It's the day after Halloween and I'm still scared of stuff.
I'm not afraid of ghosts.
Not afraid of heights
Not bothered by spiders.
Don't mind getting dirty.
I'm not even afraid of peanut butter getting stuck on the roof of my mouth.
And there ARE people who are.
Look it up.
I did look.
The list of phobias is enormous.
And some of them make me smile...fear of chickens, fear of chins, fear of vegetables, fear of belly buttons, etc., etc.
I smile until the thought crosses my mind that if there is a LIST, then there must be at least ONE person in the world who wakes up each and every day looking over their shoulder for bogeymen.
For them, the fear is real. No joke.
Irrational to you and I, perhaps, but real just the same. The same sinking, creeped out, sweaty palms, heart thumping, paralyzing fear most people feel at some point in their lives.
You know you have.
Been that afraid.
At least once.
Over a lifetime, the chances that it will happen MORE than once, increases exponentially.
Because, let's face it.
The world can be a very scary place.
You can leave a light on.
Be sure the closet door is shut.
Wear your seatbelt.
Avoid riding in an elevator and use the stairs.
Build a storm shelter. Load up on supplies. And batteries.
Why you can even stop going outside at all.
You can shut out the world with duct tape and plastic wrap, but don't kid yourself.
You still have the ability to think about scary stuff.
You still have the ability to invent and imagine a whole list of stuff that demands your attention.
So what's the rational response to the rap, tap, tapping on your windowsill.
I remember reading somewhere that the event is not as important as your reaction to it.
The truth is, I am actually a bit jealous of the folks who are afraid of chickens.
That kind of fear seems so finite. Something you could definitely build a moat around.
What I am talking to myself about here, is not the known, but the unknown.
A fear of the kind of things that haven't happened.
Stuff that could or might or may happen in an hour, in a day, in a week, in a month...well, you get the idea.
I suppose there is a methodology to help people who are afraid of chickens. Or shoes. Or dust. Or vegetables.
Face the fear.
Sit meditatively with a plate of broccoli.
Spend the night in a chicken coop.
I am sure this might work well if your fear has an actual face.
But what if the fear kind of floats around in the air?
How do you take a swing at it?
How do you look it in the eye?
How do you turn your back on it and walk away?
Practice, I think.
It takes practice.
The scary thought jumps up and says Boo!.
You say...I know you.
I've seen you before.
We've been introduced.
I didn't like you then.
And I don't need you now.
I am busy.
How do you break the habit of expecting the unexpected?
That's how life works.
Everything is unexpected.
Like my son's first grade teacher once said.
Make better choices.
You get to vote.
You have a voice.
Tell your scary thoughts to take a hike.
And for Pete's sake, ask for help if you need it...
Or offer it if you don't.
I know right now there are lots and lots and lots and lots of people busy yelling at each other.
I have a feeling that some of that yelling is from fear of both the known and the unknown.
Maybe it's time for a little less WebMD and a little more TLC.
The ones that listen to your fears, and hold your hand.
Or take you for a walk in the park.
Or just sit.
Until the moment passes.
I know this works.
Today, in the midst of a scary thought...
I got a text...
From a friend...
I missed it yesterday.
I needed it today.
All it said was..."Boo!" and a smiley face.
So I said it too.
And I smiled.
I have a date with the dentist tomorrow.
I'm no longer going it alone.
I have back-up.