This is a “lost” Ask Ceil I found while going through my extrmely disorganized Google Drive Writing folder. Enjoy.


Dear Ceil,

Things I’m afraid of: Everything

Things I’m not afraid of: Anything

See the problem?

Fear and Courage in Fort Collins

Dear Fear/Courage,

I totally understand. I have talked with no less than four people this week alone about doubt, fear, and asshole-like courage.

So, here’s my armchair-psychology, bullshit personality analysis, because I really don’t do any other kind.

I believe that all humans have three modes:

1. In Your Face.
2. Mainly Cowering.
3. Everything’s Really Quite Fine Thank You For Asking.

The problem here is a) identifying which mode you’re in right now; and b) realizing that you can switch from one mode to another in a moment, with very little provocation.

See, we might start out having a Fine Day, so that’s what you prepare for. Then suddenly, In Your Face Person emerges and tries to overthrow the Hallmark store, because the candles weren’t marked. “What the hell? How am I supposed to BUY these candles if I don’t even know what the price is? Don’t you understand that you’re making more work for everyone? Where is the efficiency? Where’s the sense of responsibility to the customer? Why do you hate humanity?”

Then again we might be Fine, and then someone says something about that dress we’re wearing. “Don’t you like it? I mean, yeah, it’s kind of a busy pattern. Maybe all my clothes are horrible? I’m a terrible person and I’ve made all the wrong life choices. Why do I even bother getting out of bed. I’ll just ruin everyone’s day. Do you happen to have a dark corner I can sit in, while I stare into my soul?”

You can also go directly from one extreme to the other. You start off conquering the world, only to realize you suck:

“I would never rely on people the way Sally does. She’s too needy.” [Subtext: I am God. I want for nothing.]

“You know her kids are all sick, and both her parents are dying.”

[Silence. Realizes I’m an asshole. Stabs self. Dies. Happy about it.]

Or you’re having a terrible day, and then…

“Hey, cheer up. The world is full of kittens and sunshine, and small elves who make cookies from love and angel wings!” [Dots i’s with tiny happy faces hugging each other.]

“I’ll cheer up when I’m good and ready, you mindless loon! You foolish simpleton! I am King of Sadness! I will dominate your ilk from my miserable throne! You will rue the day you spake at me!” [Kinda feels better.]

Here’s my advice: Go with it.

Everyone has bad days. If you have friends who don’t get that, they’re not your friends. You have friends that have bad days, and you don’t cast them into the pit of desolation, do you? No, you don’t. So they probably won’t do it to you, either.

And don’t cast yourself into the pit of desolation, because you should at least be as nice to yourself as you are to your friends.

Unless, of course, you want to go into the pit; in which case, here’s a box of tissues and the complete DVD set of Little House on the Prairie. Cry accordingly, if only at the rich fullness of Michael Landon’s hair. We’ll catch you later.