Fear Factor

It was recently suggested that I’m afraid of the unknown.  I scoffed and rolled my eyes which is my response to most things ’cause I’m mature like that.  However, after some thinking, it turns out Miss Spontaneity has her limits.  Sure, I’ll buy a one way ticket and move across the country without so much as a bat of an eyelash but ask me to walk into a dark room and I’ll turn into a total Nancy.  Sorry Nancy.

As a former competitive swimmer, I confess that I am a water snob.  I don’t like bodies of water in which I can’t see the bottom.  Reason #2867 I haven’t done a triathlon.  Kinda like how I feel about sober January.  I could do it, I just choose not to because I don’t hate myself.  Not THAT much.

So let’s talk water.  Lakes.  You know, the water that changes temperature every step and has a slimy floor?  No, thank you.  There’s for sure an alligator under there somewhere, most likely a hippo.  The ocean.  Are you insane?  Beyond the fact that that thing is a giant toilet, there is more known about planets in space than there is about the depths of our oceans and its inhabitants.  Scuba diving.  An aquatic activity in which you willfully volunteer to get eaten by giant sea creatures.  Congratulations, you’re an idiot.  I don’t buy the theory that they are more afraid of us than we are of them.  That’s some rain on your wedding day mental mindf@$k BS.  Without a doubt, I would inevitably come face to face with a water-breathing fire dragon and have a panic attack under water.  I would die.  The end.

While I said no to scuba diving, I thought-I’ll learn how to surf.  I get to stay on the surface, no big deal.  I was out there for about 45 minutes and some animal splashed by me and that was the end of that.  I don’t care how many times I was told it was a penguin.  I know it was a shark and he was coming to Bethany-Hamilton me and I barely made it out alive.  Clearly I watched Jaws way too many times.  I watched Anaconda once, which was one too many times, but Planet Earth is real people!!

I cannot stand haunted houses or scary movies.  I do not like surprises with ill intent.  I like to be emotionally ready for what’s ahead of me.  I cannot do that while blindly finding my way through a maze of people just waiting to jump out and scare the crap out of me.  It’s traumatizing.  I still see the hooked-hand from I Know What You Did Last Summer when I walk through dark hallways alone.  I’m insane, I know.  I still check behind the shower curtain every night before I go to bed. I watched The Conjuring and had nightmares for weeks.  It’s pathetic.

Yes, I confess, certain situations make me extremely uncomfortable.  I don’t like driving in unfamiliar territory.  I have to look up the route before I go or I end up driving with the volume at zero like an elderly Asian woman.  Pick your stereotype.  I like to have a lay of the land.  I was asked how I would feel about going to a restaurant in which I would be dining in total darkness.  I laughed manically.  That’s a hard no.  I’m not someone who throws something into my mouth and THEN asks what it is.  I’m no Alice.  Sorry Alice.

Turns out the common theme among my fears is the unknown.  On one hand it’s good that I have boundaries and don’t go wandering down dark alleys.  On the other hand, I wonder if this fear prevents me from living my life to the fullest.  Has it affected my relationships?  My career?  My ambitions?  I worry my fear of failure has left me stagnant in many areas of my life.    A certain amount of fear is healthy but at what degree does it become irrational?  For someone who considers herself adventurous, this is a troublesome idea.

No more fear.  You gotta jump.  You have to take chances.  You have to be willing to forge through the darkness and have faith that you’re going the right way and that the light will find you again.  You have to realize that not every little part of your life can be planned out or foreseen.  You have to get outside of that bubble you’re living in and ask yourself if this is the life you want.  Change is scary.  Exploring is filled with odds that aren’t always in your favor.  Starting a new path requires a bit of courage and a lot of determination.  Don’t let your fears prohibit you from getting back up again.  Live out loud.  There will be surprises, there will be times you’re lost, there will be failure and there will most certainly be moments of fear.  The good news is that you will live.  I promise.  Unless you’re in the depths of the ocean, I can’t help you there…

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