Journal – The Girl with no Fear
Here’s a funny thing about myself. I always have majorly overblown confidence about a thing until I’m halfway into it.
“I’m not afraid of people. I love talking to people! I can face down a crowd.” Then I blithely stand up to tell a story about a coworker at a small friendly retirement party. I am shocked when, halfway through, my hands are shaking hard. I have to breathe and calm down but my punchline falters a bit. Am I afraid of public speaking? Looking back to when I did theatre in college, it was the same: one hundred percent confidence followed by shakes on stage.
“I like rock climbing! I like nature! I’m gonna sign up for this little class and learn the knots and then I can hang (get it?) with my rock-climbing big brother and sister.” I take the class, start climbing the first little practice tower, and hit critical mass. I am shaking so hard I don’t trust myself to climb any higher. My hands have locked down on the rock climbing nubbins. “I forgot I’m afraid of heights!” I call back to my bemused classmates from a whopping ten feet high.
I got to meet a new friend on videochat recently. No fear there. Slept like a baby. Excited, happy puppy enthusiasm. “Yay, a new person to love!!” We talked, and she was awesome, and the conversation was easy, and everything was fine as long as I didn’t get distracted by my own reflected strangerface and lose track of the conversation.
After I hung up, I started making some oatmeal. As I stirred the pot I thought, “Where is that quiet screaming coming from? It’s getting louder. Oh, right! My own head.” After some puzzling I figured out that it was latent anxious adrenaline rush from meeting her. DID SHE LIKE ME WAS I STUPID DID I HURT HER FEELINGS???
Anyway, I thought it was just a funny character trait, but now that I’ve written it down, I see it’s my old friend Emotional Repression popping up. Hello again. Let’s never talk.
I have definitely gotten better, but digging my emotional core free is a slow, slow process. Sometimes Repression pops up and bites me in the ass, just like old times. It bites less than before, but it still bites.