Fear of Powerlessness

Specifically, it’s the fear of powerlessness in protecting loved ones.

Growing up, I’ve always been considered “weak.”  I wasn’t physically active.  I was meek and shy.  Teachers, parents, and adults alike all discouraged me from standing up for myself when dealing with bullies.  Out of fear of litigation (my parents were very afraid of this).  Fear of backlash.  They would tell me things like, “Oh don’t worry you’ll show them when you’re their boss!”  (Ha!)

Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

I grew up watching kung fu movies.  A lot of them.  They were my escape.  In particular, this guy to the right was my hero.  I watched all of his movies.  My role model!  Master Wong Fei Hung – He can kick anyone’s ass, but is modest.  He’s a physician, and regularly gives free treatment to the poor.  He is a gentlemen with women, and protects everyone he cares for.  He never holds grudges, and completely forgives his enemies.  (His movies also included a healthy dose of Chinese nationalism and some anti-Western propaganda, but I didn’t know that until a lot later… whoops)

I wanted to take martial arts classes sooooo bad.  But my parents never really had the means nor the time to take me.  They also didn’t feel like it was important, and asked me to focus on my studies instead.

For a long while, the culmination of all the things stated above skewed my perception of what it meant to be a man.

I remember having dreams that eventually turned into nightmares as people close to me (friends, family, imaginary girlfriends) got hurt, and I could not save them.  Literally, my punches were just too slow.  I didn’t realize until later that this was a fairly common dream for men.

Being completely helpless as you see your loved ones suffer is still very much a strong fear for me.  When bad things happen to you, you can deal with it.  Get angry.  Shake it off.  You’re in control.  But when you’re completely powerless to help… it drives me insane.

I want to do everything that I can so that I never feel that way.  I want to become stronger– physically, mentally, emotionally.  If the situation ever comes up, I want to know that I have done everything that I possibly can to protect the ones I care for.

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