Fear is a funny thing.
I have a lot of phobias.
Spiders. The dark. Aliens. Shadow-monsters-that-want-to-crawl-in-through-my-nose-and-possess-me. Heights. Trolls. Spiders. Yoga. Closed in spaces. Open spaces. Driving. Getting lost. Vegetarians. Spiders.
I am pretty much afraid of everything.
Every day I wake up and realize that there is a whole new day of fear and dread ahead of me.
For example: I woke up this morning, and had a slight headache. I thought, "Huh. This is it. I have a blood clot in my brain. When I move, it is going to block an a essential artery and I am going to die of a sudden, massive, aneurysm." The thought made my heart rate spike for a second, and the adrenaline course through my system.
I sat up, and didn't die, and reached over to shut off the alarm clock I have set on my phone. I paused a moment before touching it. What if there was a spider sitting on it? The very thought made my skin shudder, but I reached over and plucked the thing off the end table, flipped it open (yes, I still have a flip phone), and switched it off.
I scanned the floor for creepy crawlies before putting my feet down, then got up and wandered into the living room.
I faced maybe 15 of my fears on my way there, and I didn't scream once.
I think this makes me very brave.
I fear I am a hypochondriac. I am afraid I will think I am a hypochondriac and will let a treatable but fatal disease go too far and I will die from a preventable illness. I fear cancer from the sun and my cell phone, and the Diet Mountain Dews I suck down. I am afraid of dying of an abscessed tooth that is left untreated. If I get a scratch, I am afraid of lockjaw, but I am afraid of calling people on the phone, so I haven't called around to find out how to get my tetanus booster shot in over 10 years.
But somehow. SOMEHOW. I am a functioning member of society. Most people don't even realize that I panic a little at least 5 times a day. (OH NO! I GOT SOMETHING IN THE MAIL! I AM GOING TO GO TO JAIL OR GET SUED, oh, it's just an ad.) I worry that all this worry is going to kill me.
It's almost the weekend, finally. Three day weekend. Boyfriend and I are going for our first backpacking trip of the year.
...Even though I am afraid of running into a moose who will step on me, and even though I am worried about bears, and spiders, and all sorts of things...
And even though I am worried about lightning, and flooding, and getting sick or hurt...
It has been a really rough week at work. It felt like I was being punished for things that weren't my fault. On the one day I managed to get outside and take a run during my lunch, it was so hot I was afraid I might actually melt and my legs would bend like warm candles. And I started thinking.
I had just finished reading a book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston. It is the book on which they based the movie 127 Hours. It's the one where the guy gets his arm smashed in a boulder in a lonely canyon and ***SPOILER ALERT*** cuts off his own arm with a pocket knife in order to get out.
I would imagine that some people would take this story as further proof that going outside and doing stuff is a bad idea.
But as I sat at work yesterday, fighting tears of frustration after not sleeping the night before because I was so stressed out by crap at work, and I thought about how humans are clearly not meant to live in cubicles, and how pissed off I was at nothing in particular, just grouchy, and I thought, "I think I would rather cut off my own arm than be here today."
It was a kind of an epiphany.
No, I didn't quit my job. I'm way to frightened of life to do that.. I'm afraid of being poor. Of people judging me. (Although if I'm honest, I really do kind of want to be a hobo).
Instead, I planned a backpacking trip with my boyfriend for the Forth of July weekend.
And I probably won't die. But death is definitely less scary than NOT going.