Ever wonder what happens to the brain when it becomes afraid? You probably don’t, but it’s still quite interesting…
According to Smithsonian Magazine, the fear reaction starts in the brain and spreads through the body to make adjustments for the best defense or flight reaction. The fear response starts in a region of the brain called amygdala, a set of nuclei in the temporal lobe dedicated to detecting the emotional salience of the stimuli— how much something stands out to us in other words.
Research-based articles say that when triggered, the amygdala can become overactive causing the fearful person to exaggerate her emotional cues resulting in things like overconfidence, unclear thinking, hyper-alertness, anxiety, insecurity, jealousy, feeling threatened (even when the threats are perceived and I’m actually safer than I realize), yelling, or aggressive non-verbal communication/ body language/ silent treatments.
My fear reactions landed me on a therapy sofa back in 2018, and like for real for real, I have made incredible progress in how I respond to fear stimuli and day-to-day triggers (rather than react to those things).
It is believed that “our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.” That it is not our darkness, but our light that frightens us. And so goes the quote: “We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Who are you not to be?”
Who are we not to be great husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, friends, colleagues, neighbors, employees, bosses, leaders, artists, creatives…
to not want to be protected, ultimately, but to ultimately know that it is God who is protecting us (and God is not and never will be inconvenienced by that)
to not be aware of our trauma responses
to not be seeking knowledge
to not be pursuing justice
to not be living the dream
Who are we to not be the generational curse breakers
to not be well, sober, and free of addiction
to not be healthy, happy, and having the time of our lives
to not be vigilant when it comes to our healing
to not be deserving, disciplined, dutiful
to not be truer, softer, sweeter
to not be beautifully imperfect and improving
Who am I to not be my black self, my southern black self, my southern black female self, mocked by man, chosen by God.
Who are we to not be whole human beings.
Clinnesha is a wife, mom, daughter/sister/auntie, literary artist, humanities scholar, and social entrepreneur. Her advocacy work is at the intersection of black/feminist thought, arts, culture, and community. She is currently promoting her book of personal narratives, Serenity Everyday, a passion project adapted from this blog.