Remember what you were afraid of as a child? All children are different. I am always amazed whenever one of my children’s friends showed a fear of dogs or of almost any kind of animal. As an Indiana farm girl, I grew up among all types of animals, and often cantankerous ones. Perhaps the disagreeable rooster knew he’d be Sunday dinner eventually. By living with these fear-inducing creatures I became familiar with them, and did not fear them.
Fear of an object, situation, or even person is often due to being unfamiliar or unsure of it. As a farm girl, girl scout, and boy scout volunteer, I was trained endlessly how to deal with poisonous snakes. There were also quite a few non-toxic snakes on the farm. I’d been to the zoo courtesy of teacher education and handled a python and a boa. So what do you think my reaction was when I saw a juvenile rattlesnake in my front yard? That’s right, I ran into my house…and got my camera. Unfortunately the camera shy reptile had crawled away before I could snap his pic.
As a school teacher I find I have many phobic students. They are afraid of dentists, moving, public speaking, and some teachers too. I like my dentist, but I hate needles. Public speaking I do every day as a teacher, so it doesn’t scare me too much; however, I hate presenting in front of other teachers. I used to be afraid of a few of my co-workers because my initial impression of them was wrong. Once I got to know them better I knew how to work with them with the minimum amount of stress. My specialty is working with emotionally disturbed children, so I can definitely tiptoe around difficult adults without them even knowing.
That brings me to moving, the fear I know. Some of you know I hit the big 5-0 mark almost a year ago. I sat down and calculated how much I have moved in my life. I move about every twenty-six months that means sometimes I may have lived somewhere only six months before packing up and moving again. My parents tended to be gypsies always moving to the next great adventure. I moved around myself before marrying a military man. What I discovered with moving is that you lose things from friends to favorite places. Movers also don’t arrive on time, break anything glass, and sometimes insult your dog. It takes months to pack to move…okay maybe weeks. The flipside is I am always culling my closet, garage, and attic for things I don’t use because they will not make the next move.
Currently, I am in the midst of a major move-a-thon. My stepdaughter is moving to Seatle. My daughter is moving to a rental house with four other girls. My new husband is moving all his stuff into my current house…only to have us both move again with our short loan sale finally goes through. As a person who has lacked any type of permanence I envy people who have lived in the same place forever. Moving makes you adaptable it also makes you face fears since it throws so many at you.
In a bizarre way I’ve been fortunate to face most of my fears and conquer them. I’ve moved, had loved ones die, got divorced twice, started new jobs several times, and even confronted a rattlesnake, bear, and an Indiana Panther, the feline kind. I’ve been chased across a field by a bull while wearing a red shirt; I tend to not to take those type of shortcuts anymore. Fear can make you run fast. Last weekend, I helped staged my stepson’s graduation party, and came face to face with my husband’s ex-wife. I’d been warned she’d be strange, and she was. (Remember my education specialty training; it comes in handy in dealing with adults, sometimes even more than students. J ) Now that fear is just another that is behind me.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Do something that scares you every day.” This year I will try to push myself more than I ever had. Promoting my own books can be a little fear-inducing. Blogging can be too. What is your biggest fear? Have you conquered it?