Fear [fir] noun. 1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid.
If there is one thing that prevents us (me) from living life to the fullest, it would be fear. Seeing how this is the theme for my Self Portrait 02, I should probably talk a bit about the long term relationship I’ve cultivated with the nasty little creature called Fear.
So Fear and I have been tight, like best buds tight. Somewhere along the way you tell yourself that Fear is really trying to help you, not harm you, and you sorta embrace the stinky feller. Or maybe there never was an obvious choice at all, it just felt like you were sorta born this way. Well that was kinda me t-minus 20 years ago…or actually not so long ago. It may be hard to believe now (ha), but I’ve been afraid most of my life. Feeling helpless, insecure, afraid of what people were thinking or saying, and just plain scart of my own shadow. My poor mamma can testify that I was the most ridiculously freaked out child; scared to put my head under water (even in the tub), scared to walk across a log that straddled our creek (or just a fallen tree), scared to climb trees, or walk on barrels, or shoot a gun…and my all time personal favorite: scared of puking in the toilet (don’t ask me why, but that toilet was the menace of my childhood!). So yes, me and fear were tight. Maybe because my relationship with fear started at such an early age, I also learned a bloodthirsty habit of whipping it at its own game. It’s not that I’ve conquered it or become scary enough that fear doesn’t scare me (although some might beg to differ), nope, I deal with fear every single day. It’s more that once you learn about its nasty habits, you also learn the best ways to wrestle with it n’ win. Some days, which are now more like hours, minutes, or seconds (if I’m really on my game) I am the curled up creatures you see above. Afraid of failure, of decisions, of trying new things, or making new mistakes. But anymore, it doesn’t last long and this is where I thank baby Jesus I was born with the most ridiculously rebellious and competitive spirit (competitive within reason I might add). It’s almost like a game these days: grab a stop watch and think of something that tweaks you out, then turn that stop watch on and you see how long it takes you to conquer that desire to run and hide. Because when you do it that way it becomes a war between you and the stopwatch not some obscure voice inside your head telling you that you’re not good enough or you’re not smart or fast enough. And really, who can handle being defeated by a bloody old stopwatch?! Not I.
So to all those tough decisions, to taking a leap of faith, or getting on a plane to an unknown country…alone. To insecurity and looking dumb and trying new things and to falling flat on your face; I say bring it on! Each one is just another chance to grow a little bit more, to become a little bit stronger, and to fear a little bit less!