I can’t seem to figure out why people are so obsessed with getting over fears, and telling me I have to get over mine. It’s actually getting pretty annoying. Keep your shit to yourself and stop telling me how to handle mine.
They say, “You’ll grow.” “Challenge yourself.” “You’ll become a better person.” Shut the fuck up, inspirational poster!
I’m sharing this violent expression of feelings because at work now there is a whole, big drama because I didn’t want to use the weedwacker. I got a tutorial and while listening patiently to the instructor I stared with bug eyes at the rusty blade that was only half covered with a shield, and thought two things – either a serial killer is coming to my house tonight with that thing to kill me or I’m definitely cutting off all my toes if I try and use it. I actually started to get physically nauseous and dizzy.
Yes, I know it’s all in my head, and I wanted it to just stay there tucked away, nice and warm in bed with my other fears. Go back to bed, fear of weedwackers.
But, no, my boss told another one of my co-workers and so I’ve officially been labeled as someone not willing to try new approaches and techniques. Jesus Christ! And on top of it, my boss is absolutely determined to get me to use power tools all the time now.
Remember as a kid, you couldn’t get up from the table until you finished everything on your plate? Even those hostile vegetables you had been pushing around with your fork during the whole meal?
You are probably thinking right about now that not wanting to eat your broccoli isn’t a fear. But don’t you remember sitting there at the table staring at it. It was going to taste SO damn bad. Mushy, bland, bitter. Caught in your throat. Taste lingering on your tongue. I think that’s pretty much fear.
I witnessed this scenario pass down to the next generation when I saw my brother serve hostile broccoli to his son. You know it well. Frozen broccoli, bowl, touch of water, microwave the shit out of it. Tasted like mushy, wet weeds. GAG!
In fact, that’s exactly what my nephew did! He actually started involuntarily gagging and a few times, my sister-in-law mentioned, he actually threw it up. The kid hated it so much and was so afraid he made his body throw up! But yup, they kept feeding it to him.
So has this approach ever worked? Ok, someone is hesitant, afraid, and/or nervous about something. Yeah, let’s force them to do it – then they’ll like it! The millisecond my nephew gets to choose his food absolutely 100% guaranteed he’ll never eat broccoli again. And that’s too damn bad because broccoli is super delicious – if cooked right.
Instead of the forcing or the mocking of people with a fear, how about trying to find out why it’s a fear. Then maybe together we can figure out how to take baby steps or something. Hey, maybe cook the broccoli some other way, asshole! (sorry, bro – heat of the moment frustration!)
I started doing some online research about facing fears, and found so many bullshit sites with stupid reasoning. “Live a bold life.” The results might be amazing.” “Enjoy the ride.” Kill me now…
After some digging, I came to this website post: The Fluent Self: You Don’t Have to Face Your Fear. Really. This is my favorite quote:
“You don’t have to face your fears. Sure, you can if you want to. If it’s empowering for you and it works. But you don’t have to. There are plenty of ways to resolve fear and even to heal it that don’t involve direct confrontation or meeting it face to face.”
YES, YES, YES!
But then why is everyone’s gut reaction to someone’s fear that “YOU MUST CONQUER!”
Second case in point, I was hiking with my man last week and we came to a high point overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Somewhat afraid of heights I kept my distance from the open edge. Then he noticed a narrow pathway down to a small area jetting out right over the ocean. I got the mocking and the ‘just do it’ and the ‘face your fears’ routine from him so I went out there with much hesitation. When I got to the end, I had to sit down. I caught one glimpse of the edge and overheard people saying it was so scary too many times that I got dizzy and nauseous. Those are really great things to feel on a very steep cliff with no protection from falling – definitely!
I think The Fluent Self has got it – there is just no good reason to face any fear you don’t want to. If I wanted to be a professional weedwacker user or cliff hiker, yup, I’d probably have to take up the respective challenges. But I’m not, and these fears don’t haunt me or stand in my way of anything in life I want to accomplish. They are safely sleeping in their warm, comfy beds.
So let me have my fears, goddamn it!
Just in case you were scarred in childhood by broccoli, trust me, it is really yummy.