Fear is A Liar

SHARE   |   Wednesday, 01 August 2018   |   By Tumie Forthright

Each month depending on how business has been I buy a magazine or two. I particularly enjoy the style of writing in Marie Claire and Destiny covers real business issues that fire me up in my line of work and also help sharpen my acumen in business.

The resident Life Coach in The Oprah Magazine, Martha Beck, got my attention with the first article of hers I ever read in this magazine and that day I knew without a shadow of doubt that I wanted to be a Life Coach.


Many years on that fire still burns within me and my pursuit is ongoing with everything that lives in my being. There is another reason, weird but true; half the time if not more, when I read the articles in O they sound like something I have written, eerily so! It gets me and most times I’ll find its some topic I’ve toyed with or even written on, on my blog or elsewhere. A few days back and another time back last year, I posted on Facebook that I would like to ‘document’ rants and sayings “out of the mouths of babes”. That’s what I’d call this blog. I sent a call out to my friends with children who are six and under, and I stated a condition that went out with this call out; these utterances must be sent to me in their pure, unedited raw way – just as they were said, the way they were truthfully and fearlessly said. My youngest daughter is seven and I have noticed with  a heartbreak that she ‘checks’ the things she says and if a truth that we won’t want to hear escapes her in an unguarded moment she covers her mouth in regret. It kills me a little inside each time I see it. Yes, she still has her innocence but has the world gotten her? Have her eyes opened garden of Eden style? Oh no! I have enjoyed her unguarded truths, her fearless utterances over time. I am not ready to lose her, to lose her to fear of saying what is true but may be offensive, but oh well, life happens!

A few weekends back at my niece’s hen night we had a little session where each one of us had to share what attracted us to our prospective partners, the opposite sex. It was all girls this night. The answers, including mine, were varied, including the politically correct one from ‘he has to be intelligent and make great conversation’ to ‘respectable’ and ‘good looking’ and ‘toned muscles’ ‘good strong arms and legs’. I didn’t have to think mine hard, I knew, I know what attracts me to a man. Intellect, yes!  And all else that follows that and I added without a second thought “a tight firm ass” and as the girls roared with laughter an image of my ex- fiancé in just his tight winies flashed in my head! The squats from his softball days as catcher also helped some, hmmm, I digress!


Now when I was about four years old, (this story like the one where I cried for meat pieces stuck in my dad’s teeth from his lap, I was told about! I remember nothing of those tales) Anyway, it is said that I saw a man on television and exclaimed about his nice behind, and I particularly said ‘ass’. How I wish I could say this in vernacular, no wait, let me indulge my folks; gatwe ke ne kare” hei, leragonyana la lekgoa le le lentlenyane le nkgopotsa la ga malome Basima!” Just means I am a tight ass girl and have been since. I said it then and I said it a few weekends back, it’s innate, feeling safe around the ladies I was with. No fear of being truthful, saying what you really feel.

That is my fascination with these little people; fear is NOT part of their vocabulary. But when you’ve been churned in the life bucket you stop running because you are afraid to fall because you remember how painful that is; a child gets up from a hurting fall and starts running that same instant!  Refreshing! You check or stop saying what you mean because you’re tired of the sneers, no, scared of the sneers! You fear your abilities. You limit yourself, you fear seeing that book out of your head and on the bookshelves the world over.


I know I am an amazing girl but half the time I check and wonder if I am not a fraud after all. Could this be true? Do I write this well? Am I this kind, am I as great a mother as I feel and everyone says or will it all just go away as a prank that it is? Am I this super at logistics? Why is it that everyone finds it easy to confide in me? I am cut out for this listening thing and itching so bad to make a career out of it as a Life Coach isn’t just me wanting unconventional, no? And so it says “Just like mastering the art of self-love, overcoming our fears is something that gets perfected with practice”! I was pleasantly surprised when at the time when I was toying with “fear” the two magazines that I got in the month of April had both written on it!

I know fear can root you in one place, forever. I have looked at fear and told it “outta my way darling” and each time I have been amazed by the results. My children think I am fearless; my friends want my guts. I want to think I am fearless but I am not. Here is the trick; I hold long conversations with fear, I tell it that it is fear; I even bargain with it, I read on fear!


In 2009 Martha Beck gave a lecture on fear at the Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg! I flew in from Lusaka for this lecture, and also because I knew I had to meet this woman who had stirred in me this longing to direct people’s lives in the direction they were meant to be going in the first place.

Fear, like the heart gripping, breath stopping, chest tightening crush you have on that oh so handsome dude eludes you into thinking it just may kill you. Have you felt that crush disappear, just like it didn’t grip you for two long years? Yes, it’s a front, has nothing on you, when you face it and look at it in the eye! You have disarmed it, and when it’s not looking you’re on your way doing that what you thought you couldn’t ever even begin to think about doing! And I’ll get “Tumie you’re brave!” Well, not particularly. I have and feel fear too, but I stroke it. The thought of living with a million should-haves and what-could-have-beens cripples me far more than any fear could! So I will say to fear, to its face “you buddy are a liar” a little more than often!


To fearless trudging; In the two magazines it was put out to several people “WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU WERE NOT AFRAID”. The answers were varied and a little disheartening; bungee jumping; speak up more often; say no more often; write a book; be a mother; be proud; volunteer in Africa; date my best friend; start gym; travel the world; join the circus; give up my corporate career and go and teach creative writing in a small village in Ghana.

Related news