Life By Kristen

Go, and embrace your liberty. And see what wonderful things come of it. – Little Women

Archive for the tag “fears”

Silly Fears?

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.

Scintilla 15: Fears

Work and life have taken a hold of me this past week or so and I’ve sadly neglected Scintilla 2013, but carving out time for writing was a much needed priority this week.

Prompt: Fears come in different sized packages. Tell the story of a time you had a face a fear, big or small.

I would never describe myself as brave or courageous. I’m a practical, logical thinker who doesn’t take big risks or go too much outside my comfort zone. But one of my fears– of haunted houses- was something that was easy to avoid for many years.

My fear of these silly seasonal amusements started somewhere when I was young and my parents would take my brother & I to these ghoulish places- cornfields, converted warehouses, hayrides- as a way to celebrate the season of Halloween. I never liked it and remember on more than one occasion as a child having a full out, crying panic attack before entering a haunted house that would almost certainly end with my mother sitting with me at the entrance while the rest of the family and friends went through. One year, my mom and a close family friend, Sharon, tricked me while walking through a haunted house- Sharon was walking behind me with her hands on my shoulders while I held my mother’s hand in front of me. As we turned a corner, Sharon’s hands came off for a minute and then went back on quickly….except it was not Sharon and it was a random masked guy who Sharon let scare the heebeejeebies out of me. Traumatized for life is more like it.

During the high school and college years, I was peer pressured on more than one occasion into joining a group of friends at haunted houses on weekend nights. Nothing like crying like a 5 year old in front of a bunch of teenagers to make you realize that it’s much better to stay home than have a panic attack and virtual nervous breakdown in front of your friends.

So for years I avoided haunted houses like the plague, but when I was dating my ex husband  I was somehow talked into going into this big haunted cornfield/maze/barn/ my personal version of hell with him and his sister and her boyfriend. I spent the ride there with my stomach tied in knots and generally freaking out. But then, when we arrived, my boyfriend’s sister started getting even more nervous and scared than I was. And because the two boys thought it was funny that we were freaking out, something switched in me. I took charge. I wanted her to know it was going to be OK- that no one would touch or hurt us in the thing. I told her I would hold her hand the whole time. And I told her to laugh instead of scream and that we would make it through it together.

And it totally worked– for the first time ever, I made it through an entire haunted experience without freaking out or crying. Of course I screamed a few times and jumped when walking through everything, but I didn’t have a panic attack or end the night shaking like a leaf. It was a real moment of facing a fear head on and realizing it was all in my head.

Of course, that was the last time I’ve been at a haunted house.

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