Fear. We all experience it. It’s the one emotion that triggers to our very basic innate senses. Otherwise known as “fight or flight” in the brain, when we are in sudden fear our body does a number of instant reactions to protect itself. When you stop and think about it, the human body is an amazing, and complex thing. How fortunate we are to be able to have one! Some people are more prone to stress and fear then others. We may call these people “worriers” or even “hypochondriacs” but in truth, these people are simply more inclined to higher levels of stress and concern.
I am one of those people. Perhaps I wasn’t always this way, but I certainly am now. I try and think ahead, and think about all the possible scenarios. I don’t like to live life recklessly, and I often double check my work to try and reach near perfection. I know that most of my stress is self-induced, but it is a pattern that is certainly hard to break.
When I sat down to write my Live Now List I wanted to put something down that would give me butterflies just thinking about it, let alone actually completing it. ” #37: Conquer Your biggest Fear”. Well, to be honest, I have many fears. Most I have control over. Some come from watching one-too-many action movies, and others are fears from my childhood. I wasn’t sure when or how I would complete this task. It’s not like I go out of my way to throw myself into a scary situation. I live a quiet, private, and humble life. Putting myself in a fearful situation isn’t really “my cup of tea”. But somehow I knew the right moment would come along.
But before I dive into my reflection post (and yes the moment really did happen!) let me share with you some of my fears. Perhaps you can relate? Let’s start with the 3 S’s: snakes, spiders, and sharks. I know, I am bigger, stronger, blah blah blah. But are we? I mean, I respect Mother Nature to the fullest. I absolutely love being by the ocean. But as humans we are not the top of the food chain once we go into the water. Shark attacks happen at random along the coast. It comes with the territory. People often say, “Oh but it’s so random for that to happen…” or “Sharks don’t really want to eat you. They mistake you for a sea lion!”. Okay…. but they still bite you! I don’t care if they think I’m a sea lion or not, I don’t want to get bit!
Now you’re probably wondering, did I just watch one too many “Jaws” movies and suddenly have this fear of sharks? I wish it was that easy, but no. It was 1992 in Mantoloking, N.J. I was almost 8 years old when my family went on a trip to the beach with another close family-friends of ours. They had a beach house out there and we decided to all stay for a week in this bungalow and have some fun in the sun. As a child, it was magical. An entire week of waking up, having a huge breakfast, and heading out to the beach. Life was awesome! One morning my older brother and I went to the beach with everyone else. My brother wanted to boogie board, and I, of course, wanted to tag along. Wave after wave we caught, still relatively close to shore, and sailed gracefully back onto the beach. I was only a few yards in front of my brother as I caught my wave. I saw him go for the same one too. As I landed on the beach I looked back and my brother was under the water. His boogie board shot straight up, and then I saw blood. My dad had already been watching and was racing into the water. As my brother popped back up out of the ocean and began kicking and thrashing towards the shore I could see tears rolling down his cheeks. It was terrifying. “It’s a barracuda!” he was crying. My mom was racing towards my brother moments later.
Off to the hospital they went and I was whisked home. Hours later my brother came home and I saw his foot and ankle all bandaged up. He had to get plenty of stitches but Thank G-d it didn’t take anything off. It was only in the hospital that the doctor recognized the pattern of the bite and matched it with a sand shark. Still to this day my brother and I don’t venture far into ocean waters now.
Snakes. Growing up in the South it was common knowledge: don’t go in the woods and if you do, keep your eyes open… a lot. In the water, watch out for moccasins. I still shudder thinking of them. Black as night, they often get mistaken for a stick in the water. My grandparents lived on a lake and from an early age my Papa taught my brother and I to never go near the bank of the lake. I never did. Thankfully I have been able to avoid many snake encounters. However, that was all about to change. Read on in my reflection post….