WOW Word-Of-the-Week #291: Afraid

February 21, 2010 by  

Is there anything that you’re afraid of? If so, have you ever done anything about overcoming it? As you get older are you finding that you are afraid of things that you never were before?

I don’t want to be afraid of anything. And yet, as I have gotten older there are things that I am afraid of. I am afraid of the water. The water I am speaking about is big bodies of water where I can’t see or touch the bottom. I think this came about as a result of my father almost drowning in a rip tide off the Baja coast when I was twelve years old. He actually was trying to help another swimmer who did drown. That really scared me and the memory is still very vivid in my mind.

Antartica (5)

I am sometimes afraid of being in small, tight quarters. I am sometimes afraid of heights. The first time this happened was back in the 80’s. I was riding up to the top of the Arch in St. Louis and it got stuck. I remember thinking I was going to hyperventilate and there were children in our cubicle. I decided I should be a “big girl” and not freak out and scare the kids. What helped me stay calm was being able to see the winding staircase through the crack in the door frame. I knew I could at least walk down if I had to.

I’ve never been afraid to I travel. But nowadays terrorists on airplanes are an issue. In 2007, we had a trip planned to Egypt and my dear friend said, “Oh my, I’m worried that you are going to the Middle East. To which I replied, “We’re not going to the Middle East, we’re going to North Africa.” And then we got to Egypt and I said to myself, “We’re in the Middle East.” I don’t want to stay home and never travel because I am afraid that something might happen. That just doesn’t feel like living to me.

I don’t want to be afraid of anything. So I am consciously choosing to overcome those things that I am afraid of. I walked up to the top of the Duomo in Florence and made it. I took lots of deep breaths, made it to the top, and just soaked up the sights. What a magnificent view! Last month when I was in French Polynesia I snorkeled and the last day I did it without my life vest! When we got home we signed up for swimming lessons so we would feel more confident in the water.

This week focus on what you are afraid of. How would it feel to work on overcoming that? Who do you know that could support you in doing that? Do the things you are afraid of keep you from living the life you want to live?

Reader Responses

You’re onto something and I love it!!! Maintain stability and develop this series to its utmost. I was so intrigued by your WOW that I could not put it down. Your talent is leading you in a whole new direction. WOW!!! PC

“Back in my home state of Pa. they may not understand “afraid”  it’s “fraid” back there.  You know, regional dialects and all that stuff.” John

“Most fears are borne of things we don’t know. In our country the past several years, a lot of people have exploited Americans’ fears of the unknown – specifically threats of terrorism. That fear has paralyzed people and kept them from living free, peaceful lives. It has forced Americans to constantly look over their shoulders, wondering who is out to get them. Is is my neighbor? Is he a terrorist? Should I call the FBI? One GOP Senator, Pat Roberts of Kansas, was quoted as saying that “You won’t need to worry about your liberties when you’re dead.” That kind of fearful mindset is ignorant and makes it easy for more liberties to be taken away. I am always reminded of Patrick Henry’s cry of “Give me libery or give me death.” The fears can be borne of carelessness also. I remember a woman from Ohio complained about how she received a visit from the Secret Service. The officials talked to the woman for three hours. Apparently, before a visit by President Clinton to her hometown she was talking to a friend on the phone and mentioned that she hoped someone would “bump off Clinton” when he came to town. Well, before a president visits a town or city the Secret Service monitors telephone activity and anything else that might be deemed suspicious. Well, surprise, surprise, the Secret Service made a visit to this woman. And she could not understand what the big deal was because she was “just kidding around.” The Secret Service takes all of these things seriously. Too often today people’s basic fears or life and death are exploited by ignorant people who simply want control and power. If we can educate people and make them more aware maybe this type of fear would not be so prevalent. My fears are basically just making sure Kristen and the girls are in good shape and that nothing happens to them. Our little Emma Phoebe will be two in May, and in her rush to discover she will do things because she does not know any better. So, I am very watchful when she is around. And with Erin, too. Even though she is eight, there are things that I want to make sure she is OK. So, those are the things I am most fearful of in my life. The story of your dad is a scary one. Rip tides are dangerous. Have a great week. Take care.” “Warrior” Joe