In life what holds us back is fear. It’s not always a I’m-scared-of-ghosts-and-stalkers kind of fear, but fear of learned anxieties. My recent fear has been the fear of wanting something I shouldn’t have – for the sheer, violent reaction I get around it. Acquired through an intolerance to a commonly consumed food item. All along I’ve told myself that there is light at the end of the tunnel – one day, I will overcome the problem (coz everything that comes must eventually go) and to do that, I will overcome my fear of discovering whether the problem continues to exist or not. As I watch others enjoying what is a normal right for them, I train my mind to accept that their reality is no longer mine. What exists for them, has ceased to exist (temporarily) for me. And now, when the time comes for me to try it again, to see whether I am still allergic to it, I am afraid. The memories of the reaction still strong in my mind, the sheer pain of experience still vivid, I can’t bring myself to try the very thing that I yearned towards. A phobia – acquired through a Pavlovian learning, if you must. I feel like a child again. I now start with baby steps. Trying one morsel to see where it will lead. The first bite that should have been deeply satisfying, exciting, even liberating, is a morbidly fearful one. Fear is a mental parasite.