Photography by Tommy Coyote
I think fear is something that is either unknown or actually based on a past experience that rendered some sort of result that you didn’t like. Which leads to having a fear that that same thing is going to happen again. Fear is a feeling of apprehensiveness, where you worry and don’t feel good or certain about an outcome. Or, it’s an emotion where you feel certain that the outcome is going to be undesirable, or painful to you.
Any time I don’t know how to do something or I’m apprehensive of something, I remember this lesson that I once learned when I was learning music: life is about making what’s unfamiliar familiar. I find that so powerful because then you don’t feel like “Oh, I’m not good enough at this” or “I’ll never learn this” or “I suck” or all these negative thoughts that we have. Instead, it allows us to say “Oh, this is just something that’s unfamiliar to me right now but if I spend time with it, in a year, two years, three years, it will become familiar to me and it will no longer be something that I am afraid of.
It is my opinion that the goddesses, or the universe, or life, put all the most amazing things in life on the other side of fear. I think all of the most amazing, blissful things in life exist on the other side of fear. I feel a sense of liberation whenever I feel brave enough to speak my truth and do it sincerely, knowing what is true to me. Either on stage or on a panel and similar with my drumming and my music. It’s liberating to know that being brave enough to be my most honest self has the power to inspire other people to be their bravest and most powerful selves as well. And that that’s actually the work, to be my best self on stage, to be brave enough to speak my truth and say things that I believe to be true, to inspire somebody in the audience to go and run for office, or quit the job that’s oppressive, or leave the partner who’s not the best for them.
It’s then that I know I’m doing my work and I find that to be enormously gratifying and liberating. Another thing to keep in mind is that fear and love go hand in hand. One of my good friends talks about “love energy,” something that I have now deeply incorporated into my work, because I believe that my feminism and my activism come from a place of love energy and wanting to heal trauma that exists in this world daily.
Many people act out of fear, but they act angrily out of fear and their actions cause harm towards others because maybe they’ve experienced harm caused to them. I believe that this is the opposite of love energy. I think love energy doesn’t have the ability to harm others, whereas fear energy does. Fear is the opposite of love and anytime that I feel anxiety about something, be it a new relationship, a new show, a new release, I remember: What was the original intention? What do I want to do? What’s the best version of myself?
Even when things might be tough with people, whether it’s a strange relationship or family stuff, the second that I’m able to return to my own love energy I feel powerful. I feel fearless, I feel limitless and I feel like I’ve got their back, too. That makes me feel good and allows me to rise above my own fears. As long as we’re acting from love intention, which means something sincere, something genuine, something with a desire to give joy and uplifting energy to others, I think our dreams will always come true and our fears will melt away.
I think other people instilling fear in us is a way to control us and sometimes I look at my own fears and I’m like, “Dammit, they’re winning. The capitalist patriarchy is winning.” A lot of women are brave enough to speak out online, but then they see the enormous amounts of pushback and misogyny and aggression that comes back. That’s the fear factor, that’s the intention of instilling fear, so that new power, that love power doesn’t have the strength to shine. But each of us have to remember that we have nothing to fear. That love energy overcomes all that and heals the others who are also fearful. We need not fear when we have love energy.
I believe that fear is more motivated by social relations. I think it’s a control factor created to hold us back and make us feel bad. If I look at my own socialization as a female, an alpha female in this very amazing country, I think that the fear that have been instilled in me is never feeling good enough. This is done by making us have body shame from a young age, from making us feel like our value only comes from our looks. So therefore, it’s irrelevant whether we make money or not, it’s just relevant if we’re beautiful and sexually consumable to others. I think that’s a really problematic fear, because then we always feel powerless and we always assume our own powerlessness instead of our own power and that’s what keeps us down. In fact, we end up perpetuating our own cycles of oppression instead of having the ability and the mental capacity to combat it.
Fear is socialized, not intrinsic. There is healthy fear, like intuitively if I feel like someone’s being aggressive to me or manipulative to me, or doing wrong by me, it’s really cool. I feel it directly in my gut. It’s like the fight or flight that an animal instinct would have, if I noticed a fire or if I felt danger. I think that kind of fear that’s very physical is so useful and for me it’s very visceral. I know it’s real and it’s authentic. But the socialized fear is just the capitalist patriarchy trying to hold us down and I really mean that. And I mean that for men, too. Men oppress each other. Men are so afraid of never being enough, never making enough money, never having enough followers, enough likes, enough Spotify streams. If you’re on your hamster wheel of oppression, no number will be good enough for you. You’ll always feel upset and they want that. They want that. That’s how they control us.
When I say “they” by the way, I can mean the US government, but I can also just mean wealthy people. I can mean capitalist systems that allow some people to win at the expense of others. It can be communities, it can be white communities at the expense of communities of color. It can be male communities at the expense of female communities. It can be cis and straight communities at the expense of queer or trans communities. It can be communities of ability, at the expense of communities with disabilities. This entire world is made assuming that you’re able to walk. Well, what if you can’t walk? Now your experience of life is cut back because somebody else didn’t feel like including you in that system. These are all the ways that fears do hold us back and oftentimes it’s effective. I’m working actively on eradicating my own fear.
How do or how can we allow our grip on fear to loosen? Breathing. Meditation. These are tools that I use daily. I also work out a lot. I run 2-3 times a week, I box, I do CrossFit, I do my Bikram yoga. I do SoulCycle. I bike to each of these classes. I surf.
I love to sleep. I love to set the intention for the day and execute it. These are all the different ways that I would say I’m able to alleviate my own fear, but the biggest one is avoiding people who give me that fight or flight feeling in my belly, or who make me feel upset. That’s how I eradicate my own fear. I also remember the win on the other side, how good it feels to go past that fear.
Madame Ghandi is a LA based electronic music artist, activist and alpha feminist.