Fear and Love in Barcelona

In two days I will be traveling roughly 3,800 miles to Barcelona, Spain. I am terrified, anxious, excited, and sometimes—literally—scared shitless.

I can’t remember now, why I chose Barcelona. I remember I wanted to go to Spain. How it came to be Barcelona, I don’t remember, but I do remember the idea that if you throw something out to the universe, you will receive an answer. Maybe I just believe in everything Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist taught me. Maybe this is my own dream quest—Barcelona kept coming up in my life, on the TV, in songs, in books. And so I decided to listen and take a chance on a crazy adventure. Why not go? I have nothing to lose.

I considered going on this trip with a friend, but I knew I needed to go alone. Why venture off into a country where I admittedly cannot speak Catalan, the region’s first language? I can speak Spanish well enough. I know not to say, “Estoy embarazada” because it does not mean “I’m embarassed.” I’m going by myself because there is a part of me that feels alone. And instead of sitting on my bed wishing that the feeling goes away, I’m just going to face it, and throw myself into a very alone experience.

This trip is about finding love by facing my fears. I’ve already tried to face some of my fears in the past few weeks. The funny thing about having a fear, is that once you tackle it, you realize it was never that big to begin with. More often than not, for me, the things I choose to minimize as problems, turn out to be things I shouldn’t have ignored. Good things come my way when I am myself, I am honest, and when I trust my instincts. I still battle insecurities and anxieties, but I am learning when to tell them to shut up, and I know when I have to face my anxiety.

When I say my trip is about finding love, I don’t mean I think I’m going to Barcelona to find a husband. I certainly won’t object to it, should some fabulous Javier Bardem replica enter the picture, but that’s not the love I mean. Fear is the opposite of love, simply put. Every anxiety I give in to builds my fear of people and my mistrust. Every problem I try to minimize—because I’m afraid to face it—builds my fear. And the more I feel afraid to live, to say what I need to say, to stand up for myself, to do what I need to be well… the more I veer away from love. Kindness becomes sarcasm and insult. Trust gives way to suspicion. Fear is a vicious cycle, a hurricane, and it obliterates any possibility for love to exist.

But my fears can be a forewarning—something that let’s me know a situation isn’t right, or something someone is telling me might not be the full truth. When fear overcomes everything else, and doesn’t serve as a warning to pause and think carefully—a paralyzing feeling that holds me back from living—that is the feeling I want to conquer.

My hope is that this trip will teach me that feeling alone is simply an illusion.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!