In keeping with my desire to be more fearless I decided it was time to play some rated games again. So I set up automatomatch on KGS for slow rated games up to 2h, and played five in a row. I watched my rank drop one stone per game up until I won the last game of the five games.
After losing four even games in a row I was not thrilled with having to give two stones of handicap in my fifth game. But I felt considerable better about it when my opponent's first move was to directly contact my first move, which I had played at a hoshi point. I felt as if I might have the conceptual upper hand.
I won that game by 30.5 to solidify my rank at 12k, which is one stone lower than my AGA rating. I feel so normal now, and liberated too.