EDITOR’S NOTE: South King Media Founder/Publisher Scott Schaefer serves on the Board of Directors for the Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce.

Fear and Audacity in the Southside

By Andrea H. Reay

October has always been a joyful month in our family. We celebrate a few family birthdays and Halloween, go to pumpkin patches and festivals, make Jack-o-lanterns, and go trick or treating. All of that feels out of reach this year as our community continues to grapple with the challenges of a public health crisis, economic uncertainty, and racial injustice. Even the idea of watching scary movies—something that just last year we would look forward to—now seems completely irrelevant. Why would I want to subject myself to more anxiety and manufactured fear when there is enough of that going around when I open my eyes every morning?

The fear is palpable in our community. There is fear of contracting a horrible illness that at best makes you miserable for a week or so and at worst could take your life. There is fear that our robust and active economy will slow to a pace that it can not be driven back to driving speed again and that small businesses—the life-blood of our economy and the soul of our community—will close for good. There is fear that the social injustices will linger in our community, creating even greater division and polarization, and that real change will remain forever just outside our reach as a society. That fear is real, and it is exhausting.

One of the ways I cope with anxiety and practice self-care is by watching movies. I love movies and, above all else, their power to transport you, even for a few hours, to another place and time—something that is a welcome respite these days. One of my favorite movies is The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a classic 1948 film starring Humphrey Bogart about two guys down on their luck that meet a prospector and decide to try and reverse their fortune by mining for gold. They discover the impossible and strike it rich, but ultimately (spoiler alert) fear, in a sense, leads to the loss of their windfall.

At the end of the film, Humphrey Bogart’s character, Dobbsie, is dead. Tim Holt’s character, Curtin, has been shot twice and Walter Huston’s character, Howard, just watched his last chance to “strike it big” blow away in the desert wind. Howard starts laughing, then Curtin joins in and says, “You know, the worst ain’t so bad when it finally happens. Not half as bad as you figure it will be before it’s happened. I’m no worse off than I was in Tampico. All I’m out is a couple hundred bucks when you come right down to it. Not very much compared to what Dobbsie lost.”

Fear is the unseen but omnipresent character in the film and, of course, in our lives—especially now. The important lesson is to not let ourselves be carried away by fear and the anxiety of imagining what “the worst” that could be. Rather than letting our fears lead us into our darkest selves after the worst does happen, we can overcome fear and hopefully find a way to continue to move forward. That audacity of the human spirit to hope, to persevere despite adversity, is our greatest strength.

Our organization will celebrate that audacity of our community to persevere on November 4th at our Business Awards Celebration. Yes, the awards are different this year. But, perhaps now, more than ever, it is important to recognize those organizations, individuals, and initiatives in our community that have stared down fear with hope and risen up to serve with courage. You can find more information about the awards and nominees on our website: www.seattlesouthsidechamber.com/business-awards

We hope you will join us and continue to walk with us as we work to support our community through this and every challenge and that you too are able to push past your fear, discover your own audacious spirit, and live courageously.

This article was written by Andrea H. Reay, President/CEO of Seattle Southside Chamber of Commerce, “A voice for business, a leader in the community.” Seattle Southside Chamber has served the communities of Burien, Des Moines, Normandy Park, SeaTac, and Tukwila since 1988.

For more information about the Chamber, including a full list of member benefits and resources, please visit their website at www.SeattleSouthsideChamber.com.