I have been terrified of everything. For forever. As a hypochondriac of the mental health persuasion, I’ve attributed these fears from everything to either amnesia (of some unknown childhood trauma) or to basically the entire current volume of the DSM. When I was little, I would listen to audiotapes before I would go to sleep to avoid any potential nightmares. I would memorize Bible verses that had anything to do with feeling afraid. And at the time, these techniques really helped.
Let me add here, that there are obviously normal healthy fears, the kind that prevent us from doing foolish things or help us avoid potentially dangerous situations. I have discovered though that my unhealthy fears have at times precluded me from being an active participant in my own life. The first time I realized this was in high school. My cousin was in town and we were going to an amusement park, where I was decidedly NOT amused. I rode ZERO rides and then become the designated purse/jacket holder. It was at this moment in my life that my fear of missing out on anything fun actually trumped my fear of roller coasters. So, I did it: I rode all of the rides at Worlds of Fun that day. I was petrified before and during, but the adrenaline rush after the fact was worth it.
I had hoped that moment would make a lasting impact, but after doing some recent self-reflection I’ve realized that even though I’ve made some good strides, I’m still being controlled by my fears. So, here’s the deal. I’m going to start tackling these bastards one at a time. Any phobia that I deem worthy of being overcome, I will post here to conquer at some point in the future. This will give me both flexible deadlines (helpful for my fear of failure) and leeway to not include serial killers, satan (real or not), doggy-nappers, and scary movies. There are just some fears that I am not willing to lose.
Here’s the current list, which is subject to new additions. I’m aware that some won’t make sense to you until I elaborate in the future. Just know they are very real. Thinking about any of them makes my arms go numb. And not just me, I told Nancy that we were going to go skydiving this summer, and she panicked right along with me.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, I present to you, my fears:
- Roller coasters (I thought I should at least get one shoo-in.)
- Spiders & bugs
- Running fast
- Haunted houses
- Performing/singing in public (Turning your co-worker’s random comments into a song doesn’t count and is completely normal.) 10/23/12, 12/20/12
- Karaoke (completely different than the above)
- Playing Rock Band
- Failure 10/23/12, 12/20/12
- Learning 12/14/12, 12/20/12
- Returning emails
- Bungee Jumping
- Auditions 10/23/12
- Shaming my Family
- Theater Interpreting
- My Basement
Not too long ago, Nancy shared a poem with me by Joy Harjo, which is much more profound than bugs and karaoke, but it applies perfectly to any kind of fear that threatens to govern your life.