I’m afraid of heights. I hate spiders. And I’m afraid of having an allergic reaction to nuts. I don’t HAVE an allergy to nuts, but I’m afraid I will. I’m afraid eating them will cause anaphylactic shock, and my throat will swell up and I’ll die. It’s a completely irrational fear that is connected to my anxiety disorder. The strange part is that it’s relatively new, something that my mind started doing about 5 years ago. I never, in a million years, thought I would talk openly to people about it. Because fear, especially irrational fear is not something we are taught to be okay with.
Being raised and identifying as a man, I was often taught that fear is something to reject and disregard, or overcome. It is a quality of the weak minded, an unattractive trait of those who just aren’t tough enough. As I’ve lived through more years, my observations called those teachings into question. The most “manly” and “tough” by societies standards seemed to hide and bury their fear. They would move mountains just to avoid talking about what they are afraid of, and destroy relationships and their own success just to maintain their fearless facade.
Now, I talk openly about what I’m afraid of, regardless of how irrational it is. I find it much easier to manage and deal with my fear and anxiety if I share it, instead of hide it. I’m not sure if that helps you, but I’d love to talk about your fears if it does.
What are you afraid of?
Adventuring through my fear
On Tuesday we flew from Austin to Miami, to spend a few weeks at Megan’s parent house in The Keys. For most, this is a simple 3 hour flight. For me, it would normally be 180 minutes a marginally strong buzz from pre-flight booze or a 0.5mg of Lorazepam. I have hated flying. I mean, I love where flying takes me, but am petrified at the thought of soaring – or actually, falling – through the sky at 30,000ft. However, this flight was special. We have a 6 month old baby, so we had no idea what to expect. Being a thoughtful partner and dad, I knew I had to be sober and ready.
So I flew without booze or a pill – just stone sober with my fear. And the weirdest thing happened. I wasn’t afraid. Actually, it was a lot of fun. I hung out with a flight attendant in the kitchen while I heated a bottle, I laughed at the size of the bathroom as I squeezed in to pee, and I delightfully walked up and down the aisle without a second thought about my impending, free-falling, fiery death from 6 miles above the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t even think I anxiously looked out a window.
I’m not totally sure why my fear was gone. Maybe it was some new daddy neurochemistry, or maybe I just had moved past this fear without realizing. I’m pretty sure talking about it helped, and I’m going to keep doing that. Next goal… eat some peanut butter. 😬
Just some photos from traveling with Lucy
Next email I’ll share some photos from the destination 🤗