Fear is a friend. She’s been by my side for as long as I can remember. While most friends tend to drift away or come back into my life sooner or later, she’s never wavered. No matter how safe a country, city, street or home is, she’s taught me to regard all men with suspicion, to keep them way beyond arms length until they pass the test they didn’t know they were being evaluated on. Every time I begin to doubt her ways and pay her caution no heed, I’m reprimanded with unpleasant encounters, both real and imagined. It isn’t enough being stared at, brushed against, catcalled or whistled to, my mind constantly attacks me as well – are you walking fast enough, are your clothes desexualised enough, potential problems scanned and possible weapons identified? Fear has taught me to know which group of men must be walked past with head held high, pretending to be unaffected by the likes of them, and to which groups I must lower my eyes and pose no challenge. She’s by my side even when I refuse to let her dictate my life. She’s there, at the back of my mind when I’m determined not to care. She corrupts every touch and second-guesses every move. Fear is annoying and almost always irrational, we have a complicated relationship, but it works because of that one time in a hundred that she might be right.
Sitara is part writer. Part scuba diver. And is always on the lookout for more portals to a fictional world where all the magic and dragons exist.