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The Fierceness of Fearlessness

The Fierceness of Fearlessness

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At the recent Boston Calling Music Festival, the three-day event when our city does its best Lollapalooza and Coachella impersonations, there were some moments where I found myself lost in deep thought. I felt moved, and that went beyond just being physically moved by the drunk moshing, thrashing crowd. Ah, festival season.

As I was swaying to the soulful, tour de force of artistry that is a Mumford & Sons performance, I really was in two places at once. My body was in Boston, but my mind was on Manchester. As much as my ears were perked to the pounding bass, my antennas were up as well. All of my senses and an awareness of my surroundings were engaged as I was standing there at 11 PM, sprawled across the Harvard Athletic Complex field with thousands of other music lovers.

I was thinking about those similar concert-goers in England, and how in a matter of a few seconds, a dream evening went wrong and turned into a nightmare. Is it all chance and probability? Is it just sh*t luck and random circumstance, or pre-determined, star-crossed fate? I honestly have no clue. And I’m always left grappling and desperately trying to explain the inexplicable to myself.

After Manchester, and Newtown, and the Boston Marathon, and Orlando, and 9/11 (and all of the countless others), I’m riddled with the ‘whys’ – “Why, why, why, why, why, universe? How could this happen to innocent, good people?” Maybe the brilliant Malcolm Gladwell can figure it out, pen a best-seller about it and give me some clarity.

When a horrific tragedy occurs, we are shocked, confused and devastated while also generally refusing to live in fear. We could surrender and succumb to the anxiety and paranoia, neglecting to ever attend another public event or ride the subway, but we don’t. We carry on and we live our lives. Yes, we are affected, perhaps changed and of course hurt by what happens, but for the most part, aren’t we undeterred? We could just hibernate at home and refuse to ever leave and see the outside world again, but we don’t.

That festival crowd definitely felt undeterred. There was a slight sense of hyper-vigilance and vulnerability that evening, but with it, an overwhelming feeling of boldness. For a few fleeting seconds here and there, thoughts of ‘what if’ and ‘am I safe?’ creeped into the back of my mind. And then I pushed them away, let them go and continued to rock out with my friends in the present. I wasn’t sure that something terrible couldn’t happen in the next five minutes, but are we ever totally certain of that?

Fear, and the ability and temptation to give into it, can be all-consuming and incredibly powerful; but you know what slays that? Defiance – staring panic and premonition in the face and saying “Excuse me? Yeah. Get the hell out of my way – you’re not crashing this party.”

Posted by Ilana