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Posts Tagged ‘fear’

  1. #BEDM14: Fear 2, the sequel

    May 2, 2014 by superlative

    #BEDM14 topic – The things you’re most afraid of

    I wrote about this topic last year so I’ve already used up two of my biggest fears – cancer and death. I’m not doing those again, so I’ll have to think of some more things.

    Being wrong
    This one affects quite a few aspects of my life. I hate doing things wrong, or making the wrong decision, to the point where I’ll try to prepare and plan for every possible eventuality. I have to research everything, learn everything and feel I’m in complete control of a situation or it freaks me out and I get really uncomfortable and anxious. So this fear also covers moments of change in my life, especially if I’ve initiated them by moving house or starting a new job or anything similar. What if I commit to something and it’s wrong? What if I mess it up? Even worse, what if someone else KNOWS I’ve messed it up? Urgh, it’s horrible.

    In some ways this fear helps me, because it’s a good motivator to be really clever and know about everything. But it’s also a bit crippling, especially if it makes me avoid change, or expend lots of energy worrying about being wrong or losing control. People just are wrong sometimes, so I’m never going to be able to prevent it entirely. But I find it hard to let go.

    This is another anxiety-related one. I was mugged several times as a child, and was always one of the bookish, easy target sort of children that attracted the attention of the yobby East London boys I grew up around. So, not unreasonably, I developed a fear of rowdy or rough children in the street. I got good at spotting them from a distance and adjusting my route to avoid them without actually looking like I was avoiding them. I did my best not to be noticed by them. I still feel traumatised by the worst muggings and other experiences I had as a child, and I try not to think about them because of the rage they create in me at the injustice of it all.

    But the worst thing really is that my fear hasn’t gone away in adulthood. It has expanded to include rough-looking adults in the street too, but I still also feel anxious when passing a group of rowdy children or when I’m on the bus with them. I don’t think I’m afraid of being physically attacked by them – I’d like to think that even I could beat up a child if I really wanted to – but I worry that they’ll hassle me and make me look like an idiot. Children these days know you can’t do anything to them or give them a clip round the ear like people used to, so the shitty ones feel free to be horrible to people with impunity.

    Obviously I try not to look like I’m worried about it, and I don’t tell anyone because it sounds rather foolish to say you’re feeling afraid of those 13 year-olds over there. And nothing ever actually happens anyway; why would it? So the whole thing ends up being rather pointless.




  2. Jesus, that’s high

    May 31, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – A vivid memory

    For my 30th birthday, a group of us went to Go Ape. I can’t remember why I decided to do this – I think at the time I noted on here that it’s quite an out of character activity for me – but it had something to do with pretending to be spontaneous and fun, and trying something new.

    As it was my birthday and I was all hyped up and excited, I volunteered to go first and lead the rest of our group across the first section of the course. This was fine initially – up a rope ladder, across some bridges – and you’re always attached by a safety cord so there’s no real danger. Unfortunately, I hadn’t really thought through the idea of going first.

    If you don’t go first, you see, you get to watch someone else do each part of the course. You can see how to do it, and you can check that they don’t die a splatty death on the forest floor. This was something I realised quite quickly once I reached the first zip line.

    The zip lines at Go Ape are at the end of each section of the course; there’s normally about three or four at each site I think. They take you from the end of that section, usually from its highest part, back down to the ground in a rush of air and nice views and a soft barky landing. They are loads of fun.

    BUT TERRIFYING. To me, anyway.

    I think I’d be fine on them now, or at least a lot better; but the first one, when I was all on my own, and no one had demonstrated it for me, was really difficult.

    I found myself climbing up a rope ladder, when I was already very high up to start with, onto a small wooden platform above most of the treeline. I attached myself to the zip line and looked out ahead of me at what I was about to do. And there was so… much… space.

    The feeling of emptiness all around me was overwhelming. There was nothing below me, above me, or in front of me. Just an insignificant metal cord running down to the ground that I was meant to entrust my life to. I was vaguely aware of some people behind me wooing and encouraging me to go for it.

    Shit. I’m stuck up here now. I can’t go back down the ladder, there are people in the way, and anyway it was a bitch to climb up it so I’d never make it back down. My only two options are to go down the zip line, or to blow my orange panic whistle and be rescued. I’m not doing that on my birthday, I’ll look like a dick.

    So, somehow, I sat my weight down in my harness and pushed myself out into the void.

    And it was amazing! They’re so much fun! The air whips past you, and you glide almost silently (apart from the ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ sound of the cord) through the sky, over trees and playgrounds and children waving up at you.

    Then you realise that you’re getting near enough to the ground that you can’t actually die now. Even if I somehow fell off, I’d probably be alright. Oh look, there’s a huge mound of bark chips approaching. Do I try to land on my feet? What did they say in the briefing? Oh never mind, I’m already being dragged along the ground on my arse collecting a large part of the forest floor inside my underpants. Oh I’ve stopped.

    And that was it. It all seemed so easy once I was back on the ground, albeit with slightly shaky legs, looking back up at the platform and the next person starting their descent.

    I would recommend it heartily, and I would probably go again. BUT, be aware that  it’s really fucking high, and once you start a section you’re pretty much committed to it, you can’t go back, and you don’t know how horrible that section might or might not be until you’re already up there. So it is scary, but it’s a great experience, and I’m reliably informed that most people don’t die.

    [WOO I FINISHED THE CHALLENGE! That’s a post every day this month. I hope you enjoyed them, and thank you for sticking with me]

  3. Fear

    May 7, 2013 by superlative

    Blog every day in May topic – The thing(s) you’re most afraid of

    Isn’t everyone terrified of cancer? I’m scared of getting cancer or my loved ones getting cancer much more than I am of other diseases. I’m not scared I’ll have a heart attack or a stroke. There’s something about the fact that cancer is long and lingering, that it sucks the life out of you, and that, even if you get over it, it might decide to come back at any moment. And although you can do your best to minimise the chance of you getting cancer, by eating well and not smoking and a million other things, sometimes you just get it anyway. That doesn’t seem very fair to me at all.

    I think about death far too much. I am scared of dying and of losing people, and even though it’s not healthy to think about it and upset yourself, and worrying about it doesn’t even DO anything to prevent it, I still do it. I hate the fact that there is a day at some point in the future on which I will die. There is a last thing that I’ll eat. There is a last thing I’ll say. And I particularly hate that there are loads of interesting things, technological developments and stuff like that, that I’ll never see. Because I’ll be dead. In many ways I hope there isn’t an afterlife, because at least I know then that once I’m dead I won’t be aware of anything. I won’t miss anything or anyone or wonder about anything. I’ll just have stopped. Mark Twain once said (maybe I should have put this on the favourite quotes post) “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it,” and I take some comfort from that. I wish I could think in those terms, and just make the most of the time I’m alive instead of wondering about the time that I’m dead.

    Erm… I don’t know that I’m seriously afraid of much else. Most other things I think I can either avoid or outsmart or prepare for. I suppose at its core it all comes down to the same thing – I’m scared of things I can’t control. That’s why I research things so thoroughly before I do them. I like to feel that I’m prepared and have a response in place for any eventuality. It’s a bit of a vain hope though; you can’t prepare for everything. But I don’t like the idea of being swept away by a current and having things just HAPPEN to me without the possibility of changing them.