Home ought to be a safe haven, where one can always return.

I was born in Lapland, behind the mountains. I was born in sauna, naturally, because hospital was quite faraway. My old aunt acted as a midwife.

But my mother fell ill, and they had to take her to the faraway hospital, by reindeer, while I was taken to the neighbour. There the housewife nursed also me, along his own son, and because of that I had a strange mental relationship to my relative boy through my whole life. I always knew what would happen to him, sensing even his death.

At first, my childhood was just moving from one place to another, following my mother’s work as a teacher. My father herded reindeer, and went to the front when the war began. From my childhood, I remember odd walls, odd people, and fear.

Finally the war began. We children had labels around our necks, and mother herded us into a lorry, that was crammed with wood, so that they wouldn’t see us from airplanes. Horrible fear and the sound of bombing were stuck into my mind forever.

We children were shoved here and there, bathed and vaccinated. We were like beasts, without our own will and freedom. I wish I had a peaceful home, where I could have spent my childhood. Waking up in the morning, my mother would have prepared breakfast, that is, there would have been warm ambience there already in the morning. In my opinion, the beginning of the day is the most important thing, with the presence of at least one parent. I cherish those rare moments when the family gathered for meal. There we could discuss shared matters and plans. But now I could only dream about the old times.

Finally the war ended, and we came to the town, where the church was the only thing still standing. My mother’s home village was not burnt. My father came for me by reindeer, and he had hidden my titbit, Koskenlaskija cheese, into the sled. We were able to settle down at my grannie’s. My mother stayed at home, taking care of it and me, since my father had built a little house next to the mountains. I loved to come home that was warm, always. It smelled bunnies and delicious food.

I went to school to a strange town, living in a small room of a pensionate, with my friend. On Sundays I visited home, although quite often I had to walk or ski long distances. Buses didn’t drive to my home village. Two ferries and a bad road didn’t make it easy. Many times I had to cross the river by boat, and the land in-between I walked.

But I loved to come home always. Sauna was hot, and one could feel the warmth lingering in the air. My father was also at home, often, sitting in the rocking chair, singing Lappish songs. My mother was always singing. I remember a big class-room and the sound of harmonium, the great chords of hymns and the resonant notes of my mother’s beautiful and bright voice in the everyday life of the cold North.

My studies took me farther and farther away from home. My father died and I took my mother to my home, where I couldn’t realise my ideal home. I was a workhorse. Often I worked without pause. My husband was working, and my children had key hanging around their necks. Maternity leave didn’t exist.

The flat in an apartment block, with many generations, was not worth of home. My little son benefitted a lot from my paralysed mother, who had a respect for life values, though. She taught him to sing, discovering his musicality. Wide-eyed, my son listened to her stories of Lapland in the old days, the home there, and the progress from witchcraft til modern times.

My teenager daughter didn’t like grannie’s taste of music. Grannie didn’t want to listen to youngsters’ music at all. Still, my daughter used to sing religious songs too, took piano lessons, played guitar etc. The wide age gap between the generations was a bad solution in the city life, but I hadn’t other choice. My mother’s illness got worse, she desired peace, and she got a room in an institution, where she was taken care of 24 hours a day. I visited her every day, even during the lunch hour. Finally, she was located into infirmary, where my music-studying son went singing with his friends.

With my son, we took my mother in her wheelchair to her old home in Lapland, and she said to my son, who was bringing her back to the hospital, that it would have been great to visit Lapland once again. Lifting his heavy grandma, my son said, that it was grannie’s last visit to her old home.

Now, when our family has broken apart, my daughter living elsewhere with her family, my student son quite often even abroad, my mother, father and husband on the other side of the border, with warm feeling I remember the time, when there was a home with mother and father, hot sauna and lap, that offered shelter from everyday life. I have not been able to offer my family the real homely warmth I myself could enjoy for a moment in my life.

Pseudonym “Modern home just a passing place”


Oddly, I’ve begun to be afraid of the upcoming death, when, quite soon, I’ll be sixty. Or actually, I’m not afraid of the death itself, but the thought, how I’m going to die, makes me scared. Will I suffer, will I bother my nearest ones? I’m afraid that I will cause not only sorrow, but trouble, too. Other fears I don’t recognize.


Hearing about my horror of snakes, you asked me to write about my fear. With pleasure, I share my experiences, and feelings about this irrational fear, that sometimes even limits my actions and my life.

Fear as an emotional state and experience differs from fear as a thought, or possible emotional state, or reaction. It differs from fear as a vague state of mind, that, kind of, prepares us for some obscure strange thing that may happen in the future.

But first about my horror of snakes. I’m afraid, or better said, I abhor snakes more than anything else. I don’t know exactly, from where this unreasonable emotion originates, but I’ve got it for a long time, already in my childhood. I’m not afraid of the snakes’ toxicity, or that it bites, being dangerous in that way. Simply, snakes and me don’t belong to the same world, the same space, in no way. Thus, I’m afraid of snakes as a concept, as an entity – and I know it is irrational.

In woods, and on summer cottage yards I go always very carefully, stamping the ground in my rubber boots. I’m annoyed that snakes don’t hear and fear of screaming; it would be so much easier to just yell the snakes away than to throw big stones, and stamp as hard as one can. (Welcome to forest excursion with me.)

I recall seeing my first snake in nature in July 2010. I was sitting on a cottage pier in the morning, Jarkko had come along a bit after – the others were still sleeping. I was biting a nectarine, when suddenly an indistinct bawl came out of my mouth. I froze on my spot, pointing the water. There it wriggled, head above the surface. Still, remembering it, I get cold shivers, and would like to lift my feet up from the train floor. Later Jarkko told that he had thought my nectarine was rotten. In the evening I couldn’t even think of going to the pier, not to mention swimming in that river.

The second time I came across with a snake at a cottage, where nobody had seen snakes for decades. Once again I was alone, going to my morning swim. This time I froze on the narrow bridge between two rocks, the snake was splashing about next to the rock we used to go swimming from. I couldn’t move, and no sound came out of me, although my mouth was wide open, and I had a huge urge to scream. My eyes were running water. I felt I lost the control of my body, and I was somehow outside of it. When I finally managed to move, and went back to the cottage, still panicking and confused, and tried to tell what I had experienced to my friend who was slowly waking up, she didn’t want to believe what I was saying, because there were no snakes at their cottage.

The snake spent that summer in its home next to the swimming rock, and I met it many times there. I didn’t dare to go near the rock alone, and I hardly swam. The following summers I never enjoyed swimming at that cottage; the emotion of fear that experience left in me – sort of affective memory trace – was too strong.

After these occasions, especially the latter one, I have been slightly afraid of swimming in natural waters, and I must splash the water when going in there, so that the snakes would know that it is my turn, and they should keep away.

The third snake I came across to was not in nature, properly speaking. It happened in a sauna hut. The others were still cooling off on the terrace, while I opened the door behind the corner in order to get dressed. Opening the door, a loooong black snake wriggled away from me (thank god!), and at least as fast I went to the opposite direction (that is, up above the terrace railing). This time I didn’t stay silent. The others didn’t see the snake. Few dared to doubt if I saw it really. After this meeting I’ve been inside that building once, extremely frightened, and I couldn’t calm down and enjoy the sauna, thinking all the time when I can go away from there – although it was mid-winter, and snakes deep in their holes in winter torpor.

My snake fear is totally irrational, it has nothing to do with my knowledge or understanding, and it applies equally to vipers, grass snakes and even slowworms. My fear goes beyond my awareness, it is a primitive panic, that takes over my mind and body, and does not ease nor wear off by explaining or relying on facts. – With fact I mean, that snake is not dangerous to me, and it rather flees than attacks. – But my fear is not based on danger, there is something else behind there, I don’t know what. (It isn’t original sin either, although I guess that the cultural background of snake horror has powerful influence on my horror too.)


We are afraid that we die loveless and without any kind of fulfillment of life. We are afraid that we die without being alive before that. That is to say, we are afraid of not being alive. We are afraid that no one ever recognizes us as such as we really feel we are. We are afraid that we don’t dare, before we die, be honestly and fully our whole self. We are afraid that no one nowhere is missing us. We are afraid that we are very scared and that we never, ever dare to be brave. We are afraid that fright takes us over. We are afraid that we can’t express what we really feel. We are afraid of snakes. We are afraid of big spiders. We are afraid that our children get carbon monoxide poisoning and die.


What does fear bring to my mind?

Often, you’re asked, ”What are you afraid of?” I think that more important question is ”Why are you afraid of that what you are afraid of?” It is an essential question in a human being’s growing and developing, offering tools to win the fear.

My life philosophy is based quite largely on Eastern traditions, and in my opinion their central maxim is to relieve oneself of fear, desire and anger. These three make people suffer, too, because basicly all problems are based on them.

Usually, a person is afraid of losing something; property (one’s house burns down, the value of property decreases), beauty and/or health (fears connected to body), loved ones (every human relationship ends either to death or split).

The unchallenged fact is that everyone of us loses that all when we die; body, property and all the loved ones. That is to say, these losses should be accepted as part of one’s life, but the majority of people don’t want to recognize or at least think of this fact. Life is giving up, really.

Desire/devotion is firmly connected to fear. The flip side of both desire and devotion is the fear of loss. Quite often the new and strange are more frightening than the old, familiar and safe. On the other hand, everything keeps changing all the time. A person and human mind tend to cling to. Clinging to something is wrong kind of devotion, desire. Anger, desire and fear effect firmly on each other.

A story about my own fears

I was at an art camp on the other side of Finland. I got an unexpected phone call, that my father had a cancer, and two months to live. Next morning when I was about to leave for to see my father, I got into hospital myself because of hard pains. Large tumors were found in my ovaries. Thus, my life and future expectancies changed completely during those two days. I didn’t have cancer, although for a moment I was afraid of that. In my close circle people tend to die because of cancer, even at young age, although I know that many recover too.

But because of the tumors and large and severe endometriosis my uterus, ovaries etc were removed. Furthermore the inside of my stomach was cleansed off the growth of the endometriosis. It was a huge operation, and it took long time to recover.

I am a sculptor, and I exercise martial arts and yoga. Before that morning I thought I was in the top shape of my life, and with daily yoga, I would achieve eternal youth and health. Instead, my body failed me, growing tumors inside of me. I lost my ovaries at the age of 36, causing menopausal pain from hell. That is to say, instead of eternal health and youth, my body began to age prematurely, and health was beyond my reach, for good. I was very disappointed in my body and yoga. In life.

When you are used to a strong body as a necessary tool both in work and in hobbies, a long exercise ban was unbearable. The large operation was really hard for the body too. I lost my muscles, and every movement ached in my stomach. The body was in shock because of hormone deficiency, and I thought I can’t sleep properly ever. All kind of minor defects occurred.

My life was challenging in many ways at that time. One can say it was hell. I felt that I aged hundred years in a year, both mentally and physically.

What was I afraid of, then?

Death, occasionally; that there were so many things I couldn’t do or experience. Maybe mostly of that that I wouldn’t anymore achieve the physical prowess I needed in work and martial arts. Visual arts and martial arts are the most important things in my life. At this point, I don’t even want to think about life without them.

That I couldn’t manage the obligations that were set on me after my father died. I was really weak after the operation. There was not too much help offered there, but so many things to take care of.

One of the most significant fears was the fear for my father. The care and treatment he received were, quite often, inferior. I suppose, we all are afraid of pain, and reportedly – no, I know it – cancer pains are the worst.

It was shocking to see how my father was treated by others, too. Deadly ill, he had to bring sick leave forms to his job. He had worked in that factory for forty years, had always been helpful and kind. When my father asked if the guard could take the form to the office, the answer was no. Father explained, that he couldn’t walk from the parking lot to the office, because he was in such a bad condition. The guards let, while sun-bathing and drinking coffee, my father to drive his car nearer to the office that time. After my father died, I wrote a complaint of it to the directors of the company. They apologized, that that time ”the company’s intent of good customer service did not come true.”

This is one of the biggest fears. That people don’t care of each other at all, that they don’t help those in need. Healthy, you get along, but ill and old, you are often at the mercy of others. Unfortunately, it seems like, that in our society a person becomes worthless, when she can’t work anymore, or is too old to work.

We die alone, and there no one can help us. I knew, that my father wouldn’t have wanted to die yet, and that he was afraid of dying and what happens after. I stroked my father’s hair, and held his hand, when his breathing, and along it, his life stopped. It is the last thing a close person can do for a dying one.

Dying, we lose our body and closed ones, not to mention the property. And none of us knows, whether one falls ill or dies in an hour, in a week, or in fifty years. That’s why all of us should have courage to live. To live in the moment, since no one knows about tomorrow.


Do I adore sun, fearlessly?

Fear is like a shadow. It follows you, but you don’t feel it, and not always see it.

I can’t name fear. I used to think that a dead person is frightening. Then I saw my grandma in an open coffin, at her home yard, frozen in 28 degrees below zero, and I felt only grief, not fear. Ten-year old boy thought that 60-year old grandma was already old, and her death a departure of an oldster.

Grandma went to the sky, leaving grief behind her. No fear.

Fear is a shadow that follows you silently. Fear is everybody’s silent partner, which is close, although you turn your back towards it. Fear doesn’t disappear by fleeing.

It is as essential to turn towards your own shadow as it is to admire light and brightness. Shadow has its form, that stops light. There is shadow in every stopper of a sunbeam.

It is right and blissful, now and then, to turn your back towards the sunbeam, and look at your shadow. Fear doesn’t leave the one who is fleeing from it.

Grandma’s corpse, in the coffin, was her shadow. In death the shadow stopped, but grandma didn’t stop. Still I remember, how she let little boy to press a varicose that was puffing out on her bare leg. Probably it didn’t feel nice for her, but he thought it was a funny hump. Grandma gave up her own feelings, giving space for the odd joy of the little boy.

The little boy laid only his grandma’s shadow into the icy grave. She left behind her a peculiar light, that doesn’t cast any shadow at all.

The fear of death went to the grandma’s grave – and has not ascended on the third day.

The holy book has it right, when it states that there is no fear in love, but the absolute love expels the fear.

Sometimes the shadow of the fear vanishes into the deepness of a grave, and won’t ascend. But only for the one, who turns and watches one’s own shadow.


What do I fear? What is threathening me?

In autumn 2013 I was fearless. I had fallen in love once again. I was ready to leave everything behind, including my children, and move to the other side of the world, just like that. There I would begin a new life with my new love.

Thinking it now, only six years later, I’m terrified. The person I was six years ago, seems like to be mad, insane. Could I have acted like that, really? I’m scared to answer yes, but probably I could.

Now I’ve become coward, at least in situations I described above. I’ve begun to doubt the concept of love, too. Such love, such falling in love, belongs to the top five of self-centeredness. It devours everything else that is around. It doesn’t pay attention to, nor thinks anything else but itself. I need it all, right away.

My childhood home was not religious but mom had stuck a litany of love, originating from the bible, onto the fridge door. I remember the idea of unselfish love that doesn’t require anything. And the idea of accepting the person one loves, as that person is. Unselfish love doesn’t scare me but am I able to love unselfishly? And not just my children. Maybe, some day.


I can understand my fears, although I can’t make them vanish, by reasoning. When I’m afraid, the fear threathens me, and engulfs me. The extreme shape of fear is panic – I panic, and I feel extremely alone. Why wouldn’t rational speech help, the good old common sense? Maybe because the fear is just a tiny gleam on a foggy sea of something, the size, distance or scale of which I don’t know. I can understand my fears just to the extent of that gleam. I can pigeonhole the fears in order to go on with my life. I don’t want to give all my living space to the fear, do I?

My greatest fear is that something happens to my loved ones. The life of an other person, of a little child, is something I can’t control or protect completely, ever. I am not afraid of that that whatever could happen, but that that I’m quite helpless in front of these things. I can imagine, that I can protect the other from the world, although in the end all I can do is to create a good enough image of a controlled life. I remember an old Jewish tale, where god always laughs, when we tell him about our plans, what we are going to do in our lives.

One schoolday my child disappeared. He didn’t come home, and neither me nor my spouse could contact him. What did the fear I felt that time contain? Order and control. I was afraid of the worst, and hoped for the best, like I could know beforehand, what the most terrible and frightening thing could be. What could have happened to him? I was hoping for the best, so that I could call my son’s friends, their parents, and finally the emergency centre. I was rational in order not to paralyze and let the fear seize me and not to vanish into an undefined ocean. I can’t comprehend, what the most terrible thing could be. Eventually, I didn’t have to face it, since my son was found a few hours later at his friend’s. He didn’t bother to call because they were playing and the battery of his phone was empty.

I don’t know what I’m afraid of when I’m afraid of that something incomprehensible happens to my most dearest one, something I can’t understand. All I know in my fear is, that my world would change or break into something, that no common sense could consider it whole or coherent.



Fear, what is it?

There are fears of many kinds, and they change during one’s life. Fear is a personal experience. There is no right nor wrong feeling of fear.

When I was little, I was afraid of dark. Always, I used to sleep my back against the wall, so the skeleton couldn’t go sleeping behind me. I imagined, that the skeleton is sleeping behind me, and sits up, peeking me from behind. I kept watching into the darkness, my eyes wide open and back glued to the wall, until I fell asleep. I wanted to keep the door of our room open, for the light of the neighboring room to enter, so it wouldn’t be that frightening. My sister opposed, she wanted total darkness. As compromise, the door was just ajar.

I was also afraid of that something happens to mom. What if my dear mom dies. Mom meant safety and love. In the evenings I always asked her to waffle on something, it made me feel safe. She didn’t know what to waffle, so she knitted a sock. The needles tinkling against each other was a safe sound. I knew that mother was near, although I didn’t see her.

As teenager, the fears changed. I was afraid of the third world war. I don’t remember if I was afraid of anything else. Such a careless time that was…

Becoming mother I faced a new kind of fear, fear that is unknown for childless people. It is the fear for the well-being of your child. You are afraid, whether your child has power to fight her or his own fears til tomorrow. What if I find my child lifeless in the morning, if her or his strenght to fight her or his demons in the night has run out, and anguish has won. Do I dare to sleep? Do I dare to open my eyes in the morning? Do I dare to enter my child’s room in the morning, and face that what is to be found there? Fortunately I have faced my fears, and have dared. At least for time being, my child has won her or his demons, one battle at time, and I’ve been able to support her or him, although it has not been easy.

The other fear I faced last winter was also connected to a loved one. Mother fell ill with cancer. How long can she fight against it? I took care of her every day. I was afraid of opening the door of her apartment. What will I find there? Do I arrive too late? Once again I faced my fear, and it was good. I was honoured to nurse my mother for the whole year, supporting and comforting her. I could see her fright in her eyes. But the end was not frightening, it was sad and wistful: it was an honour to be next to her when the end came, holding her hand, singing Eino Leino, and wishing her farewell.

Liisa Laukkarinen writes,

When the fear comes,

I go to the door, and see it.

I sit in the same table,

and keep it company.



The worst fears ever captured my fresh parent’s mind, when my child was born in 2017. Those have not come true (yet), but they snatched lots of energy from my brain and mental well-being. First I was scared, whether my child will survive, if I can keep her alive. Then I was scared, whether she has a congenital disease, or something like that, that will be found only later. And then I was scared, that breast-feeding pain won’t ever stop, that I can’t sleep ever more, that I simply won’t make it. New fears will emerge always, but one can live with them.

The latest fear occured, while watching the documentary film Leaving Neverland, where two men tell, how Michael Jackson abused them sexually, when they were kids. True or not, it made me think about my own child and everything I can’t protect her from, no matter how much you want. What if somebody would abuse my child? I don’t know what I would do. I wonder, if there is somebody close to my child, who could harm her in the cruelest possible way. Abusers tend to be closed ones, or what.

Still, the greatest fear is that we live in a world that is not good for living, that is to say, in a world man himself has ruined by causing the climate change. If we can’t get it under control, there is nothing more…



I’m writing here a scratch of some sort about my fears, opening my thought behind them. Some are ridiculous, even in my own opinion, some more real and more acceptable, so to speak. I could say that I’m not afraid of anything, if I was asked about my fears. Still, if I begin to think about the factors that control and restrict my actions, I start to find some.

I see myself as a nature person, declaring my love for nature, but in reality I always think, which twig a spider, tick or other repulsive creature is going to jump on me. I yell, if it happens. I don’t use a heart rate monitor on my rounds in the forest, because my beat is not high only because of my lack of fitness. I’m also afraid of that I’ll be caught of speaking alone. It has happened. I’m on a path, my monologue flowing, while behind me a cyclist waits for a suitable spot to pass. I’m afraid that somebody hears something that is not meant for anybody else, or that is not a finished thought to be presented.

At school, I’m terribly afraid of vomiting. On a long distance morning bus a person vomited to the back of the seat front of her, three times, til nothing was left. Luckily we were almost there. I also think every door handle and food scoop, that I touch with my sleeve. It’s stressful and wearing. In my opinion, some toilets are cleaner than the others, but really I can’t tell where the norovirus is hiding.

In a certain way, I’m also afraid of engagement. I suffer from the aftermath of a difficult relationship and split, and things are not yet worked out like I’d like them to be. Still, my understanding of a traditional romantic love has changed that much, that I see myself as a bitter bitch, yet.

One thing that creates the atmosphere of restlessness and fear in my life is, that I’m not sure if I will ever find the so called one’s own path in life. I could do whatever, but I can’t concentrate in anything well, in long-term, so that I could say, that this is it, or this is what I’ve done. But the life goes gliding and feeling as well, I guess. School and shitty jobs.

Staying alone makes me wonder too. I don’t want any children, because I don’t want to be in a position where somebody is depending on you, or missing you all the time. Maybe I compare myself to the other people too much, although I keep receiving feedback, that it is fantastic that I do things in my own way. My own experience of that is not so sure.


I loathe blood, it makes me scared! Seeing blood brings images of war, murders and suffering into my mind. I have not experienced any of those, and still, I’m afraid…

Blood is splattering when I switch on the television, go to movies, and sometimes in the theatre, too. Why so much blood?

Yesterday I saw a play, that hurled, in front of me, menstrual blood, a stomach of a pregnant woman that was torn open, a cut-off penis, and lots of BLOOD! I felt sick and wanted to vomit but was I scared? Nope – no fear!


Already for some time, I’ve watched the world and its ways from my current dwelling point. Off and on I laugh and cry. People hustle like ants in their hill, and think, some even believe, that what they do is specially meaningful. How little they know about the world, I think, while watching this compulsive bustle.

When one, like me, has followed the so-called human progress already for two thousand years, one realizes that a human being just won’t learn a thing. The same mistakes are repeated. Again and again. Many people, I can say, the majority, suffer and are anguished because of this. And soon they are ramming forward once again.

I would like to make this stop. Make room for change…


My summer wishes to you, Juha and Taito,

and warm thanks for choosing such an important subject for your communal performance. In a group discussion, it’s quite easy to talk about claustrophobia, arachnophobia, or stage fright. But when we proceed closer and deeper into human fears, it demands more to communicate honestly.

I was not fourty yet, when I heard how a loved and popular actor told about fears that had been troubling him for long time. He had medicated himself actively with alcohol, and it had led, quite naturally, into alcoholism. Hearing that AA report, I could name fright as my problem. Fright means being pathologically afraid.

In 2000’s there started to be lots of talk about psychological hypersensitivity. Then I recognized myself, fairly easily, as an oversensitive person. My challenge is that I’ve been living only on my own nerve cells. I can’t imagine, how it would be like to own a medium sensitive central nervous system or emotional life.

When almost seventy, my rugged father fell ill with neurological ALS disease, dying fast. I have never been afraid of falling ill with any severe disease, like cancer. After my father died, I pondered on, for a while and fearfully, my own neurological heredity.

Well, two and half years ago my left hand began to tremble. At times also my left leg trembles when in rest. Medicine talks about resting tremor. From the very beginning I sensed, that my trembling tells about something serious. Now I’ve got a fresh diagnosis of a Parkinson disease. I read on-line, that 80 per cent of ”Parks” fall ill with dementia, and 60 per cent with psychosis. My strong point in life has been thinking in my own brain. Curiosity, questioning, doubt, learning new things, open-mindedness. My doctor says, that tremor of my limbs can be medicated away. Suddenly I was not lazy anymore to go out for a jog. Actually, this summer I’ve hurried to go out for a jog.


Greetings of a fantastic midsummer week,

there is terribly lot of human fright and anguish in Finland too. Still, it is essential, how we control these wearing and energy-consuming emotions. I list my thoughts here.

I tell, in clear words, of my fear to an other person.

I go to therapy for many years, with commitment. There I talk about my fear, repeatedly, to a professional.

I get myself a skillful psychiatrist.

I read and acquire information about psychological phobias, neuroses and diseases. Especially, I focus in therapy methods and treatments.

So what! Fuck it! I’m not going to delve into self-pity, and not going to take myself too seriously. Not going to curl up. We all have our own skeletons-in-closets. Fright and anguish are my challenges. I don’t let them to govern me.

I support my peers. I encourage and spur others, who are afraid. Especially children and young people, since they’ve got a rich life ahead of them.

I seek empowerment and comfort from art. Music, cinema, literature, theatre and visual arts.

I seek relaxation and energy from regular exercise and healthy modes of life. I keep eye on my weight.

I stop using intoxicants.

I seek shelter from religion, philosophy and nature.

I keep distance from negative fellowmen, who don’t understand me.


My fright

I’m afraid of frogs. Have always been, as long as I can remember. Before I thought that my fear of frogs was just sheer disgust, but lately I’ve learned to recognize it as a startling fright.

Now and then I see nightmares of frogs, they conquer my yard and garden, croaking and jumping around, ruining all my plants. Sometimes, when I see a frog, I can sense the threat it breathes.


I’m afraid of waves and swimming. I can swim, but I guess I just don’t trust my skills in waters, where my feet don’t reach the bottom. Also big waves make me panic. My fear of drowning even makes it difficult to wash my face in shower! I never could imagine to dive, not even holding my nose. My worst fear is that I would drop off a ship, and be left alone in the open sea.

It would be nice, one day, not to be so afraid anymore, and to be able to enjoy the water.


My dear friend,

I want to apologise, that I haven’t written you for a long time, thus being a bad friend. This silence concerning the letters has been affected strongly by my spirit and state of mind. Now I’m about to give up, so this letter is a kind of last cry. I don’t know anymore what else I could do.

Darkness and anguish have shadowed my life since the accident of our friend. I can’t escape my thoughts nor my fears, and they torment me especially in the night. I’ve stayed up countless nights, trembling in my bed while fighting against this darkness. After so many sleepless nights I fall asleep after all, but I can’t rest, since my dreams are rotten and I see most horrible nightmares.

Whispers too have started again. I barely hear them, and can’t catch the words. Anyway, I know that they are a sign of something bad, and this frightens me in a completely new way. After those whispers started again, coldness has settled into my stomach and chest, and I feel how it is spreading to my limbs and head, making everything numb on its way. I’ve tried to fill my everydays with the few pleasant things I’ve still got left in order to suppress these bad thoughts and whispers, but in vain. They just seem to get stronger day by day, and I don’t know anymore how to fight them. Now I understand better what our friend went through during his last months. This is a hell on earth. I have stopped blaming him, like I selfishly did, for what he eventually did.

Honestly speaking, the thought of ending my life has begun to sneak into my mind. I’ve tried to prevent myself to think about it, but it is like somebody or something is instilling the thought in my mind, forcing me to think about it. I feel I’m on the border between life and death, in a kind of purgatory, afraid and alone.

Writing this letter makes me almost cry, but I just can’t do it anymore. It feels like my soul has been sucked off of me, leaving over only a bare, scared shell of a human. All the other feelings have been covered underneath the fright, and I’m mentally devastated. So I would like to meet you face to face, as soon as possible, because I don’t know how much time I’ve got left. I hope you have time to answer my appeal for help, and we can see soon.


Hey, how are you?

I’m fine. I enjoy beautiful summer days and bright evenings and nights. Since child, I’ve always been afraid of darkness, and as child, of ghosts looming there. I’m not afraid of ghosts anymore, but darkness, oh yes, and even tiny sounds, rustles, hum make my imagination spark. I’m also afraid of thunder and lightnings. Put those together with darkness, oh my!

I’ve always liked nature and going there, except lately I’ve started to be afraid of ticks. The joy of careless walking in grass, without full protection, has been clouded by the fright of ticks attacking wherever. Especially the tick with diseases, eek!

It seems like my fears increase and deepen with age. Nowadays, on and off, I’m afraid of falling ill with sicknesses, that my nearest ones have died of. Sometimes I think of those more, being more scared. As a result, I’m so terrified, that I start to be afraid that I won’t live my life flat out. Nice spin, or what? And fright that I didn’t have time to enjoy life. How can one beat that?

Anyway, let’s enjoy summer and the fruit of the poetry week. Art makes one live longer, without fear.

All the best to you.



I would like to tell you about my life through my fears. I’ve been afraid all my life. The object of the fear has changed with age and life situations. At times I’ve let the fear take over totally, paralyzing, and oppressively. Sometimes I’ve been able to live carelessly, but just for a moment at time.

Since childhood I’ve been afraid of darkness. Still, I sleep lights on, but I don’t think it is a problem I should get rid of. When sleeping with a friend, I’m safe even in dark. Once the 90’s hit, space aliens, kept me up. I watched, it was like self-torture, all the UFO programmes, living and breathing the continuous fright that the aliens would kidnap me. At some point the fright wore off, but it took years.

As teenager I was afraid of becoming outsider, and being different. Today, when thinking about it, I consider it has been my silliest fear, but on one’s way towards adulthood every child must live it through. It’s funny to think, that every individual, every different person, was afraid of being different, and wanted to be like the others. Externally, we succeeded in that, but I pondered whether all, separately, were fretting about the need of following the pack.

As a young adult, I became mother. Quickly, I adapted myself to the mother’s role, also the fears it evoked. Every night I woke up many times to check whether the baby was breathing. I do that still, checking the sleep of my cat, men, and almost grown-up child. I was afraid and still am, whether my child will get a good life. Will she manage, and find her way? I can wish, and give her my support, but I can’t really influence her life.

Vividly, I remember a summer day more than ten years ago. We were on our way, with a bunch of friends, to a car event, when suddenly I got horrified in the car. I didn’t know what it was about, but I had to get out. These feelings of horror began to pop up more frequently, getting more and more intense, and I was sure I was becoming mad. It was difficult to tell about it to anybody, so it took time before the diagnosis – panic disorder. Panic attacks, intrinsic need to run away, became part of my life for years. The fears related to them varied from heart attack and psychosis to anxiety of loneliness. But once I got to therapy, I understood, that I don’t want to live with these fears, and I managed to desensitize myself symptomless in a couple of years.

In recent years I’ve been doing better. The continuous living in fright has faded out, I believe it’s because of middle-aging, serenity and accepting life as it is. I enjoy that I don’t, necessarily, have to get distressed every day. I keep sleeping lights on, but sometimes I wake up to fearlessness. I’m thinking whether this causes a new fright in me. What if everything goes allright? Without fears, does life become empty, and do I lose my excuse to go forward in my life? I believe that soul-searching helps me with this. Everybody’s afraid sometimes, so I guess I can sigh of relief, probably. The old friend won’t disappear completely.

Thank you that I could tell about my fears. It is good to remember where I have left from, and where I am now. I enjoy writing, thus parsing things in my mind. There will always be a place for my fears, but also lots of courage to receive life, with its new challenges.


Common challenge

The slave of the past,

chained to its emotions.

Protected by invisibility,

energized by cowardice.

The coldness of the death

sneaks into the body.

Stiffens the limbs,

freezes the blood.

”No!” the mind is screaming.

”Fear won’t seize me.”

One can sense falsity and affectation everywhere. Nobody dares to express a genuine opinion, no one may be insulted. We’ve got awareness, although we are almost totally empty inside. With fear, everyone is trained by the same incorrect formula. We’re enslaving ourselves by the artificially created time. The most important moment is now. Our every thought and deed mold the common reality, our story. Do we dare to defeat our fright?

The truth is revealed,

the agony of the world.

Let the courage win,

the images of the future


As child I was not afraid of darkness, and still I was. Back then we didn’t have street lights nor light pollution. I lived farther north than now, in the country, in such a dark place that I didn’t know other. A bit later I began to be afraid of darkness and imaginative figures it created. They were born only in relation to the light. If it’s always dark, monsters won’t wake up.

I was afraid of pain, violence, and my alcohol-stinking father, who was capricious and violent. Mother was afraid too, but she nurtured her fright by drinking herself unconscious. Thus she closed the everyday from her life. Beatings, bloody fist fights, and us children. My mother (as well as my father too) died years ago, but still sometimes I hear her slurring, telling me something, giving me advice, with her sobering-up voice. But sometimes I think I’m speaking with the same voice myself.

I was afraid, when one night we children were taken into custody. Every second was new and scary, out of control. Although I hoped for change, I was so afraid of it, that I used all my strenght and aggression to fight it off. It was not fright, it was horror. I clawed and kicked the social welfare officers, screaming like a small animal, but there were too many of them. I was only eight. In the morning I woke up in Helsinki, and the first thing I saw from the train window was the Linnanmäki Ferris wheel. I think amusement parks are obnoxious, corny places. Sad and cold.

Before I thought I was afraid of death, but our relationship has changed with the years. The older I become, the more frequently it visits me. The worst deaths are the suicides of my brother and my best friend. Processing them took time. It is life. I’ve comforted myself thinking, that suicide is a solution among other solutions. When a person has succeeded in their solution, I assume they have achieved peace. When the decision is one’s own, afterwards if-ing is useless. One can long and remember, quietly and safely. Although one gets used to dealing with death and sorrow, it hits again and again. At times closer, at times farther away.

The only death I’m afraid of is that my child dies before me. A teenager, going about in summer night, doesn’t remember to tell where she is always. In the morning of New Year’s Day I was afraid with my whole body, that something has happened. The New Year is an agonizing and futile festival, following the long xmas holidays, which are spent with the family and which gather emotions from love til pure hate. The New Year is erratic. The child returned from her trip, and I noticed that, for long, I had gathered a lot of worry and fright inside of me. Fortunately it discharged naturally.

I felt the fear as pain, ache and heady fatigue both in mind and body. It was followed by a sheer love and relief. And a small wish, that the life of my child would be, somehow, more bearable than my own had been. That my fright of not being a mother and human enough would be vain.


Dear fear,

I’m afraid of darkness, because imagination really starts flying then. I’m afraid, that a person appears from the darkness, with bad intentions. Since childhood I’ve been afraid of you, especially when I was small, and it was dark at the cottage in the winter. Still, as grown-up, I’m afraid of darkness. Could you wear off, fright? What skill should I learn in order not to be afraid of you anymore?

Regards, scary Tuula


Dear acrophobia,

I’m afraid of you, especially on mountain roads, if I don’t drive myself. I know, that you visit many people, now and then. Could you pass me, since you’ve got so many places to visit

Waiting forward for your letter,



Dear fear,

every day I’m afraid that the screen of my mobile phone gets broken. I’ve seen nightmares of this, often. I’m also afraid, that my phone gets wet and breaks. This is a regular nightmare, too. Could you, please, ease a bit, fear? Why are you doing this?

Waiting forward for your quick answer, fear.

Best, Joonas


How do you do!

It feels sarcastic to begin a letter about fear, asking how do you do. My fear is an insidious disease, that keeps searching, tirelessly, for a spot for a new metastasis. It is gnawing me, making me restless. The most I fear, whether I’ve ever got time to live without fright. I’ve been sifting myself for years. Peeling the layers of my experiences like one peels an onion. As child I was afraid of my drunken father, and mother who went to visit somebody and didn’t come back; the parents rowing, and their bed groaning. It was the sign of reconciliation, once again. Once again they had shoveled soil on top of the issues that were never discussed. I was afraid of the hell’s fiery lake, where you are going to drown, if your faith wavers. Aunt Kylli loved me, no doubt about that, but her conditions were tight. One must go to revivals, and keep contending. My parents didn’t talk about love. Being obedient was enough. One mustn’t be a source of concern. I was already fourty, when I realised that I had been always afraid of abandonment. I had tried to reject my fear with countless ways. I had been diligent and helpful, a grade-A girl. I didn’t cry. I was independent, taking responsibility also for the others. I stepped out from the revivalism, in a civilized way, and my father disappeared, by his own choice, from my life for 15 years. I chose a profession, where I taught people to control their stage fright. I spoke fluently and convincingly to groups of people. I survived my own child’s severe illness. The other child I protected in my womb from premature birth for half a year, 175 km from the nearest hospital. I was performing my life laudably. And still I fell in darkness. On the therapist’s treatment table I kept crying, forever. I was alone, and stranger than ever before. We had moved to Kajaani because of my husband’s job. Fortunately, the Kainuu community didn’t accept me, since that cry started a journey, the purpose of which has become stronger year by year. I’m on a journey to tame the fear. I want to know my fear, explore it and let it go; to reach joy, peace and freedom. The same words were used by the familiar preacherman of aunt Kylli. Are we on the same journey after all?

Today, I’m afraid of getting tired. I’m afraid of exhaustion, that don’t let me sleep, and makes me reluctant to do anything. It has already marked me. Metastasis. As middle-aged I was crazy enough to study a new job, but I don’t find my place, although I returned to my home town. I don’t live in insecurity of temporary jobs. The town gave me permanent post, when I graduated. It shut off many familiar fears, lack of money, sufficient pension accrual. I got the health services and the right to further education, the recreation days of the workplace and the meals benefit. Still I’m afraid, that my strength won’t be enough, after all the negativity and resistance to change I’ve met. I’m afraid that I don’t have the power to get enthusiastic anymore and to progress. I’m afraid that I’m going to work with other burn-outs, who are leaning on me. I’m afraid that I won’t be enough.

I want to be enough for myself anymore. I want to feel this fear. That’s why I’m coming to the Poetry Week. I let the words and music heal me. Guide me. I want to continue my journey.



Of course, I’m afraid that something would happen to my grandchildren. The climate change, all the terror acts, wars and violence.

As child, I was afraid of bears, and my father perhaps, who raged totally in vain.


Childhood fears have followed me through my whole life, still now, at age of 73, they gush into my mind as vivid images.

My stepfather drank a lot, becoming violent when drunk. Mother tried to cover her bruises and explain physical injuries, but all knew what the life was like at our home. They knew because quite often I had to run away in the middle of the night to the neighbour’s. Mother urged me to go, because she couldn’t with smaller children. How humiliating it was to bang the neighbour’s door, asking to be let in, when I didn’t dare to stay at home. Of course, people were gossiping, my schoolmates knew, and I was terribly ashamed. I had to do my homework in that rough-and-tumble, it was not easy at all.

The constant fear was rooted so deep, that I was reasoning before where to escape. In summer it was easy to hide inside the culvert under the road that led to the hayfield, in the barn I could hide under the hay, or somewhere in the attic of the cowshed. But in the hide-outs at home I was to hear the brawl and the death threats. Still sometimes I catch myself thinking where to hide if I need to. Mother told me later, that a villager had informed the social services about our situation, and I was almost taken into custody.

I had thought I could get rid of my states of fear, when I went to study. I could not. Many kinds of states of fear and anguish accompany me still, following me like shadows. Medication helps with anguish and panic disorder, but only partially. How often I have really envied, for instance, my cousins and classmates, whose life has looked so smooth and happy in my eyes. That has not been true always. My cousin, for instance, told about her father’s groundless jealousy that had shadowed her childhood.

My salvation were the books and the school. In summer I succeeded in escaping the downstairs rage by burying myself into the world of books. I knew the Anni Swan books by heart! The school became very important for me from the very beginning, it was a point of honor to be in the top three, and so I was. As a laudatur graduate, I got directly into the university, conducting two degrees, and I worked as a teacher of English and Swedish languages in the primary school.

As adult I’ve began to understand my stepfather. Born in 1913, he had to live his best years as a young man in the war. Hardly none of the soldiers of the front returned home in good mental condition. Many wives and children had to carry the terrible load. Those scars are healed for a long time, still.



Are you still in need of fear stories, as child I was afraid that because both of my parents worked for the army, where to hide when the war begins. Mother worked in the kitchen and father was a driver. I watched the trenches and the pit where I may go.

I’m afraid of snakes and lizards, and I go like elk in the forest to scare them away.



I’m afraid of ordinary things, like insects, medical doctors, police, all the operations in hospital, blood tests, and dentist. Furthermore, I’m afraid of not so ordinary things, like losing the electricity because of the arrival of the nanomites (read Lars Wilderäng’s Star Trilogy, and you will be afraid, too).

One of my worst fears is the climate change, and migrations of people it causes. I’m scared that I’ll be alive when the crash starts, and so will be my child too, who will survive only artificially (as well as my husband). This fear connects with the arrival of the nanomites, of course, natural catastrofes and everything else, that will smash the order of our society, and destroy us.

I’ve got also loads of everyday fears. One could write a novel of those, but maybe I list here only a couple. Failing is the thing I fear most; it prevents me to live and do nothing at all. In my life, I get nowhere, and it’s a big thing if I dare to start a hobby (well, I’ve dared, but only such, where I can’t boob badly, by peeing in my pants, for instance). I’m also afraid that my mental illness and my neuro psychiatry will disable me, since as a young person I was really active, but not anymore, because I must survive the everyday life and work and must breath etc. etc.

I don’t really have frights concerning human relationships anymore, but I’m afraid of mother’s death, because then I must sort out so many things. I’m also afraid that my husband will find another. There is a person who would fit him quite well, but hopefully she’s got a man. They are kind of friends. If we have a situation on, and we’re doing badly, I’m afraid that he won’t find another, and then I can’t try anybody else anymore. Fuck, it took effort to write down the last thought.

I finish, because I must get the kid from the kindergarden. A current fright, still. I would like to try riding, but I’m afraid of falling down, because then I’m going to pee into my pants, and must go to toilet to change diaper. Someone must come and hold the horse, and then the other riders would know. This doesn’t make any sense, because the problem is so usual.


What do I fear? I am able to fear almost whatever! I’m good at that.

Fear is like a power generator, it makes me run, close my eyes, reach out my arms if I’m about to fall.

To be afraid is easy – has always been. An empty paper may make me explode, what here? Silence – may reveal mute dialogue – when I don’t have anything to say anymore…

the darkness of the night may bring to the light that what I’ve hidden long time ago…

the day that turns into the night reminds of ever decreasing days

The fear clings to me in the wind, in the empty house, in the light of the moon…

in its full power, it, the wind, takes me along, the lonely house, makes sounds in the neighbouring rooms…

the moon creates scars on faces, raises tree stumps to planters of death, shadows to monsters…

the dusk,

the hollow light,

like a cradle of horrors.

Quite often the invisible, inaudible, nonexistent – Fear – is my worst fear


The fear, like a screaming decibel

a scab pox that bursts my skin

an ugly and cowardly thief

eats from my bowl if I hide my teeth even for a moment

lurking my innocent moment, takes without asking

takes the drops, that would intoxicate me, happily

The fear, the hollow echo of my horrors, the against-the-grain stroker, the one that licks the graves

tears my throath, like a corkscrew, a spring that turns anticlockwise

covers my ears, eyes

closes my mouth

raises its head just when I’ve lied down

The fear, watches from the dark

twists my innermost to satan

makes me scream, and

just when I want to jump

cuts my wing feathers

choking my breast, that breaths life, to a convulsing knot

Nothing opens.


At the moment, my worst fear is that I’m not able to make art as my job. I’m an educated film maker, but I made art for 22 years, without technology, with children, disabled people, and people who live in periphery. Now my own children have moved away from home, and I realised I want to make movies, but it is not easy to find funding and partners. I’m afraid that I should focus in one art form, get better in that, and be able to provide something people need. Beside movie-making, I want to write and paint – I’m afraid that I’m splitting my strenght and time.

My frenzy to take care of the garden I inherited, and to pick berries take also my time. The garden demands certain actions at certain times, as well as the house in the middle of it, and the berries that mature in the forest. I’m afraid that taking care of the house and gardening and berry-picking gobble my time. The house is decaying, without my care, which would be a huge pity, since the house was built by my father and mother, being my childhood home, and it is the best place to be. In the garden I’m afraid that the monstrous buckwheat spreads all over, if I don’t exhaust it. It is a foreign species, that has spread itself on an area of 7m x 20m, and into the deepness of two meters. The plant is taller than me, and it has grown there, getting denser and denser, for at least 30 years, shutting the light off from other plants. I’ve managed to cut the plant on the ground, but I’m not sure if I live long enough to destroy it underground too. I’m afraid of RoundUpp alright, and I can’t even think about using it. I’m afraid that I’ll have a career of an unpaid land worker, not one of an artist.

Furthermore, I’ve got five dear children. I’m afraid that I should lose one of them, unexpectedly. I believe in the life after death, and it comforts me already beforehand, but losing a child is a blow I’m afraid of. Three of the five of them don’t believe in the life after death, thus I’m afraid, that when they die they will be so astonished that they won’t come to comfort me, or so convinced that there is nothing after death, that there will be nothing for them there, really. I’m afraid that my heart would break, if I couldn’t meet them anymore. I’m not afraid of the death of my husband so much, because I believe, that of all the people he is the one that comes to comfort me after he’s dead.

I’m afraid of my ex-partner, because he is not kind. I’m afraid that he starts searching for me and tries to harm me.


Dear Juha and Taito,

in nutshell, my worst fear is failing. I’m afraid of making mistakes, hurting other people, not achieving goals I’ve set to myself, or others have set to me, being criticized of something I’ve not been sure of etc. For example, if I see that someone is distant, I may think, quite easily, that I’ve made that person to feel that way. That’s why I’ve been too nice, perhaps, and let people to use me, or at least this is one reason in the background. Also I’m rather sensitive, although I’ve started to gain self-confidence, being able to stick up for myself better. On the other hand, the fear of failing raises its head, still, and now and then I find myself scared of what concerns our newly-bought first flat. Maybe the best example of this is that when we were about to buy the flat with my husband, I participated in a conversation about the climate change. A person stated that if the Gulf Stream changes its direction during the next decades (I don’t remember the exact timeframe), these latitudes become soon not so nice place to dwell. After I found myself terribly scared, if we did the right thing buying the flat, what about our home becomes a place where you can’t live anymore and we can’t get rid of our flat, because we own it, and that’s about the only thing we own, and must go somewhere else. Also I’m fairly young (will be 27 in couple of months), that so many things will happen during my life, and I’ve got plenty of time to see the climate catastrophe. On the other hand, the change of direction of the Gulf Stream is such a thing, that it will cause reactions on higher levels, and it’s not something just on my personal level, affecting only me. It is just that fear can’t pay attention to these kind of facts. Such threating images make me scares, sometimes, if it’s worth having children, and how they will manage in the future world. That is an age-old fear, I guess, but I must say that the current state of the world with its ascending average temperatures and melting glaciers makes one scared, and should make too. The fear can avail things! It moves us, physically too, and sometimes in a good direction. I hope more people would be really afraid of what is happening to the environment.

Concerning our apartment, I’m afraid of few things too. I like it a lot, and in many ways it has been a good investment: it is bigger, better located, we are paying loan instead of rent, it is big enough for possible family growth, and we don’t need a car yet. Still, sometimes I’m afraid, if we have made the right choice. Am I sure the cot fits in our bedroom? Is it totally stupid to live in a flat heated by electricity. Actually, these are the worst fears at the moment. And what else, I wish we didn’t buy too old flat (-85, but the price was good and the condition pleased our eyes, hopefully nobody comes to tell other information), how the renovations are going to work out (pipes at one moment, updating of the bathroom), and what about the indoor air (one room is not meant for living, but the previous residents slept there sometimes, and we have stuff in there, and we are able to purchase reasonably good – price- and qualitywise – air valves to the other rooms). It seems that I’m afraid, since there are no absolute truths, whether I’ve made good enough choices. Many things relate to money also. Now and then I’m afraid, for some reason, that we are spending too much money, although there are many things, that we don’t spend money to, and in our two-person household we have the two persons’ regular monthly income. On the other hand, does it make sense to stay at home, being afraid of everything, sitting on the top of one’s whole property. Here I can add that obviously I’m afraid of uncertainty and failing, still.

My fears may stem from my nature: I’m a perfectionist. And surely I’m affected by my parents’ example. As child and youngster I’ve been so much afraid of being late, forgetting schoolbooks and failing in exams, that my routine was, on school mornings, to double-check my backpack before leaving the house; and I had nightmares how I am late and the last at exam, and I used to rewrite the same thing three times to be sure. And it didn’t help that my mother and father tried to say that less is enough. Maybe it is revealing that the average of my elementary school diploma was something like 9,6 or 9,7, of the theoretical subjects 9,9. The secondary school I finished with four laudaturs and three eximias, one subject remained one point from laudatur. Fortunately, I can note that my perfectionism has started to ease off, and for my pro gradu I got four. But really, as experience builds up, I’ve begun to see, that less is enough, perfection is not possible, and I feel better, when I ease up.

One thing I’m not afraid of is whether my relationship works out. Instead I’m afraid, what will happen, if my partner falls severely ill and/or dies. Sometimes I’m afraid for one of my nearest relatives, how she’s doing in the challenging situations of her everyday life. Luckily it has gotten a little bit better. I was bullied in the elementary school, but I don’t remember that very well myself. Maybe the mind precludes some issues. Anyway, afterwards I think I was afraid that I migth get hurt. Now I know that because of the fear I grew myself a protective shell. I remember a regrettable situation at school, where I, for nothing, mocked the others, was suspicious and distant, although beneath it all I wanted to be accepted always, and treat the others well. Fortunately, I began to find myself in the secondary school, with friends, and in the uni’s theatre group, and I haven’t needed to be afraid of anymore whether I’m good enough.

Many words for just the same few fears. Thanks for your time!


Dear Juha and Taito,

I thought of writing you a letter about my fears.

The most traditional fear I’ve got is the fear of dogs. I was attacked by a doberman when I was probably 9. It came out of the blue, and I fell onto the ground. I got two wounds, one to the side, and the other to the arm, and those had to be stitched. For a rather long time, after it had happened, I really thought that I’m not afraid of dogs. But then the same dog came across to us while we were walking our dog with my mother. Our dog ran to the doberman, and they started fighting, while I was already faraway, mumbling something nonsensical in my panic. But still, I didn’t believe, totally, that I was scared of dogs. The next incident happened, when I was maybe 13, walking our dog with a friend, and a strange hostless dog came to us. It behaved peculiarly, patronizingly, trying to challenge our dog. It became a fight, and I freaked out totally. Since then, when seeing hostless dogs nearby, I felt the fear rising, and I could panic in quite funny situations too. Later I’ve pondered, whether I could have prevented the panicking. Could I have behaved rationally, if I had to, that is to say, if I had been alone in those situations. Namely, there was always someone else there I could resort to. Now, as an adult, I’m still careful when there are dogs around, but I feel I can control my fear. I try to teach my own children, how to act with dogs, and don’t want to infect them with my fear.

My other fear is more abstract. I read once about Impostor syndrome, and maybe I had something like that at some point, or still have sometimes. It is a fear of being nothing, being a fraud, that all my accomplishments, like the profession, performances as an amateur actor, singing hobby etc have not been accomplished genuinely, not because of my skills. That the others have let me to do those, out of pity, or that I wouldn’t feel bad. Certainly, this fear originates from problems with self-esteem, that I’m working on actively, and as a result the fear is fading away.

The third fear, which I feel at the moment to be the most important and acute one, is the fear of losing control of a situation. I come across to these situations both in my teacher’s job and with my small children. The feeling that the situation is out of my control, that my authority is not strong enough, brings about peculiar and intense emotions, that I’ve started linking with a sort of fear. I don’t know for sure, what I am afraid of in those situations. Am I afraid of myself, what I’m going to do if I lose my nerves? Am I afraid of losing something, if I’m not in control of the situation? It is a wild emotion. How can something so innocent like the defiance of my own children or pupils, their will to try out, or the normal testing of authority and limits shake my own feeling of my dignity? Like it could wipe out my significance. Before my kids were born, I reacted to that emotion by screaming. Sure I tried to use screaming also after they were born, trying to scream my own significance back, but quite soon it was clear that it didn’t work at all, not at work nor at home. That was the point I started the great and important journey towards better self-esteem and healthy self-importance, that will, hopefully, benefit both my nearest ones and my pupils too, through me becoming a whole person. I’ve already noticed, that there is more humour and I’m more relaxed, when I’m not afraid of, in vain, losing the power struggle. Because with kids (your own or others), it is not about who takes it and who whines or who has got the power, but about something much deeper togetherness and mutual understanding. One must just dare to surrender to that.

Thank you for reading about my fears!


Swedish lesson at school: ”Läs texten N N börjar.” The horrible teacher repeated this sentence so often, that I will remember it for the whole of my life. One couldn’t hide between one’s shoulders. But the teacher couldn’t make me a performer either.


I am terribly afraid of sitting in the middle of the front row both in the theatre and in the cinema. I always sit in the back. If I must sit nearer to the front, I choose a side seat.



Fears are exciting. They are so many. The fear of pain is the first that comes to my mind; that I don’t want to feel the physical pain of folding ankle or cutting finger with a knife or kneecap going out of place or heavy headache. I’m not talking about really severe injuries or traumatic pain. Still, I’m afraid of pain, and it makes me to behave sissy-like, quite often. I’m not loading the word with negative energy, but I’m really careful, if I see that a mistake comes with pain. Maybe it’s normal, but I’m not easily persuadable.

This kind of fear is crystal clear. Then there is other kind of fear, too. Fear of losing something, for instance. I love my future wife madly, and sometimes in the night or other occasional situations, I catch myself thinking about her death. It’s inevitable, of course, but somehow the thought breaks my sense of time, starting to churn inside of me. It doesn’t last long, but the short moment when I think, how I’m going to react to it, where and when it will happen, and whether I want to keep living after. On the other hand, I don’t want to die before her. So, this fear feels quite irrational, because there is no answer to it, and it seems like, that many fears are like that. Maybe the irrationality makes it frightening. The fear itself is frightening. Here the death is not the worst fear but the loss.

I guess these are my everyday fears. Obviously my life is safe, if a possible pain and, hopefully, a distant future loss are my main fears. Naturally, there are big fears there, too, that aren’t too present or don’t bother me currently. I don’t want to lose opportunities in my life, I want to be heard, what there are, the fright of falling from a high place, but I’m doing quite fine.

Fears don’t bother my life, but it can be a two-sided issue. I’m living a safe, good life, but am I too much on my comfort zone. Should I fear a bit more, that is to say, am I too careless. In my opinion fears are talked about too little, people are afraid of showing their real selfs, that shy and vulnerable one. At least this is how it seems like. I think I’m not the brave one, but the sissier one. It seems, too, that my thought began rambling towards the end, so, I guess, it was enough, or what. I wish it helps you.


Failure is a difficult concept, and it is also quite hard to comprehend. Is it wrong to fail? How do we, as individuals, experience failing? Why is failure a bad and shameful thing? At least I am afraid of it. A lot. It is a strangling feeling around my neck. That’s why I don’t get started with a work. It is a monster, which is prowling about at dawn, but also when the stars shine bright. I hate being afraid of failure the most.

I wish I could get rid of this feeling, but it is not that simple. Who knows, why I have started to be afraid of failure in the first place? Why should I always aim for the perfect performance? This feeling holds me back, so I can’t either finish or begin. That is my fear.

Pseudonym biological creature


At least I have many different fears. I have phobias, like claustrophobia and acrophobia. I have fears concerning life and future, I’m afraid that I will lose a close person, or that other people get tired of me. Often I realise that I get paranoid on a dark forest road or when I’m walking outside in the night. Do I believe in supernatural? Maybe? Am I afraid of it? Certainly.

It may be because of the horror movies, that the first thing in darkness, which I’m always scared of, are ghosts and murderers. Still, I don’t think that I’m oversensitive to horror or excessively panicky, when watching movies or reading books. Only when I’m alone in dark, my imagination takes power.

I must have been the most scary small child ever. When I had to stay alone at home, that was quite tiny flat by the way, I was horrified. I switched on all the lights, radio and television whether I watched it or not. Now it feels ridiculous, but then my fear was real. I spent countless nights bathing in cold sweat, stearing the dark doorway. What was I afraid of? Probably monsters or ghosts or something unknown.



It makes my breath dense; one breath feels like drowning. The world becomes extremely large and oppressive in a second. This causes an adrenaline-sucking gloom, that spreads through all veins like cold shivers.

We all have our own fears. Your worst fear may be the loveliest thing for somebody else. And that is quite fascinating.


The future scares me.

I’m afraid if the humankind will survive the climate change. I’m afraid of the reports and news that tell that the situation is just getting worse.

I’m afraid of the matriculation examination, the first exam week, if I make it to the university or not…

Often the fear becomes anxiety. It cripples and overwhelms me. I start to cry always.


For me, fear doesn’t mean dark forest on Friday night, or boogeymen, or bloody horror movies, or some shapes jumping from behind the corner. For me, fear is a half empty glass of red wine, stairs that curve beautifully downwards, a carless yard.

Last autumn I walked to Tähtitorninmäki to cry, because I was so afraid. My friend asked, what I was afraid of.

I’m afraid that I become like them. Already I can see in the mirror and on old photographs our similar outline and shabby colours. My blood contains the nameless sicknesses, my grandfather died in this sorrow, that we carry in our family. I’m afraid that they will face the same destiny, that our familygrave will be full before my time to rest comes.

Last week I walked at Hietaniemi cemetery, crying, because I was so afraid. I’m afraid of happiness, it is not in my DNA. I’m afraid that the rug will be pulled from under my feet, that I will ruin their life.

Regards, a Torkkeli freshman


Fear is when you can’t speak out. When words get stuck in your throat. Fear is when speaking feels difficult. When the mere thought of it distresses you. Especially if you should ask or request for something. Simple question like ”Can we go out for dinner tonight?” It just doesn’t come out. It gets stuck on your tongue, when the fear of speaking hits you. Fear is when you are afraid of a negative answer. The simple and calm ”No” feels the worst thing in the world.

Fear is when you keep postponing the matter, you should talk about, to tomorrow, because saying it out distresses you. By postponing the anxiety grows bigger, and speaking becomes impossible.

Fear is when you don’t know where it comes from. When you can’t even guess, why you react like you react. Why can’t I speak or ask? Why am I afraid of a not positive answer? What causes it, where it comes from. Has something happened? If yes, what? Have I forgotten it, but somewhere deep in my brain it is remembered, causing fear? Fear is also these questions about my fear. When I don’t know, why I fear.



I think fears are individual. For some people, it means sweaty hands, for some, panic. Fears can be small, pointless. And they can be so huge, that one can’t think of anything else.

For me, fear means large crowds. A full bus, movie theatre or festival. I didn’t go to cinema for two years because of this fear. I want to get out fast, if I need to, but in a crowded bus or movie theatre it is difficult. First I get anxious, if somebody’s breathing next to my ear or coughing behind my back. When the crowd around me is so big, that I can’t move, the real panic attacks me.

I get dizzy, I want to puke, it’s like I don’t hear well. My heart is thudding in my ears, and I feel I don’t get enough oxygen. Finally, I step out of the bus before my stop, and wait for the next one.

Fear is not insurmountable, so maybe one day I can overcome it. It just takes time. And there is nobody in the world, who wouldn’t be afraid. Thus we can take some time, and explore our fears together.


My worst fear.

They say, that fear has big eyes, and this concrete fear had very big eyes in my childhood. I will tell you a simple story, how I became afraid of snakes when I was eight years old, and how that later goes together with my dreams.

My fear of snakes began, when, on a beautiful summer day, I was enjoying myself running about, bare feet, in our beautiful garden on Saaremaa, and suddenly I got an idea to go behind the big black sauna, where there were rabbit cages, to feed rabbits. I want to point out, that I was maybe five years old. So I went, took the most gorgeous carrots from my granma’s vegetable storehouse, walking running with quick steps, trying not to drop the carrots, towards the rabbit cages. When passing the apple trees, with still unripe green apples, I stayed there for a moment to look at them, then directed my steps towards the big black sauna. Going around the corner, where the rabbit cages were located, I noticed a high hassock in front of me, and something black and sharp on top of it. Being just a little, not so bright tyke, I went closer to take a better look. Getting nearer to the black thing, the viper saw me coming, it was sun bathing, but with half-shut eyes for tiny fellows like me, or actually the dog and two cats, who were the usual guards of the garden, but at that moment having their siesta, like the viper itself. Anyway, I didn’t have time to touch it, luckily, since, seeing me coming, the viper slithered away in the high grass, while I dropped the carrots onto the ground, and ran as fast as I could, with a bit wet eyes, to my grandpa to talk about what had happened. He calmed me down with his smooth voice, my big eyes disappearing into his soft but wide bear hug. Afterwards, I have watched my every step quite carefully, and do so still, even in the city, if there is high grass nearby.

Later my eyes got wide because of fear, while riding bike in my dream, running away from hundreds or thousands of snakes, and the faster I crank the more they get around and by me, moving ever faster and more aggressive. I haven’t had courage to make a stop yet, because I don’t want to find out, what would happen, if I did so. Mostly the dream has stopped, when I have woken up, and the running away has continued either in the next night’s dream, or unexpectedly after many months. At the moment I’m waiting, or not really, for the next time to run away from the snake army. The last time I cranked away from them was approx. one and half years ago.

So, now I have told you how my eyes get wide of fear, sometimes even in my sleep. I hope you enjoyed this story of my life.


My worst fear is to become totally isolated, without any contact to anybody anymore.


My worst fear is the fear of my own dark, unknown self. Fear of going mad, and not realising it myself.


My worst fear is to be left alone…

(It seems like cliché, or stereotypical, but when I feel that, now and then, for some time, I’m just waiting for it to pass away, scared.)

Ignorance is not half as scary eg.


Fear of height. I’m jumping with a parachute, and it won’t open. Fear of performing. I’m in front of a full auditorium, and I don’t have a glue what I was supposed to talk about.


I think, I’ve been most scared as a student before the exam period.


My worst fear is to look into a mirror, since I don’t know, what is waiting for me there.


I’m afraid of women.


Mäkelänrinne Upper Secondary School

9 December, 2019

Meteor Festival, Bergen

17-18 October, 2019

Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

2-5 October, 2019

Helsinki Upper Secondary School of Visual Arts

2 September, 2019

Kajaani Poetry Week, Kajaani

4 July, 2019

PREMIERE Hangö Teaterträff, Hanko

8-9 June, 2019

Open rehearsal, Toimela, Pukkila

27 May, 2019

Open rehearsal, Lainsuojattomat, Pori

13-14 May, 2019

Open rehearsal, Kanuti Gildi SAAL, Tallinn

11-12 March, 2019

Open rehearsal, Orimattila Art Museum

10 October, 2018

Open rehearsal, Kajaani Poetry Week, Kajaani

4-6 July, 2018


Hey, would you like to participate in the performance?

Write us about fear, what it means to you. We are very grateful, if you choose to do so. We’ll handle the answers confidentally, and don’t mention your name, if you say so. You can send your letter at pelko(at)juhavalkeapaa.net.


Juha Valkeapää

Performance is co-produced by