My earliest memory is probably of when I was around two years old, I was unabashedly chasing a cockroach down our pumpkin-orange linoleum kitchen floor. I must have been barefoot, wearing only a diaper and ecstatically giggling while doing so. Then, out of nowhere, the cockroach decided to stop, turn towards me and dart my way. My laughter turned into a scream of panic. I started running away from the cockroach, crying hysterically and afraid for my life.
I don’t like that my first memory is of a cockroach and not my mother. ( My mother was murdered when I was 14 months old. Read previous blog posts for more information about that if you’re interested). I also don’t like that my first memory is of fear. Granted, I’m from New Orleans where the cockroaches ARE big and scary. They also fly and are terrible at it. It’s almost as if these cockroaches are not supposed to fly… and they SHOULDN’T. There must have been some mistake in their evolution. Getting off track here, but that is my first memory and I think it’s very telling. No, not of cockroaches, but of brazenly going for something and then getting struck by fear, followed by me running away…crying.
Yes, I was a baby, but I was definitely bigger than the cockroach. Why was I so scared? And what was the worst thing that could have happened anyway? Well, the cockroach could have flown into my mouth which is fucking terrifying. But even if that DID happen, I would have spat it out. Fine. What if baby Dixie accidentally swallowed a cockroach? I would have thrown it up. Pooped it out. Anyway, that cockroach wasn’t likely to fly into my two year old mouth. My point is, fear doesn’t even make sense most of the time. Even if you play out your fear, play by play, one worst case scenario after the next, it still doesn’t equate to the weight that you’re giving it.
I have fears other than cockroaches. Sometimes my fears don’t make complete sense like the cockroach fear. Even though I’m committed to this blog, I am terrified of putting my voice out there. I’m afraid that I talk about sex and murder too much for an actor. I should probably just write inspirational posts about nature, yoga and something about small dogs. No one wants to hear what I have to say. It’s too uncomfortable. Plus it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m just an actor. Blah. Blah. Blah.
Also, it’s the whole story I attach to the fear. I’m afraid to put myself out there because I fear rejection. I tell myself that I’ll get rejected because I’m too fat or too ugly or because my voice is too weird. So, let’s skip all THAT pain and just hide out in my woman cave. Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, that’s easier.
But it’s not.
Fear is interesting. You can analyze it all you want. You can even conclude that it’s dumb. But the only way to get past it is through it.
Maybe my first memory is a perfect first memory. It’s a blueprint to living. It’s like…my objective in life is to stare down the cockroach and run towards it, guns blazing with a dirty diaper. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a fucking cockroach, anyway.