(Originally published in 2008)

Somebody (Tim Ferris? Gandhi? Princess Di?) once said that if you’re not offending anybody, you’re doing it wrong. You’ll be happy to know, I’m clearly doing it right.

When I clicked “Publish” on one particular post, I can honestly say I didn’t know people would be so bothered. I had no less than five snarky emails in my inbox before the damn post hit people’s feed readers. (Remember those?  I’m dating myself.)  Seriously, people were mad. Really mad. People were mad at my word use, people were mad that I called them cocky, people did not dig it. (For those of you who did like it and emailed, thank you. That was very nice of you.)

Anyway, somebody else (Chuck Norris? Paris Hilton? The Will It Blend guy?) said the following, and I think you’ll agree that it deserves some funky red type.

The absence of fear is not courage. The absence of fear is mental illness.

When I got those emails, I was not exactly delighted. (OK, the exhibitionist part of me was a little bit delighted.) Am I afraid that no-one will come to my blog? That people will stop coming? That I won’t meet the goals I’ve stated quite publicly to people I don’t like and who will gleefully revel in my failure?

Of course I am. But I can’t let that water me down. I can’t let that fear dominate my actions. I can’t let myself become one of those writers who just rehashes everybody else’s crap.

I have to hang out, being afraid, and going about my business anyway.

I’d love to make this into a handy bulleted list with lots of outgoing link love. Then everyone could “like” it and tweet it and I could be the linkbait queen of the world.

Sadly, I can’t.

I can tell you what I know about fear, though. It sucks. A lot. It can paralyze you and sicken you and leave you cold and lonely. I got pregnant at 17 with a man who wasn’t exactly my soul mate. I dropped out of college and people told me I would never make anything of myself. I have been on welfare. And I run my own business.

This is scary shit, people.

So here’s my not-very-linear advice on fear.

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