"The only thing to fear, is fear itself." As common a thought as this is, I must disagree. Fear is not to be feared, but to be faced. Fear can be the impetus for change, adventure, risk. Moving forward despite fear adds spice to life, and makes success all the sweeter. If people knew how often I am afraid, how fear is a near constant companion, they would likely think I was at risk of becoming a housebound recluse. I chose to face my fears, use them to prove to myself what I am capable of. It is possible that I am a fear junkie, an adrenaline junkie. There is nothing like that spurt of adrenaline, the gut dropping, stomach clenching, panic inducing, cold sweat, blood curdling rush that accompanies fear. Or more precisely, moving ahead despite the fear. To act, move ahead, venture, despite fear, or maybe because of it, is far more adventurous and triumphant than to move through life with no fear and utter confidence in success. An assured victory is no real victory. A victory won against the odds, however, is to be savored. When I compete in triathlons or trail races, part of the experience is the fear that clenches my soul, the panic of forcing myself into the fray alone, overcoming my near to crippling social anxiety and forging ahead. The pride I feel crossing the finish line has as much to do with conquering fears as it does with completing a race. Maybe more so.
I have learned to apply this knowledge to all aspects of life, despite what is sometimes all but paralyzing fear. This is part of what makes me Leap Before I Look Girl. I know I am inclined to over-think, over-analyze, and basically scare the shit out of myself if I allow myself too much time to think before making a decision. And so I Leap. Leap, and then let the fears manifest, when it is too late for me to change course. This forces me to face down fear. Yes, it does make for some amazing panic attacks, tears, anxiety, sleepless nights, but rarely does it lead to regret. Regret is knowing you were too chickenshit to make a move. That you let fear dictate your life, rule your insecurities, choose your path for you. Yes, I have allowed myself to leap into situations, make decisions, that later beat the holy hell out of me, spit me out, and left me in the ditch to die, but I still do not regret those choices. I chose, acted, reacted, and realized that maybe I had not chosen wisely, but I still do not regret the attempts.
I do not fear Fear Itself, I fear not acting because of fear. I fear letting my fears wreak havoc on my life. I fear missing opportunities for change, growth, adventure because I let a small thing like panic inducing fear dictate my decisions. I choose to use fear as a tool, a weapon, a prod, as the piquant spice of life. Fear is a constant companion, but I choose our path.