I'm afraid by Shaina Feinberg

Some time ago, i decided to take an old rack with drawers into my new home. My brother owned it and it was full with his stuff. After deciding what he wanted to keep, he told me, i can through the stuff out. So it was standing full as ever about a year in my apartment until today. I went piece by piece through his stuff and discovered very nice things. One of them, i decided to keep was a "book". It was closed, and sewn into some kind of fabric with notes on each side. Nobody opened it yet and i was kind of curious, because there was a little text on it:


I was afraid to rip or cut it open. The seam is really neat and i didn't want to destroy it. But in the end, my curiosity won big time! And i was even more impressed in what i found inside. There were 75 cards of the size 8.5x4.7cm. All of them had a page number and nearly all of them some text on it. You can say it is a book.


Because i didn't want to explain or analyze the text, i asked the creator if i could post it here, and she agreed, and i'm happy about it. :) Every line represents a card. Empty lines are empty cards.


i'm afraid. i'm afraid of lots of things. i'm afraid of throwing up. when i think i might throw up, i lie on my couch. i usually quit breathing then. i panic. a real kind of panic. i get panic symptoms. those symptoms are: sweating, knit brows, racing heartbeats... ...trembles+shakes, chest pains, not getting enough air, feeling hot, dizziness and ... TERROR that almost paralyzing. i've got all of that. i'm open about my "condition". i tell people about it right off the bat. that way it's out there, you know? i tell people: "i get panic attacks". i say: "i get so HOT, my glasses -- they steam up!" a lot of people say: "really? that's insance!" some people say: "i think i've had one of those..." to that i say: "did you feel like you were going crazy?" "i mean it, really. Did you feel like you were going crazy?" most people change the subject at this point, or they look around. so... what else am i afraid of? [still thinking] oh ok. i know. here: i'm afraid of rats. i'm afraid of snakes, sharks, ghosts, aids, mad cow, being infertile, overdrawing on my checking account, terrorism. i'm afraid that i'm not funny at all, that my hair will fall out. i'm always afraid that someone is mad at me. when i was small, both my mom and dad would get angry at the drop of a hat! i was afraid then to do anything that'd set them off. so i held my breat a lot. i spent a lot of time in my closet back then. i felt far away and safe in there. i don't hide in closets anymore. but i still worry about people getting mad at me and i still hold my breat a lot! i'm afraid of not getting enough to eat... and of being fat. i'm afraid of being ugly and of being misunderstood. i'm afraid of illnesses, cancer, for sure. i'm afraid of this one virus that attacks your nerves. my friend, l. fraga, her dad has it. he has a hard time talking, eating, walking now. l. fraga wrote me a letter. in it she said: "i hate to see him now. it's so hard." then she said: "pray for him, if you pray." i don't pray. not ever. but just for her and for her dad, i tried it. i said to myself, i sad: "o.k." "i hope that l. fraga's dad gets better. i hope he can eat and talk and walk normally again. and soon because, he must be so afraid. wouldn't you be? bonus: what are you afraid of?

After reading this, i wanted to find out who wrote it. First, i thought about some kind of present from a girlfriend. It could be some kind of present, but it wasn't handcrafted by any girlfriend. I discovered it was written and sewn together by Shaina Feinberg (www.f-berg.org). She told me, she stopped making them about 6 years ago. My brother never went to America, he never visited New York. Where the hack did he get this from? Probably i will ask him later. The bonus were 8 empty cards. So i finish what she intended to start:

i'm afraid, i'm afraid of not beeing recognised or simply categorized. i'm afraid of shattering doors in the storm of heat, of built up anger which comes out and things which should never be said. i'm afraid of loosing friends because words can hurt. but not saying them even more.

I really, really enjoyed it. It made my day! :) I will probably sew it back together and give it to somebody else, if he/she needs it. Hopefully it goes on and on! Thank you Shaina. Thank you for this wonderful piece of art! so long