Yesterday I watched a segment on CBS Sunday Morning (my Sunday ritual) about a college student who chose (as part of an assignment) to spend one hundred days of facing every fear she had, in the hopes of conquering them.
This young woman had a lot to conquer. Holding a snake, eating insects, letting a tarantula crawl on her hand, jumping out of a plane, flying the trapeze, even frying food!
Well, I'm not going to go THAT far, but I guess on some level this journey I'm on is about facing my fears. Not physical fears (though I sure have them) and not practical ones either. For me, at this point, the fear was all emotional.
The fear of staying lonely in our relationship.
The fear of being a failure at my marriage.
The fear of losing some part of my kids' love, respect or connection.
The fear of leaving the life I've been leading for so many years.
The fear of facing it all on my own.
The fear of never finding what I yearn for.
When I was a kid fear ruled a great part of my life. The fear of how my father could react or what my brother would do or what the neighbors or my teachers might find out, all of these everyday fears kept me in check, kept me in hiding for many, many years. Little Mary Sunshine was filled inside with dark clouds and stormy skies and the unconquerable fear that it all might implode at any moment and there was nothing, nothing, nothing I could do to stop it.
That was the world of my childhood and it was the emotional baggage I carried around with me all the way on into adulthood.
Michelle Poler — the subject of the conquering 100 fears story — having tackled the task she set herself, proudly summed up what she had learned by saying:
"Everyone can face their fears and enjoy life to the fullest."
Perhaps that is exactly what I'm hoping.