Facing Fears

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It’s looking like this is the year for me to be facing fears. I’m not sure about conquering them, but facing, definitely. For example, three I’ve faced this month alone.

Heights, lifts, and consequently high-rise buildings (all one fear). Working on the 28th floor of an office block has not been as terrifying as I thought it would be. True, I still feel funny in the lifts, though they’re so fast I’m not in there for long, which is good! And I can actually look at the (pretty spectacular) view out the windows without feeling dizzy, which took me by surprise.

If the walls were floor-to-ceiling glass, however, it would be a different story.

The other two I faced in one day. I’d only been on the DLR once, and the friend accompanying me thoughtfully informed me that it was all automated when we boarded, which made me very nervous the whole journey (despite using technology all the time, I don’t trust it further than I could throw a power station) and reluctant to try it again. However in a rare jaunt to SE London, I had no choice but to take the DLR all the way from Bank to Cutty Sark, and it wasn’t so bad. As long as I don’t think too hard about it and avoid looking out front.

And finally, the planetarium. I guess this is linked to my fear of heights and/or the dark, but I’d had nightmares after visiting one as a child and avoided those big curvy screens and dark museum rooms since then. But I’ve gained a recent interest in astronomy which I’m determined to pursue (as much as my time, energy and wallet will allow), and the photography show at the Royal Observatory was a starting point, as well as an opportunity to do something that scared me. Yes, I was a bit jittery about that big screen, which is far more terrifying to me than being in a cinema, and I did feel a bit—not dizzy, that feeling you get in your stomach when you drop suddenly in a lift or something like that—at several moments in the show, but you know what? I enjoyed it anyway. And I’d go back.

I’ve always hated that phrase ‘do something every day that scares you’. I do stuff that scares me most days because I have to, that I’d avoid if I could. But maybe trying something new every now and then, say once a month, is reasonable.

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