photo by Tudor Costache
I have an unusual reaction to fear: it pisses me off. It is the the feeling that I hate the most; more than pain, sadness, boredom.
As a child, I spent a lot of time being afraid. Part of that was growing up in an unstable environment. Part was having a fearful mother. And part was the result of being a younger-than-average, smart-mouthed, know-it-all kid. You can imagine how popular that particular combination made me with the bigger, tougher kids!
The first time I remember really meeting my fear head-on I was 21 years old. I had just finished college, just broken up with my boyfriend of 4 years, and was supposed to know what to do with my life next. I was terrified. Everything was unknown, and that was what scared me most. And then I got pissed off.
I was furious with myself for being afraid (perhaps another post on compassion or patience will be forthcoming!) so I decided to do what any irrational young person would do; jump in head first. For whatever reason, the idea of traveling by myself was very scary to me. The combination of just being alone (which I had never really done) combined with going from place to place where I knew no one and didn’t speak the language, just scared me to death. So I did what I felt I had to do: I bought a cheap plane ticket, a Eurail pass, and a backpack.
From the minute my adventure began I faced challenges. Looking back from the perspective of 20 years of life since then, the fears and challenges of that time seem like silly little nothings. Since then I have faced so many of the realities of life and the fears that come with them: birth, death, marriage, starting a career, opening my own business, and many more. And with each experience, the thread running through has been the same: trust in myself and in others; ask for help when I need it; embrace change; jump.
When Arianne offered me the opportunity to guest post for her I was excited, and terrified. I spent a few minutes breathing too rapidly and then I sat down to write. And in deciding to write about the fear, I eradicated it. Once again, jumping in worked. So if you find yourself feeling afraid, whether it’s about a career change, having a child, taking a chance, I invite you to join me. Jump right in: the water’s fine.
Julie Wheeler lives in Portland, Oregon where she is a mama, graphic designer, blogger, crafter, and, sometimes, fearless. She writes regularly at http://blog.strongrrl.com/.