On fears

Fears. Whether we like to admit it, or not, we all have fears. I have a few… I guess one of the ones that came on later in life was my fear of heights.

I guess it started in grade seven or eight. I was helping a kindergarten teacher put up decorations on the far back wall above where the hats and coats get hung. There was a sturdy shelf upon which kids could place their hats and mitts. I was shuffling along the shelf, hanging decorations, when suddenly I slipped and fell. Luckily for me, my pant leg got snagged on one of the coat hooks temporarily preventing my fall which prevented me from smashing to the floor hard. I did slip off the hook, but I only feel a few inches to the floor and I was unhurt. From then onward, I was leery of heights.

It was a gradual fear that grew bigger over time. I remember once shortly after I moved to Vancouver, crossing the Burrard Street Bridge. I got across ok, but it was a bit scary for me. Another time I ran out of change and I had to walk across the Granville Street Bridge. I managed to get half way across okay, but then I was struck with fear. I don’t know why it came upon me so suddenly. I guess, I realized how high it was (The Grandville Street Bridge is much higher than The Burrard Street Bridge), and that reality just hit me. I found I was stuck in the middle with one of two choices: turn around and go back or continue forward. I decided to continue forward, as I indicted earlier, I was at the half way point. I pushed my way forward while trying not to look over the side. With each step, my legs became like lead. I struggle to step forward. Panic consumed me, I found breathing difficult. Soon, my legs began to shake; still I willed my way forward until I managed to cross at the Fir Street off ramp. Once across, I realized that it was all downhill from there and I began to relax. My legs steadied, my breathing eased, and I started to enjoy the stroll. I had made it across and I had faced my fear.

My fear of heights is still present. I will be moving next year. The condominium is even higher than the apartment that I currently live in – the thirteenth floor. I am currently on the eighth floor. I go out to the balcony, but I freak out occasionally. I am not looking forward to living five floors higher. I decided not to dwell on this too much and to deal with it when the time comes. I will eventually be able to deal with it too. I try put it in prospective.

The whole situation is a process, but a worthy one. Overcoming your fears, makes you stronger, eases your fears a bit and builds your confidence. They are worthy character traits in and of themselves.
—Robert Confiant 16 October 2016 (mod 25 March 2018)

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