I’m drawing a blank when trying to come up with a topic to write about, so I thought I would use one of the earlier prompts from NaBloPoMo. This one asks if you have overcome any fears.
I guess you could say that in some respects, I am a fearful person insofar as I worry. A lot. I also have my fair share of phobias, the biggest of which is arachnophobia. I have never gotten over my fear of spiders, or anything that crawls, really. I have had to deal with critters from time to time since Neal sometimes goes away with the military, but I only deal with them under necessity. If he’s home, I call him in a shrill voice, telling him to “BRING PAPER TOWEL!”
I have also never gotten over my fear of heights. I’ve tried, such as the first Friday after moving in with Neal. I was on the bus coming home when it got stuck in a huge amount of traffic due to an accident on the bridge – the bridge I needed to get over. A bunch of people got off at the stop right before the bridge to walk across on the sidewalk. It seemed like a great idea – at least then I would be on the Dartmouth side and could grab another bus to get home or I could call Neal to come pick me up at the bus terminal on the other side.
That ceased to feel like a good idea as I got partway on the bridge. Suddenly the water seemed VEEEEERRRRRYYYY far away, and the gap between the walkway and the fence seemed HUGE (it wasn’t; there was absolutely no chance that I would slip through). No amount of rational thought helped. But, as many people who suffer from anxiety will know only too well, I was also afraid of how foolish I would look if I suddenly turned around and went back to the Halifax side, despite the fact that it was so much closer. And so, I just kept going. It was the first and only time I ever crossed the bridge. Yikes.
But there are other fears that I have conquered. The most significant has been well-documented here: my move to Halifax. Those fears paralyzed me for almost a year before I finally bit the bullet and came here. Whenever I think about how very different my life would probably be if I hadn’t come (I would not have Neal or Claire in my life, and I’d probably still be a smoker, yuck), I am incredibly grateful for taking the chance.
There are some smaller ones as well. I have occasionally felt the bubbling up of panic when I have driven across the bridge, particularly if stuck in traffic. But I have swallowed that fear, pushed it down and given it a big “Hell, NO!” and now I can usually drive across without any issues.
There is also the issue of very dark highways around here. Seriously – I think Nova Scotia is trying to save money on the power bill by not putting highway lamps on a bunch of frequently-used highways around here. A couple of years ago, I went to Walmart at Dartmouth Crossing by myself to pick up a few things. By the time I started back home, night had fallen and the highway was pitch-black. I had some cars behind me, but no one in front of me. It took everything I had not to pull off to the shoulder; it was the thought that I would never be able to pull back out if I did. So I pushed myself, and I got home without any mishap. I have forced myself to drive on dark highways, both with Neal and on my own, and now I can do it without thinking about it.
Overcoming fears is absolutely empowering. My fear of spiders doesn’t really bother me too much, so I haven’t worked at overcoming it. Even my fear of heights doesn’t seem like such a huge deal to me, although I’m sure it will keep me from doing some fun things at some point. But since I live in Dartmouth and work in Halifax, I need to be able to drive over the bridge. Dark highways surround me, and I refuse to have my actions dictated by the setting of the sun.