Fear has gone from a tool of survival to an indestructible dandelion.
Think of your life as a nice orderly garden full of your hopes and dreams. Fear are the weeds that keep us too preoccupied to notice that the pumpkin patch is infested with squash bugs.
Normal people are afraid of things that can actually do them harm: heights, poisonous spiders, or flying. Granted you'd be pretty hard pressed to actually fall off the Empire State Building during a tour, but it's a legitimate fear all the same.
None of those things bother me. Bring on the spiraling looping steel roller coasters of death, I'm game all day long, and I'll even hang on to my breakfast.
I'll crush any spider, swat any bee, although admittedly I will do a shrieking little getaway dance if I have an unplanned encounter with a snake.
At a training class, in Chicago, I met a lady so terrified of flying she begged her husband to come drive her home. He declined to make the trip up from Louisiana in the middle of February.
I view flying as a rare opportunity to enjoy a good book, uninterrupted by children or technology.
My fear doesn't involve creepy crawlies or hurtling to my death. In my defense there are sharp objects and masked men.
I'm afraid of the dentist.
Go ahead and laugh, you know you want to.
Usually I'll say that and people chime in "Oh, I don't like it either!"
Disliking something is not the same thing. I'm talking about the kind of fear that puts knots in your stomach and a sweat on your brow.
When I was pregnant with my oldest I went for my first dental cleaning in years. I specifically went, because I knew they couldn't do anything more then the basics while I was pregnant.
I was so gripped by terror, that on the way there I cut little half moons into my palms by digging my nails into the flesh of my clinched fists. The dentist had to keep reminding me to relax my hands through out the appointment.
Now, you probably think I'm a few flowers short of a bouquet, but how do you feel about public speaking? Did your palms just get sweaty thinking about it?
Of course my fear isn't logical, I know that. Nothing bad is going to happen to me, especially during a cleaning. Those little lectures with my inner self don't help at all.
When you to talk in front of a group they're not going to throw sharp objects at your head. If that's the case, you might want to re-think your speaking engagements.
As we gain a little perspective in our years we start to understand real fear. Losing our loved ones. Our children being hurt. The evil that exists in the world.
Once we see the big picture those little weeds don't seem so terrible.
Right before my last dental appointment one of my little girls had fallen off the monkey bars at school. Fearing her arm was fractured, the doctor sent her for x-rays.
Even though it was one of my rougher appointments, and I was plenty sore later, I didn't have time to be afraid. I just wanted them to hurry up so I could get to my baby.
Losing someone to young often makes us realize how much of life we're missing out on. If your bucket list includes trips to Fiji, Calcutta, and Moscow, but you won't set foot on an airstrip maybe it's time to pull that weed. Don't get around to your gardening too late!
There are enough truly bad things in the world to distract us from our lives. Let's start working on these fears before the squash bugs take over.
Who's ready to do a little weeding?