“So why waste another day turning our back and walking away. I wanna feel everything. I wanna grow in every way.” ~Chuck Ragan, California Burritos
Fears are assholes. It’s impossible to go through life never being afraid of anything. At some point you are going to be in a vulnerable position, be it emotionally or physically, where you feel helpless and paralyzed. I’m not talking about rational fears such as there is a crazy person running towards me, and I’m terrified. That’s understandable. You should be scared. I’m talking fears like being afraid of heights, death, spiders…whatever.
I noticed as the years went by I started developing fears and anxieties. I’m still not fully sure why, but I developed a fear of heights, increased anxiety flying and a deep fear of losing everything I worked so hard for in my life. All of those fears were very real to me. All of the time spent being afraid of those things happening was a colossal waste of time.
Also, I flew through trees like Tarzan on a sketchy cable. I felt pretty confident after that.
I woke up one day and decided I needed to stop being a baby and tackle these fears. I started with heights. The world looks better from above, so this one needed to go. I started by going on a ride that dropped me straight down at an amusement park. This was a terrible idea. It did not work. I wasn’t giving up though! I went to the sky deck at Willis Tower and stood on the glass. I was knock kneed, but I stood there until my nerves calmed. Progress. I did the next small step and went sky diving. (This is also where my ex proposed. Yes. You heard that right. He planned, on purpose, to take the woman he loved so terrified of heights and flying skydiving for a proposal. It’s amazing things didn’t work out…) Anyway, I did it. Why? I saw a woman there doing it for her 60th birthday, and I thought, “That woman can’t have more courage than you. Stop being a pussy and go!” It actually did help, but I wasn’t fully cured. I did one more final act, and that was to go zip lining in St. Lucia. That did it. I think it was the fact that I had to keep repeating it. My anxiety disappeared by the tenth and final line. Also, I flew through trees like Tarzan on a sketchy cable. I felt pretty confident after that. Fear of heights is no longer a thing for me. Not having that hold me back is awesome. That could have prevented me from doing some cool shit in the future!
The writing was on the wall, and I had to say fuck it. I had to face this fear because I was miserable
Next up was flying. I’m not quite sure where this one came from. I remember being excited the first time I flew. I wasn’t scared at all. However, the adult me grew anxious, so it became an issue. I wrote a story about my flight experiences, and I have to say, while hilarious, I’m glad I can behave like a relatively normal person now. Like the heights thing, it was just going on a bunch of flights in the same week that helped me calm down. Oh, and observing a man on my flight so terrified even I thought he was ridiculous. I felt terrible for him, but I also thought…dude. Get it together! There’s nothing to be that scared of….oh, snap. That means I also need to stop being ridiculous. For the record, he was holding a rosary, sweating and praying. The flight attendant kept checking on him. She told him, “You don’t need to panic unless I panic.” That has stuck with me. Another fear in the trash! Who wants to go on a trip with me?
The fear of losing everything. This became the fear of all fears when I knew my marriage was failing. The fear kept me hanging on to a toxic relationship for far too long. I was afraid of losing the house I worked so hard my entire life to buy; I was afraid of being alone and having to start over; I was afraid of losing friends; I was afraid of the unknown. The writing was on the wall, and I had to say fuck it. I had to face this fear because I was miserable. I looked in the mirror and didn’t know who this weak person was looking back. Letting my fears take over and getting to this low point was not worth it for a second. Don’t do this to yourself. When I made the choice to let go, I took this bitch head on. I still struggle here and there, but I faced every one of these obstacles in the face. I’m still standing. I feel more alive than ever.
Like I said, fears are assholes. They’re like that friend who is always miserable and ends up ruining your night out. The night always starts out ok, but you never walk away having had a good time. That’s what your fears are doing. They’re holding you back from experiences and people that will make your world whole. Do whatever it takes to get rid of them and go live!