What are you so afraid of?

Have you ever considered what bears and grocery stores have in common? I have. It’s fear. Bears and grocery stores have fear in common.

Some people are afraid of bears. I’m not. I have a healthy respect for them, and I know proper procedures to prevent bear encounters and protocol should I ever encounter one anyway (though I’m sure all of that knowledge would elude me at such a time). But I do not fear them. Not exactly. I mean, I was wary enough to avoid cooking when I stayed in Shoshone National Forest, or in GNP or Yellowstone, places like that. I was afraid to cook, but that was mostly because I was afraid of myself – of not being cautious enough or missing spots during cleaning. I was afraid I’d fuck it up. I didn’t actually go to sleep in fear. I happily climbed into my tent and into my sleeping bag, falling asleep nearly instantly after long days of hiking.

I’m not afraid of bears.

Some people are afraid of grocery stores. I’m gonna go ahead and assume you’ve figured out how I know. I am afraid of grocery stores. But I believe it’s less about being in public (which is a whole separate issue for me) and more about whom I may encounter there. I don’t live in a huge metropolitan area, which makes the chances rather high for running into people whom I’d rather not run into. Even so, it’s happened a disproportionate amount of times. Sometimes I’ve been so shaken up that I’ve left the store without making my purchases. I believe there was only once that I had a buggy full of groceries, and I left in a panic. But I’ve seen people I’d rather not with high frequency. My anxiety and fear ratcheted up to the point where I’d drive to the grocery (after allowing myself to run out of pretty much everything), then sit in the car in the parking lot for several minutes to an hour before finally driving away without ever getting out of the car.

I’m afraid of grocery stores.

This fear has caused me to spend more money than I can really afford (considering other shit I desperately need to take care of) and damage my health with fast food. There’s no risk I’ll run into anyone when I just go through a drive-thru and go home. But it’s not a healthy way to live, not for mind or body.

I went to the grocery store today. It sounds so simple, it’s nothing more than an inconvenience. Rightfully so. It’s pretty irrational to be petrified of grocery shopping. But I am. I have been. I went today, and I didn’t make a quick run, either. I started in produce and made my way around the store, selecting my purchases. I’ll need to go again tomorrow, as I didn’t take a list today (it was more about pushing through my fear and getting started with the basics). I got nearly everything I need. But I need a few more things. Perhaps I’ll make crawfish Γ©touffΓ©e tomorrow.

I had a big day for me, really. I got up early (on a Saturday – what the fuck is the world coming to (I like to sleep until 3 PM or Sunday)), got dressed (that’s important to do before going out in public, or so I’ve been told), grabbed a bottle of water and hit the park. My foot still hasn’t healed (what the fuck, man), but I walked a trail anyway. Along a lake. It was so fucking humid, but it was lovely. It was lovely. The birds and the flowers and the water and the occasional breeze. Left there and went to a cafΓ© (sort of), got a fruity iced tea thingy and a croissant. Then I went straight to the grocery store. I only sat in the car for about fifteen minutes (trust me, that’s good for me). When I got home, I didn’t stop. There has been zero bed or moping or bed moping today. Mowed the yard, fixed the new gravel that’s on the driveway, babied some suffering plants, and now I’m doing laundry. I need a shower so badly, but I wanna make sure most of the sweating is behind me before I do!

I kept a promise today. Promises are sacred to me. You don’t fuck with a promise unless you didn’t have a choice (and you pretty much always have a choice, so you better have a fucking good reason). I promised to work on myself today, push past the fear and do it. And I did. And I felt (feel) fantastic and optimistic afterward. I know optimism is a feeling like any other – it comes and goes with the days and moods. But for now, I’m enjoying it. And when it begins to fade again, I’ll have to push past the fear again. Today was one day. This is one weekend. I need to make it two. And keep going.

Because if I don’t – I’ll get to Oregon or Washington and nothing will have changed. I will go to work as I do here. I will drive straight home as I do here. And I will cry and mope and wish for adventure. And I will hold myself back. If I can’t push through it here, what makes me think I will there? I don’t want to move to the PNW just to continue the lifestyle I have now. What’s the fucking point of that? If I’m to live, I need to start living.

shawshank-redemption-movie-quote-dying-living-death-busy-quote

What else am I afraid of?

I’m not afraid of spiders – not majorly so. I have a massive fear of venomous ones. But little jumping spiders? They’re fucking adorable. The wolf spider I found in my garden made me scream like a little girl and literally run away. That was pretty funny. But I didn’t kill it. I let it be…and used gloves when I got back to it.

I was afraid of pubs. I pushed through it, and I’m okay there now. Not exactly comfortable, but okay.

I’m afraid of my nosebleeds. What do they mean? Dunno. But that’s the kind of thing I’m afraid of.

I’m afraid of my neighbors. Not in any dangerous sense, but in the sense that they’re there. Watching me. Judging me. Talking about me. Hell, I should just say I’m afraid of people and have done.

I’m afraid of attachment. I crave it, and yet I fear it. Because allowing yourself to be completely vulnerable exposes your soft underbelly. And some people like to stab those, repeatedly.

I’m afraid of the government, and all of its agents, because of the power we’ve given over to it.

I’m afraid of the threat of tornadoes. Always was, irrationally so. But now that one has hit my house, the fear is greater.

I’m afraid of heights, but not to a crippling extent. Not enough to hinder me from walking cliff trails in the mountains.

I’m afraid I’ll die alone. Nothing I can really do about it aside from keeping myself open to possibilities and otherwise keep on keepin’ on.

I’m afraid of missing out. Of never discovering meaning or purpose. Perhaps there isn’t one. And if there isn’t, then I’m afraid I’ll never be content with that answer. Again. Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, and keep myself open to new ideas and possibilities.

I’m afraid of suffering. I’m afraid of cancer and heart disease. Too much of it in my family, and it scares me. I need to live more healthfully and mindfully.

I’m afraid of my bad memory and what it may mean for my old age, should I make it there. Yet another thing I need to work on improving.

I’m afraid of touching crickets. When I’d go fishing, I could never bait my own hook. I could never get a fish off of a hook, either. I couldn’t touch the cricket. I’d try and try and try, then squeal and back away. Yes. I’m such a girl in some ways. In more ways than I let on here sometimes, I think. And you know what I mean. Soft. Emotional. Sensitive. Gentle. Nervous. Bashful. Afraid to touch bugs, but don’t want to see them dead. Those aren’t purely feminine traits, but fucks sake why am I trying to explain this. Anyway. Yeah. I’m more of a “girl” than I let on.

Hm. I think that’s enough for now. I’m actually in a calm, gentle, smiley mood. So don’t let all this fear talk fool you. I’m looking inward and taking inventory as I am wont to do. Today I don’t find it depressing. Today it’s like cleaning out the cobwebs and taking stock.

Now to see what tomorrow holds.

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59 thoughts on “What are you so afraid of?

  1. I think it is okay to be afraid of things, that is part of being human. I too am afraid of our government…not because of its power but because of its rampant stupidity.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Our fears are a protection for us . The problem is when we let them stifle us and stop actually living (which I’ve been known to resort to quite frequently) . I see you didn’t let that happen to you today πŸ™‚ and I’m happy for you πŸ™‚
    Wishing you an “adventurous” Sunday
    Turtle Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Dear Steph,
    I am proud of you. I am afraid of spiders. I really don’t like putting crickets on my hook…I did in pure fear…mostly because of being made fun of if I didn’t do it. I hate grocery stores, because: People. I am not afraid of bears either but I wouldn’t want to meet one up close. I am afraid of failure not my own but I’m afraid of failing the people who count on me…especially the two little souls who look to me for guidance and protection.
    I am a little like a girl too, as you describe it. Emotional, Empathetic, gentle…hate bugs.
    I’m afraid of this suit of armor I wear around all the time because I feel like one day it will fall apart…and to be honest it has never let me down yet…but still, someday it might.
    I’m afraid of ghosts and ghost stories…always have been. I still don’t watch horror movies. I think mostly because I can’t stand to watch people suffer…and that’s mostly what it’s become…how long can you watch someone screaming in agony before you have to get up and leave. I’d rather watch Streets of Fire, or a Tolkien movie, or Stars Trek.
    Anyway…that’s some of the things that I struggle with.
    .
    Oh! Im afraid of heights and flying too.

    Thanks for being here.

    Lots of love,

    Eric

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Eric, that was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. It’s harder for men, isn’t it? You’re not “supposed” to have emotional depth or a gentle, loving soul. People consider those weaknesses. I see them as the true strength. As for me, I’m trying to get comfortable being naked – as in, stripping my armor off one plate at a time.

      Your little souls are lucky to have you.

      Oh but I love flying! Wooooooo! Gimme some turbulence! πŸ€—πŸŽ‰

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’m so proud of you. I am afraid of spiders too (as you already know). More than anything else on this planet, I’m afraid of not becoming the human I wish to be.

    I came to look at fear as the great mediator. The one thing that tears down the walls and allows us to come together, to reach out and perhaps to overcome.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have a suggestion!
    Online shopping, because people are lame and so is grocery shopping.
    But as for the other things, bugs are creepy, and I’m shit scared of spiders but unfortunately for me I’m in Straya where spiders are the size of hamsters.
    What’s your definition of dying alone? Because if it’s love you’re looking for, if you really need it you’ll find it, if you don’t I don’t believe for a second you’ll not have people that love you around your death bed. Not many good people die alone.

    It’s not going to always be like this either, we change, we grow, we adapt. We eventually face the fears we hold now, overcome them and start stressing about something else. In all reality, life is scary and dangerous, but if you always think that then you’ll always see it if you know what I mean.

    If you’re anything like me, then the moment you stop worrying what people think of you, the sooner you’ll realise that if you’re this charismatic in writing, then you probably are in person too. And who doesn’t like meeting and talking to an awesome person. πŸ™‚

    (This is coming from the loner kid that still to this day has no real friends. Lol…)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh man, Kim…you’re fucking awesome. I needed this, and I’m so thankful for you. Heh. Yeah, I’m the loner kid with no real (in-person) friends, either. But damn, you’re awesome. And a lot of y’all are awesome here. So I do have friends, really.

      Yeah. I get scared that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Like no loving relationship kind of alone. But. I am definitely at the point where I know better than to settle for some bullshit just so I’m not physically alone. That shit is worse than actually being alone. I’ve given one or two people a shot in recent months, but I’m standing my ground on what it is I want and need. I spent too many years living for what someone else wanted. It’s my turn – not to imply I’m not down for compromise, ya know? But I won’t compromise who I am anymore.

      And thank you – for your kind words and encouragement. I’m trying to get to the point where I can accept compliments – I mean really accepting them, internalizing them. It’s fucking work to get myself to do that, but I’m getting there. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I used to be where you were, I chose to keep making the same mistake over and over again just because I wanted to be loved. And I slept around a lot, not because I enjoyed it, but because I wanted to feel close to someone so desperately. And it really kills your soul, your esteem, to think you’re only good for a fuck and nothing more. Then I found mister, the best thing that’s ever happened to me. My best friend, my soul mate, my gamer 2. But it took a lot of pain to make me realise I wasn’t giving the people I should’ve a chance. You are already a step above me in finding yourself and not ever comprising your integrity. You will find someone who loves you for all of you, all your brokenness and brilliance. They may not be perfect, they may shit you sometimes, but those little annoyances are still the things that make you love that person.

        I think you’ll find that. I spent 4 years single thinking I was doomed to be alone forever. But you NEVER know what turn life is going to take. Fuck, your whole life can change in the space of a day sometimes.

        You’re doing ok, you are. And you need to hear this. You are on the right track, you are a good person and you deserve love. It’ll happen, maybe not soon but other possibilities also happen too. Something might change to make you re-establish what you want, and that might not even be a relationship.

        Life is scary, but sometimes spontaneous shit is fun.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes! I’m finally learning that – and going for it. Instead of waiting for someone to make decisions for me, I’m making them for myself. Taking the driver seat, so to speak. I’m gonna go to the PNW. I’m gonna visit and explore the world, cultures, experiences, suck the marrow out of life…and if someone stumbles into me and wants to come along for the ride, fucking awesome. And if not, I have to define my own happiness – and I finally think I know what that is. At least today. I may have to pick myself up off my ass again tomorrow, but I’ll ride the high and the hope while I can. One of these days it will stick!

        And you’re so right about a day changing everything. I had something like that the day before yesterday. It was one hell of a day, and it had a huge impact on me. And I feel hope…for the first time in a really long time.

        Thank you, Kim – your kindness, your concern, means the fucking world to me.

        We have to meet some day, and if you enjoy a drink now and then, I’m buying.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’ve said this a few times now but email me woman, I want to be your friend, I wanna be more then WordPress comment relationship ;). (No seriously, you’ve commented on posts and it says your email, but I feel like a creepy creep when I message people from those means.)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Daisy – I’m always up for a challenge. The hitch is following through on challenging myself on purpose. When someone else challenges me, I dive right in. So I need to be my own catalyst, too!

      Like

  6. One day at a time. That’s what I tell myself all the time. I have those moments when I find quiet and calm in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life, when joy just overwhelms me. Maybe that is our natural state, but others come by and just mess it all up for us. When I recognize that, it makes me angry and fight back. Ironic that fear and anger can be such a strong motivator.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They really are strong motivators, aren’t they? I find myself, more and more, missing the joy I had in spite of it all – in my youth. And I allowed people to beat me down with comments like, “what are you always so damn happy about?” “What’s so good about the morning, huh?” It slowly eroded my already fragile state. But I’m fighting to take it back. I think of the joy and freedom and *life* I felt in the mountains. And I want that. When I hear birdsong or see a beautiful flower, I feel such joy. It’s out there, and I want it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay! Go get it- that sounds so magnificent- the mountains and the birds and the flowers:) Yes, mean people suck. They screw everything up. I wish we could just gather them all up and banish them to an island or something so the rest of us can be happy forever. The innocence and pure joy I see in children, is like, I want to tell them to enjoy it while it lasts, but they’ll probably think I was this weird creep.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah! Oh how I love the unabashed joy and excitement for life I see in small children. I especially love the adventurous and precocious ones. They really seek out life and make it their own.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. ‘soft underbelly ‘ i liked those sentences. i liked this vulernable post and it helps people like me to open our eyes and to know that people out there are actually afraid of grocery stores.
    nice post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much…and I know what you mean. I have to remind myself sometime, when I encounter someone behaving abnormally in any way – even if it’s just inexplicable anger or something, I have no idea what their lives are like or what he or she may be going through.

      It’s so easy to lose sight of that, especially when someone pisses us off. But you never know…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, I really like this post. I think I’m more afraid of wind than really makes sense. I live on the 11th floor and it was a really windy night and I literally lost sleep worrying that it would knock my building down.
    It’s funny because I ran into an acquaintance in a grocery store just the other day. No one that I would dread running into- quite the opposite in fact- but I am always so thrown off when I’m not expecting it. Anyway, we got stuck in line together behind someone who needed a price check so it was brutal.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wind! Yes! I totally get that – it’s wind that I’m most afraid of when it comes to heights. I remember several instances when I was at a significant height, and I was okay until wind started whipping and you could feel the structure shifting.

      I forgot about my irrational fear when I was a kid!! I used to be scared to death that the floor of the car would fall off while mom drove on the interstate, and I’d tumble out and get plastered to a truck. It was disturbing.

      Like

      1. I can relate to that. I had a lot of weird car fears. I could never have my seatbelt off even if we were parked because I would always be afraid that I would fall to the floor and somehow be sucked under the seat. I’m not sure why I thought the seat would suck me in but at the time I was pretty certain that it would.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I don’t know where fears like that come from, the totally irrational ones. But I sure as hell came to believe mine as you did yours. Scary, huh? I still have trouble riding passenger…hm. Never thought about a connection until now. But I prefer driving than riding along. I get nervous. Ha!

        Like

      1. Thank you! And….HAHAHAHA! Crab effy deffy!!! I didn’t cook it – I’m just having rice and black eye peas. It was storming, so I couldn’t go out to get the rest of my ingredients for etoufee. Tomorrow perhaps! Wish I could share with ya!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. YES. If you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. Exactly that…but then we end up hurting ourselves by keeping everyone at bay. I need to work on balance, but I’m not there yet. Perhaps the blog is helping me – I think it is. πŸ™‚

      Butter! I need details on the butter one!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Our fears protect us from crickets…? I, too, am frightened of all insects with eyes on the sides and make loud noises with their legs. Supermarkets are incredibly scary especially when there are mothers with children – they should be banned. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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