I don't know when I harnessed that fear, but if I had to guess, I think it was when I created a character who was zapped...but instead of being singed, was given electrical-based super-powers, sort-of in the style of Ghost Rider, just electricity instead of flames, and a much lamer backstory. (It was a power outlet delivering a lightning strike.) And since then, lightning and my fascination for it has only grown.
Now, it's one of my favorite elemental super-powers, right up there with fire. If I'm not one, I'm the other, sometimes preferably both, but if I had to choose, lightning actually beats out fire to me as being a power I harness. Now I (in my imagination, of course) mess around with it for fun. I make lightning bolts, shooting from my fingers like a pistol; I make lightning balls I throw; I make lightning blades in my hands; I bounce lightning between my hands like those spring-toys that you roll down stairs (forget what they're called, but they're flexible). I like to play around with it, and imagine it.
It's gone from something I was deathly-afraid of to being one of my fundamental elemental powers, one of the favorite things I've ever had to play around with in my mind, and that's one of the main reasons so many of my characters use lightning-based powers; it's just...really, really awesome to me.
And it's not alone. I used to be deathly-afraid of the dark, too. I conquered that fear by walking out into the dark, and then just resting there, calmly. It was peaceful. I was afraid monsters would eat me. (In hindsight, the fact that I didn't care meant that I was showing early signs of being suicidal at the time, in that I was fine if that actually happened--in other words, I was fine if an animal snatched me up and killed me, with me to never be seen again. But while that suicidal stuff did eventually get worse before I confronted it and made it get better, it was useful to conquer the fear.) But nothing happened. In fact, once I let myself go into the night, I found there was beauty in the night. There was nothing dangerous about it. It was something to be admired.
And sure enough, shortly after that, I had my first shadowmaster characters, characters using the darkness element, and throughout the years, these characters have grown to be some of my favorite characters in the casts of whatever stories they've been in. And in a more general sense, stories dealing with the night (e.g. vampires, werewolves) I have also come to love, because they're not scary monsters, dwelling in the night to me. To me, they're beautiful parts of the world, who may be dangerous in theory, but in daily day-to-day life are not, a fact reflected a great deal in said stories.
Same thing for fear of falling. I once got stuck in a tree because I climbed up it, but was afraid to fall down. It took several minutes of encouragement from my siblings before I managed to work up the courage to jump down, and when I did...I was fine. No broken or injured legs, no hitting my head, nothing. I softly landed. There was more to the fear, though. I was once petrified about falling into the water. Jumping off of the board into the deep end of a pool in particular was terrifying...until I just did it. And sure enough, I learned how to swim by sinking. (No, seriously, by building up my lung capacity, I would dive to the bottom of the pool and propel myself upward and forward and repeat. With the occasional treading of water, holding onto the wall, or moving forward with what is vaguely a frog-like swimming motion.) Sure enough, I had hydromancer characters after I began swimming a lot.
And on that note, I once jumped off a ledge into Crater Lake. I had been too scared to do this in previous years visiting, but one year, I decided to just do it, no longer fearing the rocks. And I decided not to be afraid of being bitten by animals in the Lake, either. And sure enough? Shortly after, I had geomancer characters.
Throughout my life, conquering fears has directly caused my imagination to expand positively. It even applies to things that aren't fears. I absolutely hate the heat, so whenever it gets too hot, I imagine channeling the excess heat to create a fireball. (As you might be able to imagine by it being one of my favorite elements, right up there in effectively a tie with lightning/energy, this happened a LOT, and I got very good at finding ways to create fire. Firebolt, fireball, pillar of fire, juggling fireballs, supercharging fireballs [I owe that one to Fable2--coincidentally, fireballs and energy are the two spells my characters alternate in choosing first], fire blades, and so on.)
Inversely, whenever I've gotten cold, I've envisioned powers based off of that. When I was younger, it was turning my limbs to ice in order to create a super-dense attack: jabbing with a frozen open-hand, or slugging an enemy with a frozen closed-hand. (Interestingly, the frost creating the power came from the opponent, not from me, when I was that age. In essence, they created the super-power FOR me.) As I got older, that changed into various spiked things, including the most common one nowadays: manifesting frozen ice wings on my back. (Yes, I still do this.)
My overreactive imagination has at times been my enemy, creating fears of nothing. But once I was able to make something of those fears, I let loose my natural skill, and have loved it since then. So then, that raises the question...am I fearless? Well, of course not. I have an instinctive fear of fast-moving balls. No, seriously, you can have a plastic giant beach ball, and if it is thrown with enough speed, I will flinch. Tennis ball? Flinch. Basket ball? Flinch. Softball? Flinch. It doesn't even need to have been thrown. You can make the throwing motion in my direction, and if I see you, then I'm probably going to cower in fear, even if your hand is empty. The fear traces back to my many years of playing soccer, as an Achilles' Heel in my play I never conquered, but it still exists to this day, since there's not a lot I could do to face it. (Every time I tried, I was rewarded...with a hard soccer ball to the FACE. Or sensitive nether regions, but while those hurt, the face-hits STING, and for me that's worse.)
I once said that I fear pain, and while that sounds ridiculous, it was true at the time. (It's not quite true. There are some forms of pain I actively sought. For instance, I feared being pricked on the finger for drawing blood, and in general needles being injected into my body. But then, I began ripping open my fingers [via loose pieces of skin/nail that I would tear off] and squeezing blood out of them, a habit similar to cutting in effect. [Whoah, that's dark. But, yes, I did do it.] Needless to say, it was shortly after that horrific gory habit began that I dreamt up the idea of BloodMasters. But I digress. Point is, there were certain hurtful things I enjoyed, but for the most part, I feared things that would feel painful.)
The actual pain wouldn't be bad. I've always been basically immune to pain. (No, but dulled to it; I'm nearly-positive of it, that my ability to feel pain is weaker than most people's, and that while I do feel it, it really doesn't influence me the way it does others.) But the anticipation of pain, now that was a killer. Any time I was expecting pain, I would be petrified.
To this day, that fear has not been fully conquered, even though it mostly has been. So what do I have? A quirky fear of fast-moving balls (heck, they don't even have to be fast; I just have to expect them to be fast), and ridiculous-why-is-this-considered-serious minor fear of pain. That's all nice and fine and all, but those aren't true fears.
What, then, am I actually afraid of?
There's a TVTropes term which perfectly describes it: Adult Fears. I am afraid of my family. I don't fear abuse by them, because I am of the age where I can just up and leave if need be, although that would suck if I needed to do it. (So while I would prefer that not coming to pass, I'm certainly not afraid of it.) What I fear is losing them, which may happen if they are made aware of my trans status. (More on that in a later blog post, but again, I have very good reasons for being in the closet.) They've been my loving, caring family for 21 years, putting up with all my ridiculous antics, supporting me for such a long time. And if they ended up rejecting the me that I really am, then I'd be left without them, and that's one of the main reasons I am so afraid. Nobody wants to lose someone they love, yet alone, five of them. I know it'd create a lot of pain, pain which while I am capable of taking (I am a tough girl), I'd prefer not to need to take.
But the other, far larger thing that I fear is myself. I don't think I am capable of explaining this one. Just know that my mind goes into some really, really dark, black places. I do a lot to pretend I am a saint. When I bring up facts that show I'm not, what they show is that I'm flawed, that I'm human, but still a reasonably-good person. But there are things about me that are so black, that sometimes I wish they were not there at all. And terrifyingly, sometimes, those thoughts have gotten eerily close to the surface. You might have an idea, you might not. But just think...there are various atrocious crimes humanity is capable of, and my mind has thought of a fair number of them. That's not even going into the suicidal thoughts I can have at times.
Now, mind you. I do a fairly good job of keeping those thoughts as just thoughts. I try not to repress them because that tends to make them stronger when they do return (plus, the thoughts have created some of the most powerful aspects of my writing believe it or not), nor do I let them take reign because that risks them taking over me; I let them exist and be filed off to the back of my brain as, "Okay, you've had your fun, now shut up and never bother me again, I'm a better person than to cave into you". Which works. I AM a decent person, overall. Flawed. Complicated. Not a saint, quite the sinner. But when weighed, more good than bad.
Still, though. The fear is there that I could always be wrong. What if I snapped? What if I did something that could not be taken back? This, along with the familial fear (although that one I'm trying to find workarounds for), is the type of fear that I don't think I can get rid of, in spite of it being a very real fear. But honestly, I don't think I want to get rid of it. Having a fear of the negative aspects about me can help me emphasize the good, pushing me to improve, to be a better person, and to progressively minimize said negative aspects so that they remain in the minority.
Yeah, uh...sorry. This blog took a bit of a darker turn. But I called the blog post "fears", so it should be a bit expected that said fears could actually be dark, rather than childish. I did warn you that when reading my blog, you could encounter literally anything. I hate to end on that note, so how about a lighter one?
I don't fear getting hit in the face; I fear the pain to come from getting hit in the face!