Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where does bravery come from?

Bravery or necessity?

I’m curious now and would like to hear from some others on this issue.  Let me explain what I mean.

When dining with a friend recently she kept marveling at “how brave” I was when I mentioned going to a movie alone or dining alone with my Kindle when Left Brain was on the road so much before our RV life.
I certainly did not feel these were acts of bravery in any way but she confessed that she had never (and could not imagine) going to a movie alone.

I reasoned with her that I love movies more than he does, he was gone and the plus side is you don’t have to share your popcorn.  Since I was an only child, this just didn't seem like a big deal.  I was raised by my grandmother and learned to enjoy my own company very early in life.

Somehow the thought of going into a restaurant totally alone to eat was frightening to her.  I countered with my conception that it is a perfect experience and one of the more blissful things I enjoy.  There’s nothing like having a ME moment.  Perhaps it’s an only child thing.  Maybe it’s an introvert thing.  I don’t know.

She appeared totally shocked when I told her of my drive from Wisconsin to Kansas City MO to attend a doll convention.  I must admit, this was pretty heady stuff for me as well.  I’d never embarked on a long trip alone before, and while I had some apprehensions I certainly didn't feel scared in any way.

Am I brave or just dumb to feel this way?  My reasoning is that there are places I want to go and I just can’t depend on finding someone to tag along with me.  So does that mean I sit home?  I think not.

These things were not always inherent in my personality, but were forged over time.  I came from a family full of fear and uncertainty…the dreaded “what if?” always hanging over your head.

It took a good long time to squash those “what ifs” from my brain and replace it with “well, why not?”  I figured you can fall deathly ill or have a tragic accident right in your own home, why sit there in presumed safety.  Why not get out and explore the world and deal with what comes your way?  Left Brain had a relative that I found inspiring with her motto of "when the good Lord comes knocking on the door for me, I don't plan to be home".

I've learned over life to look at my fears and try to confront them head on.  I used to have a fear of heights but after working my way through the treetops and flying through the open air on a zip line, that one is gone.

My fear of roller coasters isn't gone, but it’s better…largely due to two crafty scheming granddaughters who have tricked me various times into going on rides I might not have wanted to go on.

I used to have a morbid fear of the dark, needing a flashlight to go to the bathroom at night, but with the help of a therapist using EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) that’s gone.  If you have any phobias that you want to get rid of, find a therapist skilled in this technique.  It’s fast, easy and highly effective.  Check it out on the internet sometime.

I used to have be afraid of becoming fat – now I’m over 200 pounds (at 5’ 4”) and over that…although now that I've conquered that fear, I’d really like to get rid of the excess baggage that surrounds me.

Fear of getting old?  I’m living my way through that one.  I find each decade is better than the next one, with new wonders to be found each and every day.

Snakes?  Not a problem.  Spiders?  I’ll fun from the room screaming like a sissy girl.  Hey…I've got to have something to fear, right?

I think Winston Churchill said it best – the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.  

Once you confront it you’ll wonder what it was that was so terrible.

Maybe I’ll work on that spider thing eventually – maybe not.

Long Live the Queen of Arachnophobia


  1. What you didn't mention Couchsurfing to your friend? Then she would really worry about your friends too...

  2. I give you credit for doing a lot of things that I might like to do but can't, mostly because of my asthma. Except of course for bike riding. I just don't do well with only one single row of tires or wheels under me. I need three for balance. As for dining out alone, I've done it when I needed to. I don't usually dine out for pleasure because it is not one of my fun things to do. I have driven to various parts of the country by myself. I've got on an plane and flown to a new state to meet with folks that I only knew from the internet. That turned out to be such fun and a wonderful trip. In my younger days, I could go out for an evening at a local pub to listen to good music and meet with friends. I, too, used to fret over the huge number that my scale was reading, but now I've learned to be happy with me. I will still try to lose weight, but if I don't succeed, who cares. My friend, every day I wake up is a gift to be cherished. I enjoy being able to make the most of what I can. A lot of folks have not learned how to enjoy doing things by themselves. I think you are brave because you don't fret over what you cannot do. Instead, you go out and find something to do or learn. You meet each day with a new interest, and I find that admirable. My hubby and I took several vacations apart from each other, and we both enjoyed our "me" time. I'd feel sad for your friend. Enough of my babbling. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  3. I was more fearless when I was younger. As I grow older and as the times have changed in ways that would make one more fearful, I find myself thinking of "worst case scenarios" when I am out and about. I think I get that from my husband who is the King of "Worst Case Scenarios". If you ever make a plan to do something and want to know what the risks are, just run it past my FH ... he will scare the pants off of you by the time he gets through telling you everything that could go wrong. But in general I go out and about alone all of the time and don't have any fear. When I was nursing I used to do home health in scary neighborhoods. I have to admit I walked to the car as fast as I could without looking suspicious and I held my car keys between my fingers so I could use them as a weapon if needed ... so was that fear or was it safety? Some fear is a good thing ... if you were fearless, you could get yourself into tight spots without thinking about it. When it consumes you is when you seek help, like you wisely did. "Fight and Flight" is innate ... built into us so we will be wary when we need to be, so that is a good thing I think. I am not afraid of spiders ... I have held a tarantula named Rosey and she was sweet ... but I am wary when I am in an area where there are Brown Recluse Spiders ... I have seen what one bit from them can do. So I think it is a matter of ballance. Don't be foolish, but don't let yourself be consumed with fears to the point where you are inhibited. So much for that ramble .. I am just talking off the top of my head without a sense of organization. Hope you can follow what I am saying Queen of Stimulating Thoughts :) Have a nice day ... I am on the run again. Seems like I never have time to sit down and enjoy a quiet moment. But, today we are going to Elgin to see the Eagles on Fox River ... hope they are there and hope to have pictures for next weeks WBW. Adios ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

    Andrea @ From The Sol

  4. i have no trouble eating out alone. snakes and spiders, no problem if i see them first.

  5. Nice piece. The concept of fear, v. nuerosis or paranoia or learned phobia, is very interesting when considering how it might have evolved with us.

    I imagine it was much different to those back in the day when survival meant you could not afford the luxury of fearing many things that we consider common phobias today.

    And those cultures who traditionally did not see we humans as separate at all from the rest of creation, probably had a lot less of them.

    Real fear is a survival tool. Learned phobias can mask real fear, the kind that can save your life.

    I'm working on the phobia of making too much money right now.

    Been working on that one for .. oh, about 45 years now. LOL

    Love you Queenie.

  6. Thanks for enjoying mashed potatoes with me in Chicago. Very nice memory!

  7. I admit to arachnophobia and claustrophobia...beyond those, I am okay. I am so used to being alone, that isn't an issue.