Things I'm not afraid of.
Originally posted July 2, 2017 on the previous Little Mountains Blog website.
I hate flying. I don’t do heights and I can’t stand feeling trapped in a small space. Unfortunately for me, flying is the perfect love child of those fears. Throw in the fact that I have literally no control over anything on a plane other than my own actions, and you’ve hit the anxiety jackpot. I actually didn’t fly at all for twelve years of my life until my senior year of college, when I got a strong prescription and forced myself to do the damn thing.
A few weekends ago I took a trip to Los Angeles to visit my sister who lives and goes to school down there. I was excited to see her, but a little stressed as it was the first time I’d be returning to LA after I’d moved. (LA and I have a complicated relationship – more on that later.) On top of that, I was in a funky mood a day or two before I left because the flight to Los Angeles is literally ONE HOUR long but I was already starting to panic. The whole process of packing, getting to the airport, going through security, and waiting around just to board the plane and then have the real anxiety set in was not sounding all that appealing.
In all honesty, my fear of flying makes me feel super lame. I know plenty of people have the same concern, but to me it’s always felt incredibly limiting. Add in the fact that flying is actually super safe (trust me, I’ve done my research) and cue the internal war that comes with such an irrational fear. And of course, when I start thinking about one thing I’m afraid of, my brain says "why stop there?" What other perfectly normal things or situations scare you for some unexplained reason? So the self-deprecating spiral begins.
But this time, before this trip, I tried something new. I made a list of things that scare me, stared at it feeling totally ridiculous, and then decided to make a list of things that don’t scare me. It wasn’t a long list and it didn’t include anything cool like “bungee jumping off a cliff” or “swimming with sharks.” But it’s a teeny tiny reminder that not every. single. thing. in my life is scary.
So here it is, my non-exhaustive list of things I’m not afraid of, the product of a late night and a lot of self-doubt.
Things I'm not afraid of:
Going to the dentist
Making eye contact
Interacting with people one-on-one
Standing up for myself
Public speaking (out of character, but true)
Driving in city downtowns
Talking to boys
Getting (small) tattoos
Talking to my family about real life things
People who aren't the same as me
And there’s more, I know there’s more because I’ve been making a conscious effort to think more about what doesn’t scare me and obsess less about the things that do. Making this list didn’t take away my travel anxiety, it didn’t make me feel like superwoman, and truth be told, it didn’t even feel as empowering as I thought it might. But it was a step in the right direction, and I can at least be proud of myself for that.