Confronting My Fears

Well, I asked for challenges and you sent them my way, didn’t you!

As I type, I am facing the following LIVE challenges:

  • find an accompanist and sing at an open mic night
  • do a parachute jump
  • make my book the “must read” for anyone about to go to uni
  • work as a life model (ie take all my clothes off and pose naked for artists)

I also have some ideas incubating for later, including

  • coaching somewhere really challenging, like inside a prison
  • rebuilding a very broken relationship

At the moment, the parachute jump feels like the real biggie. I signed up to do it in a rush, knowing full well that if I didn’t do it there and then I’d find all sorts of excuses reasons not to do it.

Then I felt sick and spent the rest of that evening shaking, literally shaking.

And then I decided that, rather than letting the insane spiral of panic keep going round in my head, I’d have a conversation with it. And so I sat down and had a chat with one of my Gremlins, Little Miss Itstoo Scary.

Here’s how it went.

Me: Er, hello? Who’s there?

Little Miss Itstoo Scary: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Me: Ah, hello, I thought you might be here. Could you just stop running around in circles screaming for a minute so we can talk?

LMIS: No-but-how-could-you-do-this-you-can’t-jump-out-of-a-plane-you’ll-die-and-it’s-far-too-dangerous-and-scary-and …………………………….. well- noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!

Me: OK, look, I understand you’re frightened and you’re concerned for my safety, I am too. VERY. But can you tell me EXACTLY what it is about this that frightens you?

LMIS: YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!!!!!

Me: What makes you think that?

LMIS: Because you’re going to JUMP OUT OF AN AEROPLANE!!!!! That’s NOT SAFE!!

Me: Well no, it wouldn’t be safe if that was all I was going to do, jump out of an aeroplane. But I’m jumping WITH a parachute and strapped to an experienced sky-diver, so it’s not like I haven’t mitigated some of the risks involved.

LMIS: Oh. Well, OK, but it’s still a MASSIVE RISK! People die in parachuting accidents every day!

Me: Do they? Every day?

LMIS: Well, maybe not every day…but it does happen.

Me: Yes it does. And people get killed everyday crossing the road or driving their cars but you don’t worry about me doing those things, do you?

LMIS: Er, well…no, I suppose not…

Me: Why is that?

LMIS: Well, because I’m used to you doing them. They’re normal things

Me: Just because I do something regularly doesn’t necessarily make them any less risky – it might even make them riskier because of complacency.

LMIS: Mmmm…I hadn’t thought of it like that. So – you’ll be strapped to an expert and they’ll make sure you’re as safe as you can be?

Me: Yes.

LMIS: OK then. I’m happy.

Me: Sorry?

LMIS: I said, I’m happy. You go off and enjoy yourself. Oh, and you’re doing it for charity, aren’t you? Well done, I hope you get lots of sponsors. Oh, and enjoy the singing and the modelling too. I’ll see you around.

Me: Er..right. So – we’re cool now?

LMIS: Yup, I just wanted to be sure you’d thought about the risks and you clearly have, so that’s fine. Bye!

And that’s REALLY how it was. Once I’d stepped aside from the primal fear mode and thought about relative risks I suddenly stopped being frightened and started to become excited.

And I still am.

Let’s see how long it lasts…

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4 responses to “Confronting My Fears

  1. You may want to talk to me about prison – a member of my family has just finished teaching in the local women’s prison. Getting cleared to go in is not quite as straightforward as it appears.

  2. You will be pleased (I hope) to hear that more people die every year because their flame-retardent pajamas catch fire, or due to ‘toilet related accidents’ than die from jumping out of airoplanes.

    Thus littlemissitsoscary can quieten her fears.

    I know lots of amusing and yet not entirely useful things…

    • Thank you Bear – I shall endeavour NOT to wear flame-retardent pyjamas at any time. AM a bit worried about the “toilet-related incidents” though, given how scared I’m likely to be on the day of the jump…..

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