What you fear is rarely what you think you fear—it is what you link to fear.
~ Gavin de Becker
I’ve been thinking about this quote, and this concept, on and off for days now. My first love is, and probably always will be, horror fiction, and I’ve recently put pen to paper to experiment with writing my own. And what I find is that while fiction and life are reflections of one another, the same rules do not apply to both.
As a child I was sometimes frozen by my fears. As I have grown older, however, I’ve come come to realize that, exactly as the quote above says, my fears are not true fears. They are merely markers for things—sometimes deeply buried—that trouble me, that persist in worrying my mind. While I am unable to see them for what they symbolize, they keep a tenacious grip on me, but once understood for what they really are, they vanish.
But in fiction, the fears are often true. They can be, but are not always, markers for other things or other neuroses. They are that they are, and you miscategorize them to your peril.