When I was little, I was afraid of the dark, spiders, and thunderstorms. All pretty typical things for a 10 year old ( or a 16 year old, though I think by that age, the dark no longer frightened me).
As you get older, some of those fears stay, while other big, scary life ones like the fear of failure or being alone creep in and become far more difficult to avoid and/or handle. When my life came shattering around me in a divorce, it was sort of ironic that all my huge fears of life went away in the face of that life altering event.
But new fears came with a new life situation.
In the first weeks/month of living alone, the fear of falling in the shower in the morning breaking a hip or hitting my head crept into my mind. Not in a crippling, not going to get in the shower kind of way, but in the somewhat paranoid, leave a cellphone within somewhat close reach to the shower “just in case” sort of way.
This somewhat strange fear of being alone and something bad happening to me is something I’ve long worried about. In the bar game of “what’s your worst version of how to die,” ( fun group of friends I have, you can see), my answer has long been to be seriously injured in a car accident by falling into a ravine or something just off the road and out of sight and no one knowing I’m there. One friend says drowning. Another ( who is a open water swimmer) says it’s being eaten by a shark. Sometimes when I’m alone at work I fear falling down the 4 flights of stairs I have to climb to my office and it being days before someone finds me at the bottom. A couple of other coworkers share this fear with me.
Why do our minds go to this crazy fear place? I think some of it is to keep us aware and alert ( like holding onto the stair railing). I think some of the worrying/fears is just our subconscious reminding us to keep things in perspective. I don’t like holding newborn babies because I’m worried I’ll hurt their precious necks/heads and this fear will probably stay with me even if I become a mother, but in this case, I won’t have a choice but to face it and realize, it was me worrying about nothing.
People always say the thing about fear is to face it, and in most cases ( afraid of heights, bridges, clowns), I find that to be true. I used to be petrified of haunted houses until one time I was forced into a scenario where I had to go into one with a person who was even more scared than I was. I had to rally to help her through the stupid thing and I did it with laughter and sarcasm which helped both of us ( though I haven’t been through one since and probably won’t any time soon, but that’s another story). I’m not about to throw myself down the stairs to see that it isn’t that bad, but I’m trying to remember that even thinking something crazy like that could happen means the actual possibility of it actually happening is pretty small.
But you better believe I’m still leaving that cell phone on the bathroom shelf just in case.