Thanks to Fear
I’m afraid of a lot of things and I’m glad. I’ve got fear to thank for many of the things I’ve done. If I’d been born brave, I wouldn’t have had to conquer fears. I could’ve sat courageously back and let the world pass by my cold, unwavering gaze.
Instead, every day I have to face my fears or do nothing. I couldn’t bear not experiencing life and so my only choice is to tackle my fears daily.
Fear has barred me from action, but that hasn’t happened for a while. Years ago, I got tired of living on the periphery of life, of letting my fears rule me, and so I begin living despite my fears. I started living with my fears.
I was a nervous, anxious kid, shy and quiet. As a young adult, I was withdrawn and socially awkward. To say I suffered from low self-esteem would be a comical understatement. I was the target of ridicule, of others’ cruel criticism and of my own stinging accusations.
Yet, here I am. Despite my fear and anxiety, and maybe even because of fear, my constant companion, I’m doing all right. I’m holding my ground in this world. Somehow I made friends with fear. We used to be on opposite sides. Now we work together.
Some of my recent fears
Here are some of the things I’ve been recently afraid of and did anyway:
- Getting my Twinrix vaccination.
- Performing with the local drama group.
- Setting up a new website.
- Recording a podcast.
- Quitting my job.
- Returning to university.
- Completing major assignments.
- Checking my scores on major assignments.
These are the big ones. The smaller ones are too many to list. We’re talking pages and pages.
Nothing to lose
I know that talk of death can sound morbid, but the reality of death has really helped me face my fears. Whenever I’m particularly afraid to move forward or take action, I remind myself that I’ve got nothing to lose because when all is said and done, I’m going to be dead. I can’t take risks or act brave in the grave. So now is the time.
That which scares me hasn’t killed me yet
None of the things I fear have killed me yet. I’ve ridden a million roller coasters that were steep and scary. I’m still here.
I’ve submitted articles and manuscripts here and there and everywhere. I received a million rejection letters and rejection emails. I’m still here.
I’ve taken plenty of flights, and I’ve whispered a little prayer and clutched the arms of my airplane seat during almost every landing. I’m still here.
It’ll most likely be something I fear that eventually kills me, but I won’t die because I feared it. I’ll die because the something I feared is something that can actually kill me. The usual suspects include old age, illness and accidental death.
Bravery isn’t for me
I’ve discovered that doing things that scare me doesn’t kill me. Instead, doing those scary things encourages me to do more scary things. Even if I’m not more courageous about facing fears, I’m at least more confident.
I’ve learned to accept that I’m never going to be really brave, but I also know that I’m a chicken who’s going to keep moving forward into those situations that scare her. It’s the only way this chicken’s going to fully experience life. Thanks fear.