By Molly J. Anderson-Childers | Updated May 5, 2018
Today, I want to write about fear. As the Earth turns her face towards winter, and nights grow longer, I feel my soul grow accustomed to this darkness. It is time to look coldly and honestly at the things that scare us, and learn what we can from this dark time.
First, make a catalogue of your fears; an exhaustive list of your phobias, all the little things that scare you. Mine includes clowns, grasshoppers, centipedes, loneliness, cancer, holidays, class reunions, mean dogs, global warming, nuclear war, the growing stack of bills by the phone the list goes on and on. Some days, it's longer than others. At three in the morning, when I wake to worry, it's even longer.
But now, in the clear light of day, I find it is important to look closely at my fears, to see what they are made of, and confront them if I can. This is something I try to do in a number of ways through art and writing, humor, and even through movement or dance.
Here's a fact you didn't know about me: I used to be deathly afraid of dancing. Afraid no one would want to dance with me, or that the wrong person would want to dance all night. Afraid that I'd look weird, or stupid, or that I'd do something wrong, and then everybody would laugh. I had dance-a-phobia all through middle and high school. It ruined school dances, parties, and social events. I didn't even go to my senior prom.
What finally cured me of this hideous and paralyzing malady? A group of girlfriends I met in college. When I first moved to Durango, I didn't know anyone. Always quick to make friends, I got to know my roommate and her group of girlfriends. Soon, we were sitting together at meals, gossiping about boys, and studying together. And when the time for studying was done, we hung out together to party sometimes on campus, sometimes downtown. We frequented a local bar that hosted a DJ every Tuesday for College Night, and it was there that I learned to dance without fear.
The pumping, pounding rhythms filled me up. At first, I danced with my eyes closed so I wouldn't get nervous. A little later, I was able to open my eyes and move to the music like a whirling Sufi, a dancing queen, a disco diva. It was beautiful.
Now I love to dance, and I don't care who's watching. I dance at concerts, I dance at home, in the kitchen. I even seat-dance in my car when the music is pumping, I've got the windows rolled down, bopping and snapping my fingers and singing along, and if anyone gives me a rude look, I just turn it up louder.
What I learned from my girlfriends is that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of your moves, as long as you're out on the dance floor having fun. I faced my fear of looking silly and I had a lot of fun, too. Fun that I'd missed out on for years, because I was afraid. I decided then and there to look at my fears honestly, and face them head-on.
Choose one fear a tiny one or a big one from your catalogue of phobias and things that go bump in the night. Write it down on a piece of paper, then, using a big red crayon, write over it "I am stronger than my fear!" and hang it on your wall. Draw yourself as a cartoon super-hero, leaping over your fears in a single bound. Find a way to make your fears funny with a cartoon or some jokes, or a silly little doodle.
Do one tiny thing every day to face your fears even if you're still scared inside. Especially if you're still scared inside. I'm scared about everything all the time but you'd never know it to look at me. Act brave, even when your teeth are chattering and your knees are shaking your enemies and phobias can smell fear, and it only makes them stronger. And, when all else fails, put on some perfume and your best dress and go out dancing with your girlfriends.
Note: This is dedicated to my girlz: Molly, Suzan, and Joy. You have given me strength and courage unbounded. I will never forget.
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©2008 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.
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