Facing Fear

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Busy Dark Spiral Staircase

I saw a beautiful thing on the Internet: a boy who has been blind since the age of two skateboarding.

Now I have been on a skateboard, as a teenager, aided by my best friend who thought everyone could stand on a thin plank of plyboard on wobbly wheels at the top of a hill at the top of the lane by her house and survive.  (Yes that was the same friend who put me (her non-cycling friend) on her Dad’s bike to cycle into the village.  Yes, that bush was still as flat the next day as I was sore).  I can’t quite see the attraction, much less sense, of trying to defeat gravity on concrete either.  So what was so beautiful?

There was a powerful lesson in the short clip I saw and it was all about fear.  Can you even begin to imagine how it would feel to be on the board in a skatepark without seeing a single thing around you?  I can’t get my head around it.   What about you?

Well, I’m not suggesting that we all go out and start skateboarding.  That isn’t the moral.  But maybe we should turn the question ‘why not’ around.  Instead of making ‘why not’ a negative question, it can be a positive question.  Why can’t I do that?  Why can’t I do that?  It’s all about attitude.

Is fear a good thing?  Maybe it can seem like emotional bubble wrap, protecting us physically as well as mentally and emotionally.  But can you go through life cushioned in bubble wrap?  Should you?

Sometimes the best thing to do with bubble wrap is to burst it.

It’s pretty therapeutic actually.

Go on, give it a try.

Good, yeah?

So likewise with fear.

Sometimes I guess that it can be protective but that sometimes too it out serves its purpose, it becomes redundant, superfluous.

Are you really afraid of the dark or are you just afraid that you’re afraid of the dark?

Is the dark even the reason you leave the light on at night?

Fear can be something we carry with us, sometimes we don’t even really recall where we got it from or for how long we’ve been carrying it around with us.  Sometimes we forget what we’re actually afraid of.

I’m afraid of people.

Well, that’s not true.

I’m afraid of embarrassment and I’m afraid of conflict and confrontation.

How can I deal with a fear so big that it’s just called ‘people’?

Well, pretty much the same way that I deal with everything else, ostrich-style.  I pretend that it’s not there, I pretend that it’s not really happening, I ignore it.  Or try to anyhow.

But if I break it into smaller fears then I can actually claim quite a lot of my life back.

I don’t have to hide in metaphorical bubble wrap every time I leave the house.

Just in certain situations.

And maybe eventually I can start to find ways of peeling back some of the bubble wrap in those situations.  Maybe I’ll just always be Sensitive.

You may have thought that my last post was negative.

It wasn’t.

I realised that I don’t know any more what I’m actually afraid of yet I often feel fearful and fear holds me back from so much.  Whilst I respect the occasional phobia I don’t want to give in to that fear, any fear much less to some unidentified fear of anything or everything!  I know that fear has to be kept in its place otherwise it will just consume me.

So I made that list.

Funny enough, most of them are to do with feelings, emotions or sensations.  I am Highly Sensitive, after all.

But it’s actually not a very big list is it?

I’m challenging things. I’m trying to find balance.  I’m trying to choose for myself.  I’m trying to change.

One step at a time and often several steps backwards when Life gets in the way.  And it does, regularly.  But I keep trying to keep moving forward anyhow.

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12 thoughts on “Facing Fear

  1. Fantastic anaogy, IE. Because a skateboarder who cannot see must clear the area as much as possible and then – well, if he hits something, then he can handle it.
    Somethign I have to learn in my own life! I have been hitting excruciating obstacles recently and its hurts like hell. But I though back to my migraines, and I thought, you know, I can weather what happens physically. I just have to weather the emotional pain as well.

  2. I didn’t find your post negative at all. WordPress just hates my phone too much, and I can’t ever remember to come back and comment. I love the way you identify your fears and then tackle them by breaking them down into their pieces.

  3. I am a wimp. Kate’s recent post about a cable car ride had me all keen, yet terrified at the thought. Sometimes we’re best not thinking at all- until it’s over, then we can be very proud of ourselves :)

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