Not Afraid: On Fear, Heartbreak, Raising a Baby Girl, and Cage Fighting

Quotes

“Losing a fight is less about being defeated in a sport, and more about evoking the ancestral memories of what it means to be crushed by your enemies when your own life and the life of everything you love is at stake. If you let your enemies physically overpower you, they’ll conquer your lands, chop your head off, use your skull as a drinking vessel at their victory party, rape your women, and piss on the altars of your gods."

“I am trying to become more than I have been up until now. I don’t want to accept my existing limitations as an immutable sentence, or some sort of inevitable destiny. I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of being intimidated by conflict. I am tired of shrinking in the face of hardship. And when a horde of demons will burst out of hell screaming my name, they will not be impressed with how well read I am, or with the fact that I am nice, sweet and have good manners. The only thing that will matter is whether I can take everything they dish out and have any strength left to laugh in their face.”

“I crave authenticity. I crave radical honesty. I crave the freedom to embrace all of my experience—the great moments, the painfully stupid ones, and the many ones in between. I may be an idiot at times, and not always make the best choices, but I am done editing my life for fear how others will perceive me.”

“In the beginning was fear—the fear that everything that has a body experiences once it realizes we live in a predatory universe; a universe in which absolutely everything gets to be eaten… if not by the sharp fangs of a predator, then by time itself. And Fear became our God. And it began to rule over our lives, shrink our willingness to dare, and rob us of the beauty of it all.”

Not Afraid: On Fear, Heartbreak, Raising a Baby Girl, and Cage Fighting

Author: Daniele Bolelli

Buy It: Amazon

Entertainment Value: 9/10

Life Value: 8/10

Read If: You want the courage to look fear and tragedy in the eye, raise a defiant middle finger with a wry smile even as tears fill your eyes, and say “do your worst, motherfucker”.

Do Not Read If: You like identifying as a victim, and don’t want to get over the personal story that keeps you in a position of perpetual helplessness.

There are very few men who would admit to tapping out in an MMA fight purely out of fear, and seeking bereavement counsel in the embrace of a prostitute.  There are even fewer that would put that in a book.  But then again, there aren’t many people like Daniele Bolelli.  This is Daniele at his most vulnerable and brilliant.  His relentless honesty smells like roses amidst the bullshit euphemism we’ve come to expect from most novels.    

It is a story of overcoming fear and tragedy in his personal life, including the harrowing journey of an sensitive nerd turned MMA fighter, and the tragic loss of a life partner.  Through it all is a thread of defiant courage that will leave you truly inspired.  I found myself laughing and crying on alternating pages throughout the story, reading it cover to cover in a single long day.

Quotes

“Losing a fight is less about being defeated in a sport, and more about evoking the ancestral memories of what it means to be crushed by your enemies when your own life and the life of everything you love is at stake. If you let your enemies physically overpower you, they’ll conquer your lands, chop your head off, use your skull as a drinking vessel at their victory party, rape your women, and piss on the altars of your gods."

“I am trying to become more than I have been up until now. I don’t want to accept my existing limitations as an immutable sentence, or some sort of inevitable destiny. I am tired of being afraid. I am tired of being intimidated by conflict. I am tired of shrinking in the face of hardship. And when a horde of demons will burst out of hell screaming my name, they will not be impressed with how well read I am, or with the fact that I am nice, sweet and have good manners. The only thing that will matter is whether I can take everything they dish out and have any strength left to laugh in their face.”

“I crave authenticity. I crave radical honesty. I crave the freedom to embrace all of my experience—the great moments, the painfully stupid ones, and the many ones in between. I may be an idiot at times, and not always make the best choices, but I am done editing my life for fear how others will perceive me.”

“In the beginning was fear—the fear that everything that has a body experiences once it realizes we live in a predatory universe; a universe in which absolutely everything gets to be eaten… if not by the sharp fangs of a predator, then by time itself. And Fear became our God. And it began to rule over our lives, shrink our willingness to dare, and rob us of the beauty of it all.”

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