Next Stop, Fear Street

Bristol, PA. – 2021


That’s what the yard sign said. (A little aggressive with the all caps, I thought, but point made.)

So, I had a few questions:

“Where does Hate live, exactly? I mean, if it doesn’t live with these folks, here—and I’m sure it mustn’t—where does it rest its weary head at night?”

“If Hate is around—I mean, when it comes around, you know—what’s Love doin? Sleepin or somethin?”

“Wait…Is Hate a noun or a verb? If it’s a noun, how come I can’t actually pin it down to something—to some *thing*?”

“Doesn’t it always seem like Hate is doing something? Something stupid?”

“What’s the opposite of Hate? Is it Love?”

Okay, hold on. First of all…

Hate is not the opposite of Love. Hate is Fear, trying to pass itself off as something it’s not.

It’s Fear, having a hissy fit, thinking it’s really something special and important.

It’s Fear, disguised as that feeling of lack that moved in one weekend years back and squatted in what started out as a one-room flat in the basement of someone’s heart, before beginning to annex rooms and then floors, as it got fatter and more comfortable bossing someone around.

It’s Fear in a big, puffy-shirt costume, showing up and saying, “Please refer to me as Hate, from now on. Oh, and I’m the boss of you.”

It’s Fear, dressed up to look like Hate walking around. But the puffy-shirt costume is really the Emperor’s clothes, and Fear is thinking no one can see the truth of it all, what its costume is really made of.

“WE CAN SEE YOU, FEAR! Hello! You’re not fooling anyone! We can see right through you! All day!”

“The Seagull” – Assateague State Park Summer 2021

Fear is like an actor who becomes this amazing character on stage. The audience loves the character and totally gets caught up in the drama. As a result, the actor gets the great feeling of being somebody during the two-hour performance.

But when the play is over and this actor goes out into regular life, he still stays in character, still plays the part.

On stage, when the actor lives as the character, that’s amazing. In real life, it just becomes weird and pretty sad, honestly.

“I mean, who do you think you are?”

Fear thinks it’s the most important character of all time, and everyone should experience the inevitability of having to play it.

But, Fear is wrong. Fear is nothing. It is no thing.

Hate is not the opposite of Love. There is no opposite of Love, because Love is never NOT present. (that’s right—a double negative! Fearless!)

Love never fails.

Not because of a “promise;” Promises get broken. Love isn’t a promise; Love is what is.

A great poet once said, “Love is love is love is love is love…”

He went on to say more, but it’s those words that get stuck playing over and over in my mind, like a skipping record that keeps playing the best bar of your favorite song again and again.

Love is, love is, love is, love is, love…

(The commas do something to it. The pauses…time for contemplation.)

Love is what is. Hate is not what is not. There is no not.

Hate is just Fear, acting out and performing badly.

It’s time to stop giving Fear the stage time. It’s never a good show.

Peace to you.

Author: Scott Langdon

Scott Langdon is an actor, writer, and photographer living just outside of Philadelphia in Bristol, Pennsylvania with his wife, Sarah, and their dog, Watson. He can be seen on stages throughout the professional Philadelphia theater community or writing in one of his many favorite local shops in his beloved "Borough", where the only way they could get rid of him was to tell him there was a pandemic. He has a hard time knowing when he's not wanted.

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