Last night I was chatting with my sister and she said, “I hate being scared, but I love scaring others.” She was, of course, talking about Halloween. It made me laugh – Catherine reminiscing about how much she hated being scared as a child at Halloween time, but how now she revels in the idea of scaring other people through her gifted – if not a bit troubling – Halloween, fear-eliciting, creative talents.
Then it dawned on me… her statement rings true for things far beyond Halloween. Fear is an interesting thing. Fear of failure. Fear of success (I’ve gotta be honest – I’m not entirely sure about the whole “fear of success” idea… what does that really even mean?). Fear of the unknown. All kinds of phobia fears – heights, the dark, spiders, clowns…
I personally fear that I will not accomplish enough in my life before I die. (Years of being told how much unfulfilled potential I have might have contributed to my fear… 😉 ). I know that my fear might seem ridiculous to some, while others will understand why I carry it with me. But that’s the whole thing about fear – it’s often irrational, and has no basis in fact. It just is.
And that is why I understand Catherine’s need to work non-stop making every inch of the Macabre Inn perfect. She lives, breathes, sleeps, and dreams Halloween. She is driven by that four letter word – fear. Fear that Halloween will sneak up on her and rob her of the precious time she needs to make everything perfect. Fear that she’ll open the doors for the official Halloween event and only a handful of people will trickle in. Fear that if people do show up, the sound system designed to cloak everyone in haunting, creepy, blood-curdling sounds won’t work. Or that the 12 foot clown on stilts will suddenly collapse, or the vortex tunnel will spring from its hinges and end up barrelling into the cactus-filled wash, taking a few visitors with it (okay, that one’s actually my fear, not hers…).
To those of us watching her, all of her fears seem unfounded. Her creation is nothing short of spectacular. Tons of people will come, and all will be amazed at her talent, creativity, and her far-reaching imagination. But she works endlessly to ensure her fears will not materialize. And that’s what separates Catherine from the rest. Many are paralyzed by fear, while others are driven by it.
The great Arthur Ashe summed it up perfectly when he said:
Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.
And 83 days from now Catherine can release her fears and enjoy seeing the fear she elicits in each and every unsuspecting guest of the Macabre Inn.