Friday, October 2, 2015

I Used to Be Afraid of the Dark

Like most kids I was afraid of the dark.

While fears change, every single person has fear. As we age, it becomes social. We don't want to talk in front of a group or look silly in public. The only way to overcome that fear is to face it.

There are a number of things that freaked me out as a kid that I now enjoy. I don't know if in overcoming it, I began enjoying it or if being exposed to the content so young shaped my preferences.

Unsolved Mysteries made me think an alien or criminal was going to snatch me from my home (Thanks for watching that, Mom!).

In my childhood home, there was a lamp reflection at night that looked like a face peering into the window, wearing a bowler hat. Which ostensibly is what an abductor would wear.

It was quite a while before I realized the movie Ghostbusters didn't end after the librarian ghost turned into a monster. Granted I was five.

I remember the first time I forced myself to watch A Nightmare on Elm Street. I kept telling myself it wasn't real. After I finished the movie, it wasn't that scary.

You have to face your fears. 

To overcome my fear, i subjected myself to them. I now enjoy horror movies, and marvel at how the television show The X-Files, better than anything else, exudes such a creepy vibe that is infectious.

When you subject yourself to what you fear or even don't like, you become desensitized. You overcome it and wonder, why did it ever bother you.
If you want to become better at a skill, you practice. If you want to become less fearful at public speaking, your practice. If you don't want to run screaming from the room when A Nightmare on Elm Street comes on, you keep watching, small increments at a time if need be. I do a lot more public speaking, and I'm beginning to not mind it because I keep doing it. I keep practicing.

You practice a skill, a little at a time.

When I decided to VLOG, I was faced with the fact that I would be carrying a camera around in public.  To some this might be embarrassing or awkward, but I wanted the video so there was no alternative. If it did bother me, I could have started taking videos at the zoo where it's more common to have a camera, and then slowly work my way to filming myself eating lunch at Pizza Hut (stay tuned for that video!).

For the record, The X files is still creepy, but I enjoy that it creates a mood so surreal I'm forced to glance over my shoulder.

What frightens you? Is that fear stopping you from speaking in public? Is it causing you to not share ideas in groups? Are you afraid to share you short stories or art with others? Confront it. Right now. Treat that fear like a skill. Keep practicing to overcome that fear and you will.
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