I've realized that I can sum up my entire life with the statement of two very simple facts. And when presented together, they are so ironically juxtaposed that they are either sickening or hysterical. They are proof positive -- as if proof were needed -- that my life is nothing more than somebody's cruel joke.
Fact #1: I am fearless.
Fact #2: I am always running away.
There you have it: the sum total of my existence, Gaia Moore in a hermetically sealed nutshell. Pathetic, isn't it? A fearless girl who runs away? It's on par with being a stunningly beautiful girl who has to wear a paper bag over her head or an investment-banking billionaire who lives in a trailer park.
But let's be clear here. True, I can't feel fear. This is not the same thing as being brave, however. It's not like I see myself in some Roman epic, weighted down with a hundred pounds of armor, taking on fifty lions or re-creating a glorious battle. I'm no gladiator. Gladiators were brave. Because being brave necessarily means being able to experience fear and then being able to overcome it.
But then, that's my problem, isn't it? I'm not just fearless. I'm "braveless," too.
At the very least, you'd think this little fluke in my genetics would enable me to stay in one place for a while. If I'm not afraid of anything, why the hell should I ever have to run away, right? To that end, fearlessness shouldn't prevent me from making a true friend, either. Or actually keeping a true friend. Or falling in love and staying in love. I should be able to stand my ground. I should be able to face every single crisis and tragedy in my life with complete confidence. Running away is for weak-minded cowards.
I tell myself these things. And then I tell myself: bullshit.
Because when you get right down to it, going on the run isn't about fear or bravery. It's about the one principle that applies to every creature on this planet -- from the bravest lion to the lowest forms of life, like my father or cockroaches: survival. Self-protection and self-preservation. Even the most fearless animals have a survival instinct. It's what enables them to perpetuate their species. To multiply.
And I can't be any different.
Although I have to be honest: I don't really see myself multiplying in the future. In fact, I'd say the odds of my extinction are increasing by the hour.
Copyright © 2001 by Francine Pascal