I always wanted to be like the fearless explorers I’ve read about. I wanted to be able to go out into the world and take on any challenge. But I’m not. I’m a mass of fears. I blame a lot of it on growing up. I know I can get hurt. I know how it feels to be hurt. Therefore, I try to avoid things that will hurt me (like rollerskating, or boogy-boarding, or, on occasion, walking.) I know how miserable it feels to throw up and my extreme – seriously, I cannot stress extreme enough – aversion to feeling nauseous. So I don’t try new foods like squid or certain vegetables. I guess Survivor is out for me because they always get to eat fun foods like fertilized eggs or cow brains.

There are different types of fears. There are the ones that are more like concerns – the fear of pain from walking after twisting your ankle for the umpteenth time, or the pain of putting your true self out there after having been ridiculed or rejected. Every time it happens, it gets a little tougher to get back on the horse. But you do it anyway because you’re a productive member of society and you have no choice. Then there are the deeper fears that keep you from doing things you might want to do. Helen wanted to go on the London Eye when we were in England. And I fully planned to do it. But as we got closer and closer, my stomach got sicker and sicker. I just couldn’t do it and I felt terrible because it was one of the things she really wanted to do. But I get close to heights and I start getting lightheaded and my legs go weak. I know I’m missing out on some gorgeous views but, really, how much do you see from the fetal position? My boss was talking about visiting a 56 story skyscraper that our company was building in NYC. You had to ride up in one of the construction lifts (open buckets) that the crews use until the interior elevators are built. This particular building happened to cut in on the upper floors. Every floor past the 50th cut-in a good 10 feet so the outline looked like a set of stairs. However, the elevator cab went up in a straight line so to get in on the upper floors you had to cross a plank that they fed out to the cab. Yeah right! If I got into the cab (a huge IF) and then you managed to get me up that far, walking across the plank of DEATH – oh I SOOO don’t think so! Thank God we don’t build anything that big in NJ and that, hopefully, will not be one of the obstacles I will need to overcome in my pursuit of the project manager job.

I am comfortable enough with myself to know that when it is needed, I can and will step up to the challenge. When one of the kids in my class (back a lifetime ago when I was teaching) got sick or was bleeding – or if a family member gets hurt, I can hold it together as long as necessary. This does not mean that I will not fall apart in private or the moment backup arrives. However, since I am the one usually getting hurt (falling down a flight of stairs and winding up with an ankle the size of a softball, falling into a bush and getting my lower lip pierced free of charge by a branch, falling over backwards onto a radiator and cracking my head open), my poor family is usually the ones being called upon to be brave.

The first time I met Andrew, he was a little ball of black and white fluff, just brought home by Helen in time for her birthday. I opened the door to her apartment and this black blur flew through the air into my arms, from across the room. He was completely secure in the fact that I would catch him. That I wouldn’t hurt him in any way. And whenever I would spend time with him, he very often would just jump into my arms for no apparent reason other than he needed a love or I did. He never thought for a minute that I would drop him or put him down before he was ready to get down. He’s a little bigger than a ball of fluff now (about 17 pounds of pure muscle bigger) and yet yesterday, he jumped into my arms. Did I drop him? No, I threw him over my shoulder and carried him around as we closed windows to the spring rain. And after 15-20 minutes (during which time my left shoulder died) he got down and went on to other important things.

Andrew is fearless. And we will try to let him remain that way. It’s not as if he needs to join the outside world and get a job where he will deal with ugly people. He has a job patrolling the perimeter of the house and, as you can see, he takes it VERY seriously.

Does fear come from the “higher state of consciousness” that supposedly separates us from other animals? The fact that we can see beyond the immediate present and anticipate what might happen? Or do animals have the higher state, that they can see beyond even that and what they see does not bother them?

This is my contribution to Sunday Scribblings – head on over and see all the other great writers:)


9 Responses to “FEARLESS”

  1. gautami tripathy Says:

    Fear is inherent in all of us. Sometimes it is the only emotion which makes go when our mind is in libo!< HREF="http://firmlyrooted.blogspot.com/2008/04/shapely-ghosts-sunday-scribblings.html" REL="nofollow">shapely ghosts<>

  2. Karen Says:

    What a beautiful entry–my particulars may be different, but in essence, this radiated TRUTH! It speaks to me!Nice writing!

  3. Mary J. Says:

    Since my last pregnancy, I don’t fear throwing up or nausea anymore. Not that I enjoy them. I just became so used to it. So maybe fear can be overcome by habit.You really explored fear here!

  4. GreenishLady Says:

    My stomach turned over at your description of accessing that high building. Up in the lift – OK, I might do, but walk across a plank? No way! I think you do have a point – that it is our human awareness of a future that makes us so fearful. That’s one of my friend’s favourite sayings: “Fear is in the future”. She has a point!

  5. Hey Teach! Says:

    Andrew’s lack of fear comes in the complete security that EVERYONE loves him and will protect him, and I am not sure what I would do to the person (because it would be a human) that takes that away from him. That plank is terrifying. I would love to knwo the workmen’s comp insurance bill for that one.

  6. Sian Says:

    Ah this is fantastic post. I get sick with fear regarding heights too and that anecdote covers one of my favourite nightmares 🙂I love the pic of Andrew on patrol 🙂

  7. Granny Smith Says:

    I think I was pooh-poohing most of your fears, even riding up in that bucket to the umteenth floor (I like to look down from heights), until you got to the part about walking across a plank. My heart began beating faster just thinking about it. I can’t even walk on a slightly elevated sidewalk without feeling that I’m going to fall off of it.To each his own fears! And is anyone truly fearless?

  8. painted maypole Says:

    we had a cat that was much more like you than like Andrew. i think it has a lot to do with both nature and nurture, and is a very individual thing

  9. Family Adventure Says:

    Very interesting post! I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about fear, but when I look at my two boys, I see two people who are fearful about very different things. One is very afraid of physical pain, the other not so much. At the same time, when it comes to trying something new, the tables are turned, and one will willing throw himself into a new activity/meet new people/go new places, whereas the other needs constant encouragement. Nature over nuture? I’ll need to mull on it some more. Thanks for writing this 🙂Heidi

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