Pirouettes and Parachutes: Facing Your Fears From The Ground Up.

parasailing-in-sunny-day

Thrillspire.com

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I asked this question to friends and readers ages 20-65.  Here are a few of the replies:

  • Write a memoir and not worry about what my family thinks.
  • Quit my job and find a better one.
  • Start online dating. Again.
  • Become a foster parent.
  • Ask him out on a date.
  • Learn ballroom dancing at age 65. 
  • Travel the world–all 4 corners
  • Overcome fear of water and scuba dive the Barrier Reef.
  • Be more adventurous outside my comfort zone.
  • Dial up my appetite for taking risks to say things that might upset others.

Interestingly, one responder wrote:  “My first thought is that I would make foolhardy mistakes that my justified fears keep me safe from making.” 

Good point. But fear and caution are not the same.  

And here’s a response from a middle-aged man that touched me most.

“If I wasn’t afraid, I would become the Me I was born to be.”

Notice the essential verbs in the above answers?  Start, become, go, ask, learn…

Fear can hold us back from achieving our goals, realizing our potential, and trying new things.  We know this in our hearts but have trouble moving past it.  

Fear of risk. 

Fear of discomfort.

Fear of failure. 

Fear of being judged.

Fear of looking like a fool. 

Fear of getting emotionally hurt. 

Fear of the unfamiliar.

Fear of the unknown. 

Fear of the Blank Page

Writers are no strangers to fear.    

Do I really have any talent? Will anyone care what I have to say? What if my writing is crap? What if I lose my creative spark? What if my book never gets published? 

Name your writing fear. Say hello. Shake hands. Then wrestle it to the ground. 

fearofwriting

You’ll probably have to do this on most days.

Know that wherever you are in your creative journey, you have plenty of company. Face the fear and write anyway.  

“Fear is felt by writers at every level. Anxiety accompanies the first word they put on paper and the last.”
― Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear

What would you do if you weren’t afraid

Here’s one of my answers.  Ride on a space shuttle.  

Surprised?

Since childhood, I’ve been fascinated by people who do bold, physically demanding activities. Motorcycle stunt riders, platform divers, tightrope walkers. My mother tells me that while watching the Ringling Bros. circus I was drawn to the woman being shot out of a giant cannon. Astronauts were my heroes.

Lest you think, I was a kid daredevil—not a chance. The scariest thing I did was ride a bicycle down a hill while sitting backward.  Oh, here’s where I should mention my fear of heights. While I loved amusement park rides that spun me around, fear of heights kept me from the Ferris Wheel and giant roller coaster. 

Evelyn_Diving_Florida

Me, age 11, on the high dive in Miami. Never jumped. Just wanted to impress my friends.

Then came claustrophobia. (Perhaps its origins can be traced to my brothers zipping me inside a sleeping bag. Or maybe getting forcibly held underwater in a swimming pool?)

Yet, I still wanted to be that girl who could blast into space.

Along with dreams of becoming a teacher, writer, and dancer, I harbored a secret desire to ride in a rocket ship one day.

Then, in my early twenties, I developed an extreme fear of flying.

So much for going to the moon.

Enter my fearless friend George who thrived on physical risk-taking. George tried to get me to go skydiving with him.

tandem-skydiving-in-MA

Jumptown in Massachusetts

He showed me videos of his fantastic jumps. He broke down the mechanics, safety features, let me examine the parachute. He promised to hold on to me. I enjoyed this vicarious adventure but knew I’d never jump out of an airplane.

Performing a grand jete in ballet class would have to remain my “airborne” thrill.

ballet-black-and-white-dancer-leap-Favim.com-2053016

Learning from the Pros

In June 2017, Alex Hunnold, 31, became the first person to scale El Capitan in Yosemite–a 3,000-ft monstrous granite wall…without using ropes or other safety gear. Only his hands and feet. Alex’s incredible historic event is documented in a new National Geographic Film, Free Solo

Just watching a clip gave me vertigo.

In this crazy sport, there is no room for error. A mistake means death.

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National Geographic, Free Solo.

Most of us will never have what it takes to climb a rocky ledge or become an astronaut. Most of us probably wouldn’t even want to. What draws me to these fantastical feats is the question of how he or she overcame the Fear Factor.

Through years of intense training, Alex developed an astonishingly strong mental ability to control fear. So much so that neuroscientists are studying his brain. In an MRA scan experiment, Dr. Jane Joseph reported zero activation in Alex’s amygdala–the “fear center” of the brain. 

“A lot of people say I don’t feel fear, or that I don’t fear death, but that’s just not true!…I think I just have more of an acceptance that I will die at some point. I understand that, but I don’t want to baby myself along the way. I want to live in a certain way, which requires taking a higher degree of risk, and that’s acceptable to me.”   (National  Geographic)

There are lessons for us normal folks on the ground. 

Challenge your fears.

Set a goal.

Plan and Prepare.

Take baby steps.

Practice

Focus on the rewards

Repeat

This all takes courage.

Courage doesn’t mean fearlessness. Courage is facing your fear and doing it anyway. Courage is a muscle. 

I’m happy to report that I’ve worked through some of my long-time fears. Though I’ll never be a comfortable flyer, I still board the plane, anyway. I practice relaxation techniques.  I focus on where I’m traveling to and who I’ll get to see. The fear is no longer in charge.

I can now drive across major bridges without getting panicky.

But don’t ask me to go caving or enter a submarine!

The kind of risks I’m comfortable taking are mostly in the emotional realm. Relationships. New experiences. Adventures…as long as they take place on the ground.

Writing fiction gives you a chance to live other lives. The main character in my new story is an 11-year-old girl who plans to ride every roller coaster in the world and grow up to be an astronaut.

Roller_coaster_620x349

CBS News

Sometimes when I feel discouraged by the limitations my fears bring, I remember the prolific writer Ray Bradbury, whose science fiction stories launched his readers into outer space.  

In real life, Mr. Bradbury was terrified to get on a plane. 

What would you do if you weren’t afraid? Have you faced a fear?

 

 

26 responses

  1. Terrific post. Sounds like we share several phobias (mildly, anyway). I went a couple of decades without flying and then found it wasn’t as bad as I’d remembered. Maybe I should take on a few more of my fears–but not that one about having my head held underwater!

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    • Thanks, Joyce. Nice to hear from you. In general, I try to avoid sharing phobia stories with other kindred spirits as I think we end up feeding the fear. So, we probably shouldn’t sit next to each other on an airplane. I highly recommend taking on your fears, though. Avoidance usually makes them stronger.

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    • Thank you, Joanne. I’m glad you enjoyed my post. I think of you as always putting yourself “out there” and fearless, so I appreciate your honesty. I’ll have to look up the tools you mentioned. Another reader also mentioned, “tapping”. Be well.

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  2. Personally, I am not so much about fears, more about doubts. Especially when it comes to writing. I try to overcome it with time and gaining experience as well as reading the advice of the helpful people I follow. After all, I took up writing as a mental challenge first and foremost.
    For me, most of the fears you’ve mentioned can be somehow mitigated but it’ll eventually go down to me overthinking the issue far too much. What troubles me more than failure/rejection is the fact that other people rarely tell you what you did wrong and thus don’t give you something to reflect on and learn from it. Thus, it turns to fear of wasted effort more than anything.
    I admit I wondered how it would be with skydiving but did not get to try it yet. What I got myself to do, though, is being put in the seat with several metal rings around that will turn you into all directions like an astronaut in training. Not really comfortable for a skinny person like me because I felt the straps a lot but it was far from what I feared it would be. I also went on a quad trip in a desert during my holiday in Egypt back in 2009.

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    • I think doubt has its root in fear. Writing about your doubts is helpful rather than letting them brew. Just getting them out of your head and onto paper somehow contains them. Studying craft, reading widely, and finding a writing buddy or critique partner can help you gain confidence. I’m also guilty of overthinking which I’ve come to realize also magnifies fear. In my adult ballet class, one of the middle-aged dancers who had never studied before insisted she could never learn to pirouette. It wasn’t until she stopped fearing and overthinking the steps, that she executed a perfect turn. The astronaut training sounds fun. Maybe that’s for me! I look forward to reading more of your adventures. Thanks for stopping by, Tomas.

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  3. I can relate on many levels, especially regarding the fear of heights and that I also some of my own issues with writing. I, too, have found that writing has helped me to build more courage and face my fears. Thank you for sharing your experiences! Namaste

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    • Thanks, Tiffany. Fear of heights is common. I think our brains are just wired a little differently and more sensitive. I’m glad to hear that writing has helped you. If you can move past the discomfort and not worry about the end result, you can make surprising discoveries. Writing about my loss and grief helped bring order to the chaos and create some distance between the event and the present.

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      • Yes, I can relate. Writing has helped me move through many of my own discomforts as well. I call the process alchemy, turning emotional coal into gold.
        May your writing journey continue to be fruitful! 🙏

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  4. Evelyn, thanks for sharing your fears! You already know mine (and we share that one). I keep letting go of fears when I can or challenging myself (like driving over that bridge) every time. In my head, I’d love to tandem sky dive, but I am not sure I could take that first step out of the plane…

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    • I find that knowing a bridge is coming up, rather than being surprised, really helps. I stay on the inside, eyes straight ahead, and I breathe deeply. As far as skydiving goes, I’d end up being pushed out of the plane! Thanks for stopping by, Janie.

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      • Thanks for sharing Evelyn. I stay in the middle of the bridge, not close to oncoming traffic nor too far to the edge of the bridge itself. Glad we’ve connected! P.S. I’d have to be pushed out of the plane too! LOL

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  5. This was a really great post and gave me lots to think about. Such a good point about how in fiction we get to give characters abilities we don’t have (like lack of fear of a certain action). It’s a certain kind of thrill for the writer!

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    • Thanks, Nina. I thought about trying a “year with no fear” but that seemed overwhelming. Another blogger wrote about a 30-day no fear challenge which sounds a lot more manageable. I do enjoy taking my characters to heights I’d never soar.

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  6. Thanks so much for sharing this Evelyn! Such a wonderful post about overcoming fear, and facing it.
    Funny you talk about pushing through fears through fiction because that’s exactly what I’ve done with several of my novels. Especially my first, Silver Hollow. It’s about this girl who is not only sheltered, she chooses to remain in her safe bubble for fear of the outside world. Looking back now, I recognize that was so ME when I wrote that. And as Amie, my MC gets pulled into not only living this grand adventure but also becoming the hero of her story, it was like a catharsis for me.
    I wouldn’t say I’ve “arrived” in any sense really, but I have come to know myself much better since I first became an author. It is a struggle with every book, no doubt. But these days I try to take that fear and meet it like a challenge. Because I know the end result is always worth it. And I like to think writing has made me a bolder person than I once was. 🙂

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  7. Pingback: Smooth Sailing – Proscenium

  8. I love your post, Evelyn! I am amazed by your courage to face some of your fears, and acknowledge your limitations with other fears. Your 11-year-old self looks so brave in that photo! I have never been skydiving, but I want to do it even if I am afraid.

    Prior to my military sexual trauma, I was fearless. Or so I thought. After graduating the police reserve academy and gaining security clearance with a company in Hawaii, I chased after an armed patron and then aided Honolulu Police with the suspect’s arrest. My chief had more fear than I did about getting harmed. I took precautions as an unarmed guard, and I scouted the area every few seconds, while in pursuit on foot, to see what objects I could take cover underneath or behind, or utilize as a weapon of opportunity, should inneed to protect myself or the public from harm. The suspect was arrested, and we were all safe.

    I was recruited by the Marines for a guaranteed enlistment as air support or air traffic control, aince I scored high on the ASVAB. My dreams and goals were set, and my ambitions overpowered any fears. Fears, in my mind at the time, kept me alive, safe, resilient, and optimistic. I survived childhood trauma by being resilient and becoming desensitized to certain dangers, so I thought I could handle anything. I was willing to risk my life, also, for our country.

    In the Marines I repelled down a wall, did a similated helocopter repel, passed the confidence course, took a blow to the head from a drill instructor, and took criticism and slights. I wanted to be tough, and I wanted to serve.

    However, when I had experienced military sexual trauma, I was no longer resilient to fear. I do not remember much, but the bits and pieces I did remember had me thinking that my own brother marines could rape me, put a gun to my head, and torture me any time they needed to blow off steam. I could not report, out of fear of getting a dishonorable discharge. I became fearful of guns, of men in military uniforms, and of my pelvic bone breaking. I suffered from a pelvic stress fracture, which took me about a year to heal. I served as only a basic marine who cleaned bells with Brasso and painted ammo cans while I was in crutches. I cried when the pain of the pelvic fracture reminded me of rape, though I could not recall the rape fully. A fellow female marine did report her rape, and I was apparently with her that night. I do not remember much of that night. I was questioned, but I became a coward.

    I was forever afraid of firearms after that incident.

    Honorably discharged, I went back to California, where I reconnected with an ex who graduated with me from the police academy years prior to my marine tour. I thought it would be safe to do so, but he turned violent, beat me, urinated on me, strangled me, raped and sodomized me, threw away my dog tags and childhood memorabilia, and put a loaded Smith and Wesson up to my temple. I fainted and later woke up with his privates inside mine. I felt nauseous, and he felt jealous.

    I became afraid of men after that.

    My list of fears grew from that point forward. Dreams, resilience, bravery, and courage were all gone.

    When I sought treatment for my symptoms, my childhood became the focus. I felt I could not share military information, so I kept the military sexual trauma a secret and replaced that pain with the pain of my childhood. My stories over the years became blurred, and I was misdiagnosed for years.

    One diagnosis I had was dissociative identity disorder. I do remember dissociating as a child, and being called by other names, but my best friends at the time always changed each others’ names for fun. One therapist interpreted that as possible DID, and she wanted to do some sort of regression and attachment therapy with me. She insisted I see her four times a week and spend some nights at her home for sleepovers. I could not afford all the treatments, so she had me cleaning her home and working on her confidential patient files. She believed my military experiences were alternate personalities who had fantasies. She would hold me in her bed, tell me how my feelings of being grossed out were about my father abusing me, and telling me that my mother failed to protect me. I began to believe the implated and false memories, and I was told to give a name to each emotion I had. Little by little I felt myself spiraling and dissociating, as if in a trance. I lost time and could not recall everything that happened in our sessions. I felt like I was falling in love with her though. I was never a lesbian, so I became scared and confused. She had me emailing her my stream of thoughts and seeing her more frequently. When she sent me twice to a trauma treatment facility as inpatient, I learned there that she was unethical and that I may be polyfragmented. I learned how to manage my dissociation, but I felt that something was still off with me.

    About a year after this, my old therapist’s roommate threatened my life. I never had a personality disorder, but my therapist threatend to label me with one if I were to leave her. I asked her if I could go back to the trauma treatment center at River Oaks. She authorized it, and the staff at River Oaks helped me leave her. I tried to repirt her to the board, and had email and voice mail threats recorded as proof for the hearing. But the therapist’s roommate made a death threat to me. I canceled my participation in the hearing and moved out of state shortly thereafter.

    I have been afraid of therapists ever since. Thankfully, however, I was told I did not have a personality disorder, though I may have experienced iatrogenic neurosis. I did have PTSD, but it was uncertain whether I ever had polyfragmented DID. I became afraid of personality disorders and the stigma carried with them as well, including DID.

    In my attempts to use coping skills to overcome my fears and believe in my academic abilities, I returned to college as a psychology major during my late 30s. I graduated with all A grades, and I even worked in a clinical psychology research lab, where I studied trauma and other varianles related to strengths. However, the triggers of that theraputic abuse resurfaced, and I became afraid of my mentor who is a clinical paychologist. For nearly four years, I worked with him and he with me. Inmade the mistake of telling him my personal information, and he made the mistske of allowing me to email him about it. Those emails never stopped, and two years into our relationship, we both felt like something was wrong. It became routine for me to send him emails, and I was constantly reminded about mybpast therapy abuse. I was too afraid to tell him about my erotic transference, and the more professional I tried to be, the more the transference grew.

    Afraid of more loss and pain, I worked from home most days and eventually left recently on bad terms. I knew that I was not fit for clinical psych or clinical training, but I did well in research.

    I am now afraid of my University, and I am embarrassed.

    My first mentor, however, was a criminologist, and I remain comfortable with him. He is retired, but he and I still have a rapport. I was nowhere remotely as personal with him as I was with my clinical psychology mentor, but we did bond on a few levels. We only speak by email, but I never felt the need to exchange emails frequently with him after our work was complete.

    Today, I remain afraid of the VA, particularly because military sexual trauma could still occur. I have faced that challenge, though it took me 20 years after being discharged to get services and 100 percent total and permanent disability for MST PTSD. I had no idea they would give me that rating. I simply wanted rehabilitation services. I am afraid sometimes of their therapists, but my current therapist, whom I have seen off and on as needed, is cool. She lets me take a break when I need to. My physicians all pay attention to the notes and understand my fears of certain medical procedures. But my fear of working alongside government and military personnel limits me from seeking their rehab services.

    If inhad no fears today, I would work in government doing research and analysis. I would travel the world on my vacations, and I would visit glaciers and jungles. I would practice sparring in a karate studio and with members of the government who are field rated. I would run again. I would attend a PhD program. I would laugh and smile more. I would date. I would hug my friends more. I would love more and learn to diferentiate erotic transference from genuine love. I would bond completely with a therapist so that we could work on all my problems and get to a place where I can be fully honest with him or her. I would stand up for my beliefs more. I would write a memoir. I would publish. I would seek additional mentors to do research with. I would peer mentor.

    But I am crippled in fear.

    There are more events in my recent life that have brought back intense feelings of fear, but I have exhausted and overwhelmed my time here. I just wanted to share these accounts to let you all know that even a person like me who was once fearless eventually struggled with fear after trauma. I am learning from all of you now. You are the brave ones.

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    • Thank you. It’s nice to hear from you again. The fearless acts you performed in the marines are amazing–beyond what I could ever do even though I’m very physically fit. I believe that capacity is still inside you and by rewriting your story you can find the way out. How does one become “uncrippled” by fear? The only way I know is to take the first step. A baby step. And then the next. Having someone to hold your hand helps, too. All the things you mentioned in your comment about what you would do without fear are incredible and essential for your well-being–not just pipe dreams like my becoming an astronaut. These things are within your reach. By working toward facing the fears and trying to accomplish them, you are taking revenge on those who hurt you. Why should you be held back why they are out living their lives? I do not mean to minimize your trauma in any way; my hope for you is that it will no longer define you and your choices. You have another narrative to pursue–the one you shared with me–one that has the potential to bring you happiness. It’s a story with a future–unlike your past horrific trauma–a story with hope and possibility. Start there.

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      • Awe, thank you, Evelyn. At this time, I am planning to work with both my VA therapist and find a civilian therapist who can help me with all of my issues that the VA does not cover. Part of those issues related to fear have to do with my needed to process out the trauma in a safe setting, in a coherent way (perhaps by writing or doing coherent therapy), and with a therapist I can bond with in a healthy way, such that the ending of a healthy therapeutic relationship is not premature, but rather something to walk away from in a positive way and with strength. I suppose my first step was to reach out to others on WordPress, but then I get intimidated by everyone’s writing and titles. You all write so eloquently, and I lack the vocabulary required to utilize meaningful verbs and adjectives when needed. I’m hoping to build those skills over time. Thankfully, the unethical therapist I had worked with in the past is no longer in practice, which helps me feel safer. Nevertheless, I feel that those who hurt me in the past did indeed “win” whenever I feel defeated in many areas of my life. I never took your words as minimizing my trauma; I understood your comment to be very positive and strengthening. THANK YOU!! But you are correct: I am allowing the fear and learned helplessness take over my life by defining me and hindering my choices. I will begin at the place you had suggested, with the story about my daughter’s adoption. The great news is that I was able to make first contact with my daughter on her 16th birthday, which was scary but so rewarding. My hands were shaking as I wrote in the two cards I purchased for her (I needed room to write, LOL), but the adoptive mom felt a little uneasy about the gifts I sent both my daughter and the adoptive mom, coupled with the words I chose to write in the card. I wrote from the heart and tried to keep my words “light,” but there’s nothing light about making first contact with your birth-daughter. I did this all on my own, since I didn’t have anyone whom I could trust to process this with me. There’s a lot that has transpired since you and I had last written each other, which I’m taking note of for the memoir I would want to write about soon. I may begin there on my blog, but I will not “free-write” that. I will write my drafts offline, revise, and edit before I publish. I may also have a couple of people I know to proofread it for me before I publish. I love to edit others’ work, but when it comes to my own, I have a harder time doing that step. It’s as if I just want to “process” whatever is going inside me in the quickest manner possible and just “let it go” via send, publish, comment, etc. It’s harder for me to re-read the words I wrote, edit them, and truly embrace that which my audience will read, feel, and react to. Your words of wisdom are very helpful, Evelyn. Your pipedream of wanting to be an astronaut is amazing, too! I had the exact same dream when I was 10 years old. Movies in the 1980s, such as “Star Wars” and “The Last Starfighter” inspired me to want to be an astronaut during our elementary school’s “career day.” We had to choose three different careers, so I selected (1) Astronaut/engineering, (2) Police/detective, and (3) doctor, I think (though I’m not sure). Interestingly, I managed to get the training for the police academy, work as a security officer with security clearance, and then join the Marines. My guaranteed enlistment in the Marines was air traffic control or air support (not a pilot, since I lacked depth perception), which would have allowed me to complete to missions in my early adulthood life – (1) work for the government, and (2) work in air support. That would have launched my career path, had I not experienced military sexual trauma, suffered from a pelvic stress fracture, suffered from a foot fracture, and dealt with so many traumatic experiences and victimizations after that. I could never pursue those areas, though I was told by the VA that I could work for the government, in certain sectors, should I be able to successfully complete a rehabilitation program. As for my pipedream #3, I changed it up a bit, like I did the others, and attempted to study psychology and the heterogeneity of trauma, in order to become a researcher one day. Recently, however, I had a mental breakdown and was too triggered by the therapy abuse to be able to move forward. I knew I could not do clinical psychology as a profession for a number of reasons, but I loved the research end of the work – and the writing. I used to be good at math, but I’ve not worked with mathematical problems for a few years now. I’m hoping to get a math tutor to help me re-learn math and prep for the GRE, eventually. I love statistics, so perhaps I could learn to do only that, or to see about library science as an alternative route to research. There was also an international families and communities PhD program I was interested in, which would have allowed me to transition my major from clinical psychology to more policy-based research. However, I screwed up, had a mental breakdown, and may not be able to go after those goals like I once had the aptitude for. My own midlife crisis, at the age of 44, has also taken a toll on my ability to deal with the political playground and embedded ageism. Was I too late in returning to college? Was all my hard work for nothing? Did my mental illness really get in the way? Or did my fears cripple me to the point that I simply gave up? I am attempting to figure out these answers so that I can move on with my life in a healthy way. I love life, and I was thriving for a while, but then I became overwhelmed with the last two years’ worth of political vitriol and recent triggers at work. I didn’t handle things correctly, and now I’m trying to do my own damage control that I sabotaged on my life. My daughter means everything to me, however. I do intend to begin there with my writing. Thank you so much for your advice!!

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  9. Evelyn, a superb post! I too dreamed of being an astronaut, my childhood room full of space and space shuttle posters! Alas, the same fear of flying haunts me, but like you, I don’t let it stop me travelling … I love new experiences and places and people too much!

    Yeah! How wonderful to turn your childhood fear of rollercoasters into a book … it sounds great. Btw, that’s a terrific photo of young you on the diving board and bet it impressed your friends!

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    • Thanks, Annika. Glad you enjoyed the post. It’s fun to discover commonalities in our lives. I also enjoy new experiences and visiting distant friends and family. After 9/11, I didn’t fly for 3 years, opting to drive from Boston to Michigan. Not anymore. Who has the time? And I’m definitely not driving to Florida!

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  10. “Well? Let’s start with the fact that if I wasn’t afraid, I would have written this as soon as you texted me the question. I thought: but, than, what if I tell her more than what she should know about me? Am I going to reveal myself too much? Do I want her to know too much about my weaknesses and vulnerability?

    So I decided to take the chance of fear hurting her feeling….Here is another fear of mine.

    If I was not afraid, I would probably be in a different position in my life. Probably, more educated, high rank in the working force. Probably common among immigrant, like me.

    If I was not afraid, I would marry other. The fear of getting older and fulfill the needs for having children.
    If I was not afraid, I will be relaxed and just watch my sons grew up to be excellent as they are!

    If I was not afraid, I would go back to study in college.

    If I was not afraid, I let myself love again and paint again.

    Fear is your worst enemy. Just say “Fuck it” and live your life to the fullest!!!

    Let yourself love again, take more chances and jump into the cold water. You will adjust to anything eventually.

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    • Thanks O.M. I’m glad you decided to respond. I agree: Fear is our worst enemy. As you can see, others share your fear of loving again. I think taking this risk is the greatest challenge of all. I hope you will jump into the water. Maybe the temperature will be warmer than you think.

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