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What do you fear?
I do not fear death, or acts of terrorism.
I do not fear being physically hurt or abused.
But crocodiles scared the bejesus out of me! They seem all very cute until you see a five metre female in the height of the wet season marching towards you and your child. Luckily we were separated by chicken wire! Gulp!
But those are only little fears. It’s the deep, dark fears that I’ve hidden deep in my psyche, which define my daily decisions. For example, as a child I remember my mother warning me to run to higher ground if the water at the sea receded quickly, I probably was no more than nine. I am now deathly scared of tsunamis, so as a result I always try to live at the highest point of a city (with the exception of Broome which is completely flat)! Having said that, my fear of tsunami was one of the things that made me leave Broome, a place I loved living. Stupid? Yes, it is. I didn’t even realise until recently that even when I’m at the beach, I’m always making an exit strategy in the case of tsunami. It’s unconscious, but I do it.
It wasn’t my mother’s fault that I’m afraid of tsunamis, but something that in that moment I started telling myself. I have had nightmares about tsunamis for years, but it never quite looks like that video of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The waves are always at least 100m high and there is never a way out. Sometimes I run, sometimes I let it take me, sometimes I hold onto debris for dear life. I usually wake before it ends.
I once said to a friend that my worst nightmare would be to be in an underwater cave in scuba gear, but I can see now that I need to add a tsunami to that worst nightmare.
Scuba gear and caves, easy fears to recognise – fear of enclosed spaces and not being able to get out or breathe. Wow, you’re learning a lot about me here! Mazes are another source of frustration and irritation for me. Like caves, you don’t always know your way out, that lack of control and being lost and scuba breathing is about running out of breath without time to surface, so in many ways it’s a fear of drowning. I imagine that comes from a past-life experience of drowning at sea en-route to the Australian colonies.
But the fear that most surprised me when I started exploring my fears in depth was the following: I am petrified about being a bride in my own wedding; to have people looking at me as the centre of attention and a man looking at me in complete love and devotion. Even writing that down I feel a tremendous anxiety in my chest and I just want to run away! But today I made a commitment to practice feeling what it might feel like to have the excitement of a wedding, of feeling the love radiating from my loved ones as I share the moment with them and of course feeling what it might be like to feel loved from a man, my best friend, who adores me.
It’s probably easy enough to embrace the scuba diving fear and take some lessons, it’s probably easy enough to learn to let go of control by going to the local mazes and get completely lost and embrace that feeling. I have done a bit of caving and unlike my peers who found it exciting, I found it traumatic, I should probably do more of that, or at least feel what it would be like and embrace that feeling for what it is. Tsunamis? I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that one, but learning to live on the flats might be something that I might have to embrace in the future. But the fear of marriage, of being loved so much that someone wants to share their life with me, of being someone’s wife/partner, I have to just put conscious effort into feeling what it might be like.
I wish I knew where that fear came from?
OMG! I know what it is! When I was nine, I was a flower-girl in my auntie’s wedding and my instructions were to start walking down the aisle when the music started. The music started and I started walking…everyone thought that I was adorable…but it was the wrong music! I was chastised and the only other thing I remember was falling asleep afterwards in my dress, even though I wasn’t supposed to. The only two things I remember about my first wedding were getting in trouble!! And I probably wasn’t even in big trouble!
Oh, it’s such little things! Seeing it all as an adult, it seems all so silly, but as a child, somewhere I associated weddings with being embarrassed in public! No wonder I fear being the centre of attention! It was so deep in my psyche that I never linked the two events until now.
Wow! Mind blown!
So, I am embracing my fears and learning to feel what it would be like to explore each of those things. As you know from previous posts, I am working through my stuff about being loved by the masculine and fear of commitment. It doesn’t mean that I’m getting married or want a wedding, it's about me just learning to love the feeling of what it might feel like to be loved by the masculine and be the centre of attention!
With the sensationalist media stories dominating the headlines, we, as a population, live in a sort- of controlled fear-state, but it’s not terrorism that we need to fear. It is the hidden fears that we have deep within us that keep us trapped in patterns of behaviour that we do, without thinking. It’s those fears that we need to face and learn to feel what it is to face them within the safety of our minds and bodies.
What are your fears? And when are you going to start facing them?
I am not afraid. I am safe. I surround my world with love and compassion.
©Alyssa Curtayne 2015
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