Confronting Silent Shrieks of Fear

I tend to think of myself as brave and independent with an underdeveloped vulnerable side, kind of like the Sheila Rae character in the popular children’s books. I may be small in stature but I like being strong, rational, and self-aware and those are the cores of my identity.

That being said, I have some rather irrational fears that I don’t talk about – or think about much either. In the spirit of continually evolving into a more aware strong and brave woman, I decided to actually confront some of the unconscious fears that give me that surreal, vague, clutchy feeling in my gut. You may not be able to relate to these particular fears (and who knows where this stuff really comes from?!), but I’m betting you have a few that you could pinpoint yourself.

Construction workers. The way they stare me down when I pass them in construction zones is enough to make me feel like I’m in an episode of Scared Straight. Even as I’m driving the designated speed and carefully navigating a narrow labyrinth of cones, I always feel like I’m doing something very, very wrong as I pass by. Nervously clutching the steering wheel like a ship’s helm, I feel transported back to the days of the Vikings, fearing their burley beards, grimaces, and the large poles they hold menacingly as if ready to wield at you if your car inches out of bounds.

A big, black Chevy SUV in my rear-view mirror. Yesterday I became aware of this particular type of vehicle traveling behind me and immediately felt my stomach tense up. I then recognized the sensation of innate fear – there was a “bad guy” behind me! The gnawing, inexplicable feeling of danger belied my unconscious fears: What if it was a hit man and this was my time? What if it was an angry soccer mom on her last leg and ready to go postal? What if I wasn’t driving fast enough – would they run me off the road? And don’t deny that you, too, have felt this way about a big, foreboding SUV or truck coming at you with a grill big enough to eat you up.

“Game Day” at work. I was shy growing up and being social came to me rather recently. I still get clutchy when the dreaded words are spoken, “Friday is Games Day!” Oh sure, it’s only office mini-golf or roll-the-ball-into-a-bucket. There will be great camaraderie and team building for all, right? But when this news is announced I experience instantaneous sweating that I can’t explain – unless I remember how badly I do at games when a large group of people is watching me. Like when I got the awards for being the worst bowler and the worst mini-golfer – I’ve got the “Smile and Act Sheepish” thing down, let me tell you.

I’ll keep you updated as I continue to become more aware of my irrational fears. It’s fun (in a way) to recognize the things that cause our bodies to suddenly and unconsciously react. Maybe becoming aware of our bodies and minds can be a fun, educational experience after all.

What are YOUR unconscious fears? 🙂

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  1. Construction workers can be scary! For me, as I’m heading out a bit on my wogs, I’ve been paying special attention to safety. Yesterday I was on a path, in a new town, in an unfamiliar area, and thought, “I should have called someone to tell them what I was doing.” There were some seedy people around, along with moms, strollers, & tricycles. But still, there were some empty stretches and I did have a “creepy” thing ring out. Sigh….

    • Oh dear, what is a “wog?” That sounds a bit scary itself! I’ve had that creepy feeling too (yes, please do let someone know where you’re going!). I’ve been in areas that were supposedly “safe” but I still couldn’t shake feeling afraid while being there. Listening to ourselves is underrated! I could relate with Rita’s post on running amongst bears… I felt a bit creepy hiking by myself a few times. Exactly what is watching me, and how hungry is it?

  2. CyclingGuy says:

    I go for long mountain bike rides at odd times – when not many people are on the trail. In the middle of the forest it can get very quiet and I sometimes freak myself out about bears and mountain lions. For a while I actually rode with a bear bell so as not to sneak up on anything. I ditched that because it was annoying, but I will still occasionally clear my throat loudly when I think I’m being too quiet out there…

  3. Hehehe – wog = jog + walk – and yes, it is very scary for me 😉 I’m gonna start thinking about this going out alone thing – there should definitely be some safety rules with it!

  4. Ok, you ready for this? I ( I’m refusing to call it a fear but a serious avoidance of!!) highways and lots of concrete. On Maui I never drove on a highway, then when i moved to the mainland it was *eeek* too many cars, trucks and intensity! Still hate it!

    • Hey, I’m terrified of urban decay and mind-numbing traffic! I can see how that would be a HUGE adjustment. (It was a big adjustment for me going to Hawaii and being so laid back, lol).

  5. Ok, I’m strong, fast, and I can hit, but construction workers scare the crap out me.

    Of my greatest unconscious fears (there are many), is the fear that at during an uncomfortable or awkward moment, time will freeze eternally and that moment will be my hell. Sadly, I’m not joking — I really get this way from time to time — like sitting next to a crying baby on airplane.
    Emergefit recently posted..The Art Of The Ordeal…My Profile

    • I am SO glad to hear someone else is afraid of construction workers! They might all be big teddy bears waiting for big hugs, but honestly, do they have to look like we’re all scheming to go out of bounds? Trust me on this, I’m NOT going to break through any barriers (if I can help it anyway…).
      Now that you mention, being afraid a horrible moment is going freeze for eternal hell sounds pretty horrifying. Thanks for putting that one in my head (why did I ask??) :).

  6. Hi, I’m stopping by after reading your featured post on Fitblogger…have enjoyed following you on Twitter and this blog is great too. 🙂 You sound totally normal to me. But I’m scared of my attic (always make my boyfriend go up those creaky stairs instead of me) and the trailers for the new Walking Dead show, even though I can watch True Blood without blinking an eye. Goofy, huh?
    Shira recently posted..Stress Eating – An Equal Opportunity ChallengeMy Profile

    • Good to see you Shira, thanks for stopping by. Don’t get me started on the Walking Dead… the campiest show since The Hills have Eyes?! It’s pretty dang gory but makes for great tweeting. Btw, your blog is cool and you look great!

  7. OK, so when I was very young I went through a few years where I had terrible ear infections, so consequently I had several sets of tubes put in my ears. To this day whenever any one messes with the inside of my ears I go into a small panic attack. Makes doctor checkups entertaining.
    Aaron recently posted..School and afternoon runs!My Profile

    • Yikes! I see kids going through that now and then. They really don’t like it!! I was scared of “earwigs” when I was a kid, little bugs boring through to your brain. I had to wait til the Internet was invented before I could breathe easy!

  8. I suffer from a fear of enforced office fun – there is nothing I hate more than organised spontaneity. If the staff in a workplace get on then stuff like “office games” would happen spontaneously and if they don’t get on in that sort of way then nothing is going to make it happen.

    Or am I just being a bit miserable?
    Polly recently posted..XpoleMy Profile

    • Haha – that’s exactly what I’m talking about: enforced fun. I suppose it’s worse when you are new to an office and haven’t figured out how to have fun “casual” fun with them yet.

  9. I love Sheila Rae the Brave! That was one of my daughter’s favorite books growing up, and I credit it for turning her into a very courageous girl and young woman! My own fears are too numerous to list. Though I am becomming braver in my old age.
    Melinda Patton recently posted..I want moreMy Profile

    • Your daughter sounds like someone I wouldn’t mind meeting – and you :). I could probably write several more posts on my fears… but I prefer to ignore them 😉

  10. if there is something that i should greatly fear, it’s traveling without my anti-asthma inhaler. seriously, i rode a boat once and it takes 6 hours to arrive in my destination. I had an asthma attack after an hour and my medicine was already depleted! It took a miracle to cure me that night. I still shudder thinking about that near-death experience *shudder

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