I had no idea how much fear I hold before starting this blog. It has taken clear expression through words divided up into subjects for me to see it. I noticed, when I looked over at my list of labels, that I had written five whole posts about overcoming fear. I have hard evidence. Its a reoccurring theme with me.
I've always thought of myself as a brave person. There's my mother's story of the way I exuberantly jumped into the pool on my very first swimming lesson at the age of two while the other toddlers looked on warily. I stood up to bullies in elementary school. I managed to keep a level head while being robbed. I enjoy camping alone in the woods. Look how I'm listing these off like badges on a girl scout uniform.
And yet here it is again, this feeling of fear weighing on me. When I close my eyes and try to imagine what the fear is I see a shadow. I want to know what it is. I want to understand what makes me feel afraid. Is it fear of judgment? Failure? Success? Maybe its all of these things. The fear whispers to me to stay safe, keep my head down, don't make waves. It tends to start whispering the loudest when I'm about to challenge myself to do something I've always wanted, when I'm about to step out of my comfort zone.
Today I watched a video of a friend taking her first sky diving trip. She was so honest about how she was feeling. She didn't put up a front. When the videographer asked if she was scared she said 'I'm terrified. I hope I don't die.' Watching her in the air, completely exhilarated, and still allowing herself to be scared too, made me cry. She looked so beautiful and strong.
When I look at my fear directly, like shining a bright light, it diminishes. 'Oh, I'm just afraid. Its just fear.' Its like a parent switching on the light after a child cries out in a darkened room. 'It was just a shadow, see? Nothing to be afraid of.'
Maybe fear isn't something that I need to overcome at all. Maybe it is, instead, something that I simply need to accept.