Thomm Quackenbush, author

Nelson Mandela's quote on my page says that we must liberate ourselves from fear in order that we may liberate others. I sometimes wonder if that means that I will never liberate those I strive to help. I cannot imagine a world in which I did not fear, not so much for my safety though there have been, in my life, moments of that as well but fear of the action, of the moment, of the power.

I do not live in such a way as to inspire comfort. For me every moment is done to the hilt, every thought, word, speech, action is as powerful as it can ever be, each kiss, kick or footstep as heavy and meaningful as the last one I will ever take. I live with great reward for all my actions and great fear of their repercussions. I fear the openness that is beginning to come so naturally to me, just as I used to fear the solitude of not touching. I fear the depth of loving for it means an equal depth to hurt, I fear the anger I can feel and how I express that anger. I fear that one day I will wake up and suddenly everything won't be as beautiful to me as it was when I went to sleep.

I love NYC because every moment allows me to see the best in humanity. I know that so many people fear the bustle and movement of the streets, the homeless man yelling at the socialite, the taxi cab hurtling past the biker whose rubber bands are holding his pants to his leg... for me, everyone in the city has potential for greatness whether that means the simple acknowledgement of a smile from a stranger or the merger of their company with the GDP of a small country. Every one of them has the ability and capacity to change one another and, through the winding streets of the village as I walk to midtown, I see them all in their futility and their drama and their capacities. I cannot judge them, and I strive to love them all as I would love my only child as I am taught to do by my religion. I see the best in them at all times and I have peace, I have fear that one morning they will be just faces again.

So there is the fear again. There are some who would say that all human interaction is dictated by our fear of dying and, while I can't accept that completely, I don't deny the possibility that there is something to that. I fear the depth and breadth of my emotion, its effect on others - I suppose it follows then that I fear not feeling that emotion, but the death of that emotion. It is not Buddhist to fear death, or rather we are taught to strive for a state in which that fear is let go of. I fear for those I will leave behind if I leave before they do. A man I love, friends, brothers, sisters, pets, teachers... When we die, part of history dies with us. We mourn not just the passing of friends but the way that person viewed us and in way an entire world will die with them - their world and perception of us as no other can have it. Am I making sense? This is not morbid, far from it. It is the amazing creation in which our world is shaped by others the intertwining of our humanities and for everyone we touch our worlds grow together a bit more.

I am babbling, I am aware. On the upside, though, so few people will read this that even if they've gotten this far they are few and far between.

I started this with fear. Fear of the unknown is not really a part of this because I don't really think that I have that within me. The point of my time on earth is to see what happens next and my life could change in the next ten seconds as easily as it could in the next ten years. I do not fear this change, this unknown. Its power keeps me waking in the morning and loving in the twilight. I fear not being able to express myself, not being able to live to the hilt, to love with every fiber of my being all persons in all places, I fear the loneliness that comes with that emotional state because when it comes right down to it that does make you different. I fear the return of my adolescence, and the fear of hurting those I love. What am I saying? I have no idea and that is precisely the point I think... through out it all, through up and down and Amenia to Greenwich Village, I will never know and that's just fine. I will marry, I will grow older, I will give birth and pass this life along to others, and in the end maybe it's the fear that allows me to do it.

Emily is a strong woman fighting against her body and soul to earn her wings. She is or has been a nationally ranked blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, a two time inducteee to the Martial Arts Hall of Fame, an animal control officer, a graduate student, and a groovy person.

Stars in the Daytime
Stars in the Daytime

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Works by Thomm Quackenbush


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