I am a paradox, a contradiction. I am predictable and surprising to people. I look back on my life and recall feeling like people who should know me, really didn’t know me at all, because of me. I was a nervous person, afraid of trying all things new to me, afraid of confrontation, afraid of being afraid. I couldn’t stand that about myself so I did everything I could to hide my fears from others.
That embarrassment spurred me on to face whatever fear to avoid showing others I was a scaredy cat. Reacting like this caused me various degrees of discomfort but sometimes resulted in overcoming a fear, thinking “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be”. I surprised myself sometimes but always felt I was hiding some secret from myself because of some deep seeded fear. I was somehow holding something back.
So I continued to react. Flying in the face of one fear or another.
Almost daring myself to do things.
One example, dealing with my fear of flying. The anxiety I used to have when it came to getting on an air plane was all consuming for me. It invaded my dreams and made me loose sleep. Caused anxiety attacks and skin rashes. From the time the airline tickets were purchased, I was in knots about the flight.
A decaf coffee laced with a mini bottle of some liquor had to be consumed just before boarding to take the edge off. Coupled with travel pills to calm my nausea I believed I needed to dose myself to survive the flight and prevent internal combustion. This didn’t help my fear. Before our first transcontinental flight, I seriously considered being drugged to unconsciousness to survive the journey.
So something had to be done.
This was ridiculous (I told myself). I loved traveling so I had to overcome this fear. Through much research online I found 2 things that began to alleviate a bit of my airplane anxiety. Learning how a plane actually achieves flight and singing a happy song (in my head) on take off and during times of turbulence, Up, up and away in my beautiful ballooooon. I did sing out loud if my anxiety started to get the better of me (an option better than screaming for sure). I felt better but not cured.
So how does one overcome a fear?
Face it head on repetitively until the fear is gone. So I did. An opportunity presented itself at my job. A contract to cover a leave that included lots of travel by plane. Up to 10 flights a month for as long as a year! It was a promotion and my fiercely competitive side pushed me to apply for the job.
I got the contract.
I was terrified.
So I flew and flew and flew, loving my job and the challenge more than the fear. Until I hated the job and slayed the fear. I actually got to the point where I could not wait to get on the damn plane to get home, missing Rob so much. In some situations I honestly wished I could’ve flown the plane myself to get home faster! I am not afraid to fly anymore.
Facing fear has helped me learn my secret, that thing I was holding back.
The past 5 years have been an evolutionary timeline for me and my family. We have set in motion a dream that 10 years ago I would have never believed possible. This dream promises to challenge me in dealing with fear on a whole new level. So much of what we want to do involves the unknown and letting go of so much. This dream began with having our Son Makai. Rob and I are older parents for a few reasons, some of those were fears of mine. But age and waning childbearing years helped me face those fears. There have been tough decisions, serious soul searching and yes, for me, fear so real I could feel it in all of my nerve endings. The decision to sell our home and most of our possessions to travel for as long as we can have unearthed fears I didn’t know I had and also helped me find that secret fear I had been hiding from myself.
I have believed for most of my life I feared change more than all of my fears together. There have been some pretty monumental changes I have made happen throughout my life.
But that’s not it.
It is the fear of not changing to follow what is in my heart that scares the hell out of me. Not acting on what I believe in my heart, is the fear that grips me the tightest. That’s why this adventure we plan on taking is the biggest scariest step I must take. That letting go of all of the stuff we have to see this world and give our Son a world perspective, to be an inspiration to others to chase their dreams inspires the ultimate fear I must face. Now knowing that I will follow my heart no matter my fear has given me peace.
I feel knowing that is like finding the Achilles heel of my giant fear monster. It’s like I am the main character in a movie and I have just learned how to defeat some evil demon fear dragon. All along having the answer locked deep in me. Knowing my deepest fear is something I control has made me look at fear differently. I need to face fear to realize my true potential. It has helped me trust myself, be honest with myself and best of all push myself to change and achieve and appreciate happiness I would never have known.
This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
“Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow.” Australian Associated Press
“… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams.” Nomadicmatt.com
“In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction.” Courier Mail