids being sinners etc). As soon as the head master read into the material being taught, he banned it, and brought it to the attention of the Qld Government who is now doing a Government enquiry into such horrible things being taught to little kids.

    I recall an earlier post where you said as a child you were all taught that all gay people died of aids. That struck me as such an abusive thing to teach little kids.

    I do not understand how people living under such teachings can have happy lives.

  3. Hi Brandon,
    We have never met, but I know and love people who know and love you. Your writing makes me feel sad for you; and yet I’m happy for you, that you are so skilled and articulate. I am inspired to know and love you.
    Fear is the power behind this pattern you described so brilliantly: “we recreate our prison over and over again, we just use different bars” and love is the power to overcome fear. Perhaps a little love from this stranger will help to shove another monster under the bed. jdb

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