Fearless Fantasies: Shiva and I are Afraid

Today’s post is inspired by the daily prompt over at The Daily Post.I have a feeling this excellent website is going to be a vital resource for me as I plod through my 100 Days Project.

I am inhibited by fear at every turn. Some fears I am better at ducking through, others prevent me from doing things that many people accomplish without thinking. The most prominent one I have been unable to face millions of people do every day, often multiple times. As a result, there is a great deal of shame that tags along with the paralyzing thoughts. Few understand, including family. I wish I could explain what to me sounds like a rational aversion but to them sounds insane. Or worse, weak.

Fear is a weakness, I suppose, when it stops one from living life. But my fear, this fear of driving a car – I may as well be open –  has been easy to manage. Sure, relying on my own power or public transit can be more complicated and time-consuming. When I lived on my own, I became accustomed to carrying leaden bags of groceries for twenty blocks or more. On occasion, I still do. I don’t mind. I’d rather deal with the pain of plastic biting into my hands than the fear of losing control of a motor vehicle.

It wasn't easy for me, but I steered this motor boat for almost five minutes!

It wasn’t easy for me, but I steered this motor boat for almost five minutes!

Shiva has less fear than I do. If it comes down to fight or flight, she will often choose the former. She doesn’t worry about things beyond her control. Scary strangers in hats are nothing a little barking won’t cure. Thunder that shakes the house isn’t more important than a good nap. Shiva will scale trees, jump off cliffs, and face the claws of The Cat over and over and over again. Nonetheless, even the fearless wonder is daunted by her own dragon. She will take the teeter on the agility course backwards but put her on a boat in the middle of the lake and she turns into a shaking mess desperate for comfort.

Shiva is not a happy puppy

Shiva is not a happy puppy

Though it can be debilitating for her in certain circumstances, in a way, I am glad Shiva has this one unshakeable fear. It shows me that she does care about her safety. So often she rushes ahead without thinking and it has already gotten her in trouble. At least in this one area, she appears to have a bit of sense.

This could be my inner coward talking. I like that we seem to almost have something in common. Shiva hates going to the lake, despite the fact that countless dogs adore swimming and will do anything to get back in. I am terrified of sitting behind the wheel of a car, despite the fact that most human adults spend a lot of money to do it every day. It is far easier for me to contemplate skydiving or bungee-jumping than driving to the corner store. It is far easier for Shiva to tear across a wooden log or jump from a second story window than put her face underwater.

Would life be easier for us if we could conquer these fears? LIkely and maybe we both will in time. If only for how good it will feel to achieve something I haven’t thought possible for a long time. We aren’t going to let them stop us from living joyful lives, however, even if Shiva never leaps off a dock and I never drive again. Fear is only bad if it prevents you from living your life. In that regard, I think we are going to be just fine.

4 thoughts on “Fearless Fantasies: Shiva and I are Afraid

  1. If it’s any consolation, I was phobic about driving for many years…it just kept getting worse the longer I avoided doing it. But it wasn’t a problem until I moved to Tucson from NYC; I often say I made the move so I would be forced to get over my fear. It wasn’t easy but I did it — driving lessons helped — and now I barely remember how terrified I was. On the other hand, I have two friends who decided they weren’t going to drive, period. And they’re fine. Whatever you end up doing is okay.

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    • Thank you very much for sharing a bit of your experience. It is definitely inspiring to know that not only is it possible to conquer the fear, it is possible to drive with confidence after doing so. It has been hinted at me that I have put it off too long and now I will never be a good driver. I am glad to know this is potentially false. Good on you for sticking with it and moving through it! It does give me hope. I do want to try again, if only to prove to myself I can. I just have to get the courage to begin.

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  2. Your last point is so important: only if it keeps you from living your life. So true. I definitely have a few severe fears that have kept me from doing things I would otherwise love to do. Sometimes the fear takes over all logic and unfortunately can hinder our growth as people. I have some lofty goals that require me to face my fears – I think that’s healthy.

    Ru’s fears are harder to pinpoint. Is he actually afraid of strangers or does he just genuinely not enough most people? His behavior is a mixture of the two and so training him (through classes and personally) has been a pain.

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