Facing Fear

In high school, I heard the minister of my church talk about comfort a lot. He felt like too many people were comfortable, and that it limited them. I agree.

Comfort is a safe, easy place. Which is why people like it so much. I, however, believe that comfort is something one should feel at home, in old tshirts and the arms of a loved one – not in life.

Pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones is what makes us grow, change and become the best version of ourselves. It can be really freakin’ scary though.

In fact, just writing this post has been so unconsciously intimidating that I’ve been putting it off. Which is why I’m actually writing it now, when what I really want to do is stand up and go talk to the cute boy in the other room. Instead, I am sitting here, writing this, because it’s what’s best to do at this moment, despite my desire to run away from it.

I have grown up with a number of fears. I was about 20 when I decided I need to deal with my fear of the dark. Tackling a fear is interesting because it shows you all the ways this fear affects you. I occasionally still jumped on to the bed, afraid of the alligators (not monsters) under the bed. Irrational? Hell yes! But still strong enough to control my actions. I also had to work through sleeping with the closet door open. Monsters? Maybe.

It took me a couple years, and the kind patience of a good man, to help me get over it. But I have. I’m comfortable with darkness for the most part.

Except in water. See, I have this intense fear of large bodies of water. Especially water that has critters in it. I had nightmares as a child about pools with goldfish and jellyfish in them. They would nibble on me. It was deeply unpleasant. I hated getting in lakes, ponds, etc. The darker the harder it is.

Now, I want to live a life where I act from a place of passion, doing what I want, not what fear decides for me. I believe firmly that (most) fear tells us the directions we should move in.

I have decided I’m going to get over my fear of water, or at least have it firmly under my control, by the time I’m 30. I’ve got 17 months left to accomplish this.

I am at the place where I can now swim with my face in the water, thanks to swim lessons with my friend Maggie. I am comfortable being in the lake on my own, without someone else within arms reach. It is why I decided to train for triathlons. I will beat this fear.

But it is hard.

Then, last week, I went and signed up for this crazy 100 Things I Fear challenge. I did it fast, faster then the fear could get me. And it’s been a challenge.

Saturday, at Carowinds, I went on one of those forward, then backward coasters which I have always feared and refused to go on. I got off, sore, but alive. While I’m glad I did it, I didn’t enjoy it. But it’s no longer going to intimidate me. I can make an educated choice – I am NOT going on that because it hurts, not because I’m afraid.

Yesterday, I went out on the lake and attempted to get up on a wake board. The hardest part of which was the getting in the water.

I’m sitting there on the back of the boat, getting ready, slipping on a wetsuit top, life jacket and prepping to stick my feet in the boots. I was terrified. I was literally fighting back tears. I was gonna be in the water and unable to swim. I was going to actually, willingly, attempt to not be dragged through the water by a large boat. Part of my brain was screaming, “This is fucking insane.”

And you know what, the instant I was in the water? I was fine.

The water is not going to kill me. There is no sane water creature that was going to come anywhere near me while I was in the wake of a speed boat. There is no cracken living in Lake Norman. I had on a life jacket. I was fine.

That, yes, took some courage. I had to figuratively put my fingers in my ears and go “Lalalalalalalala, I can’t hear you!” to the fear. Later, I was told that I didn’t even exhibit fear. He was all, “Oh, she’s got this.” While inside I was panicking. Even talking about it later and writing about it now, the intensity of the fear comes right back up. I was scared.

But I did it, and I got up for about two seconds, and let me tell you, it was totally worth it! I had a blast.

What are you afraid of? And what are you doing about it?


One thought on “Facing Fear

  1. Pingback: The Vagueness of Fear « summer says

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