Conquering, errrr... Practicing Fear
I’m the type of person that I wouldn’t really call adventurous by heart. I get scared easy and I know I’ve got a lot of fears. Some of them include:
Being afraid of heights (I’m so scared of falling)
Being afraid of the sea (I think it will drift me away or just swallow me)
Being afraid of eating in a restaurant alone (as well as watching movies alone)
And the list goes on…
Over the past, maybe 6 or 7 years, I tried “conquering” these fears and doing things that I wouldn’t normally would. It took conscious effort on my end to stop myself from stopping me. Make sense? Aka, I had to have this constant battle of deciding, “alright, let’s do this” and “are you sure? We can still cancel.”
Here are a few examples of me trying to “conquer” these fears:
1. Wall Climb
I just recently tried this again. What makes it hella scary for me is reaching the top and having to go down. The first time I tried this was when I was 13 and climbing was easy peasy. But when I was asked to let go and rappel down, I froze. I saw how high up I was and I. JUST. FROZE.
I couldn’t let go.
The instructor had to climb up to where I was and bring me down.
21 years later, here I am. I probably reached 70% of the wall but I just kept at it. I kept climbing up and rappelling down.
Done it thrice and it still scares me.
The first time I did this was over the sea. It took me almost 10 minutes to actually let go. Good thing the manong was patient with me. And also good thing that no one was in line. When I let go, I screamed and closed my eyes. After that, I said, “that’s it. I’m done.”
Second time was over a mountain. The good thing about this one was I didn’t need to go alone. I had my partner, Alla and my best friend, Ann with me. Still, I was scared. Still kept my eyes closed. Less screaming though.
Third time was just during INAM’s Y3 Offsite. I was still scared as hell but I challenged myself to open my eyes. I did. I was shaking but I did and what I saw was amazing. The view was spectacular.
3. Going into sea water.
I’m not a swimmer. Sure, I can swim in a pool but I don’t think my swimming skills can help me survive the treacherous sea. Whenever we go to the beach, I just sit by the shore or do a little dip (aka I stop when the water hits my waist).
Alla would always ask me to go in the water with her and I’d always find some excuse. She knew the excuse was just that - an excuse but she let me be and she’d keep asking me anyway.
During my birthday this year, I woke up and decided, this is it. No talking, no discussion, I’m going in. So, as we were getting things ready, Alla was surprised that I grabbed my swimsuit. She got excited and just immediately grabbed hers too.
She didn’t ask me if I was sure, she just let me be. I entered the water and jumped with the waves. The waves that I so feared. And it was fun!!! I’m still not swimming hard core but this was huge for me.
So, have I conquered these fears. Nah. That’s the thing. I don’t think we conquer fears with just one action. I really don’t. Because while these things have made me realize that, “Oh, it’s not so bad.” I’m still scared.
That’s why I call it Practicing my Fears. I’m just practicing them until I get over them.
So don’t worry if it seems that the fear doesn’t seem to go away. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t but don’t ever let that stop you.
Keep at it!