What scares you?
This was me in Yosemite Valley, rock climbing back in 1992, for the first and last time, up a seemingly endless sheer wall of granite. Roped and harnessed up I was fueled by the energy of a new relationship and a goal to challenge myself. I faced my fear of heights and I never looked down. What a complete shock to realize, after an arduous, white knuckle climb up...
that there was no way to walk down the backside of the mountain. I had to rappel back down the entire length of my climb!
I'm feeling almost euphoric in this hands free view on the way to solid ground.
This was a terrifying, yet exhilarating way to face my fear of heights (and falling). I'll always look back on this day as a day I battled my fear--and won!
I can't contemplate fear without looking deeper-- to the more complex layer of how we handle fear. Do we let it paralyze us? Or do we take the bold move forward, walking alongside our fear--matching it step by step--until it morphs into courage?
The thing about fear is that everyone experiences it to some degree or another, but the difference is what we do with that fear.
On a physical level, I have challenged myself to conquer my fear--whether it's skiing a black diamond run at Mammoth Mountain, running Angwin to Anguish uphill in the Napa Valley, or rock climbing in Yosemite Valley--for that first and final time. Even if for only that day, I faced my fear and conquered it.
I don't know about you, but I don't remember the times I wallowed in fear, and let it get the best of me. I do remember the times in life when I felt the fear but faced it anyway. Can you relate to any of these?
Here's a list of some of my life altering moments where fear became courage:
Taking a stand against bullying in the 5th grade, for a classmate who was in tears, and making friends for life.
Moving across country with a suitcase and a plane ticket to start a new life in Los Angeles.
Returning to graduate school for the second time to embark on a new career path in school psychology.
Searching for my birth family in the mid 1990's prior to online search engines.
Meeting my birth family (including 2 full biological siblings) one summer day in Newport Beach.
Standing up to an unhealthy relationship--and walking away--when it broke my heart...the hardest kind of break up.
Buying a house on my own in the San Francisco bay area as a single woman.
Moving for a man--who lived 2 hours away in a small university town (best decision of my life).
Marrying a dad with three teen-aged daughters and no children of my own.
Knowing when to let go of an unhealthy friendship.
Slogging through the physical pain, and heartbreak, of miscarriage--twice.
Being a first responder, comforting students absorbed in trauma following the senseless loss of a friend.
Holding the hand of a loved one--my father--facing death.
Making a list of my intimate fears to be read publicly online. ;)
As I look back, there are moments when I've conquered my fear and my life has been enriched for it. The one fear I cannot shake is my full blown phobia of sn..ak..es. I write it in this way because even the words give me a little shiver. Early trauma, reinforced over the years, gives me the phobic reactions of fight, flight, or freeze, sweating, lightheartedness, blinding fear... Yes, it's embarrassing--but it's real! I'm even careful in the fine leather goods department-- I wouldn't want to get too close to that snakeskin handbag. You will never find a pair of snakeskin Louboutin stilettos in my closet...never, ever!
That said--if you are afraid of spiders I'll take care of those for you all day long!!! #nofear
I'm honored to be invited to join the International Blog Party, 'By Invitation Only', hosted by the delightful--and very stylish--Marsha of Splendorosa. Visit her blog for the link party focusing on this intriguing theme.
How about you--what fears have you turned into courage?
New arrivals for fall at my Stylemindchic Boutique!