Some time ago, I mentioned my fear of driving over bridges. Um yeah, that hasn’t changed so much. Mostly because I’m not near any bridges except a small twelve footer near my house that doesn’t even raise a hair on my head to cross.
I can almost pinpoint when that particular fear started. Driving over an extremely high bridge with the sunlight dancing through the pretty concrete struts. It was very pretty for a few seconds, then the sunlight turned into a strobe light effect. I blinked, trying to get my bearings. I put my hand over my eyes, closed one eye. But nothing worked. Dizzy, panicked, I slowed down to about 30 miles an hour, making for a slower strobe. When I finally reached the end of the bridge, I was in tears and refused to go back over.
Except the only way back to the motel was over the bridge.
I sucked it up and did it, and luckily the sun had set by then. But the damage was done.
But how many of our fears can we pinpoint just this tightly? Very few. Some revert back to our childhood, some our growing up years. Some are inbred – fears that are passed down from our parents or loved ones.
And our fears become stronger over the years. Whereas once, crossing a bridge that spanned the Mighty Missouri river was quite daunting, now crossing a bridge that covers a four-lane highway requires some mental pushing.
As we get older, we get more fears. Fear of slipping on the ice. Seriously? When I was twelve, I would have taken a running start at it and zipped along the sidewalk. I might end up with a bruise, but… big deal. What a rush! Now I do the penguin-walk. Arms carefully outspread, little penguin steps taking me to safety.
Am I being smart? Or am I being scared?
Once upon a time, I went bungee jumping. 13 stories in the air with nothing but a little rubberband holding me to the crane. Was I being stupid? Brave? Showing off in front of a cute guy?
=) I’ll admit, it was the latter of the three.
But, jump I did. Would I do it again today? Nope. Not on a bet.
Is that being smart? Or being scared?
There’s so many fears out there – spiders, snakes, heights – that we sometimes have to choose – are we giving in to fear because we really are afraid? Because – I mean it really COULD be a tarantula! – or is it something we need to conquer to get on with our lives.
I’ve decided it’s time, time for me to put some fears to rest. Take the bull by the horns, tame the lion, beat back fear. It’s time to slide on the ice occasionally, to finish writing the book and not yell tarantula every time I see a spider. Okay, so not so much that last one. But I am vowing to myself that it’s time.