Fear is natural. It keeps us live.
When I was little I was afraid of many things: heights, snakes, needles, darkness etc.
What I realized is that not the things/situations alone scared me but what they meant. It was suffering and pain that I wanted to avoid. I am not afraid to die, that is just the way world functions, furthermore, I don’t think people, in general, are afraid of it either, they are afraid to be alone, to feel pain or to cause emotional harm to others by them being old and ill. This also applies to love, people are afraid to open and be hurt, but being in love, by itself, it is a very pleasing experience.
When it comes to fears, the anxiety is still there because there are a lot of things that can kill us, we are fragile beeings. We are not less scared but we grow more courageous. The world is as scary as it ever has been, but we are stronger inside and we are able to face it.
My parents invested in real estate and one day my father took me to one of their constructions. It was not finished and was 3 storeys tall. My dad needed something from the last floor, something like or a screwdriver, I don’t recall it very clearly.In order to get to the top, I had to climb a lather, a wood one which was more of improvisation. It was the only way up. I was terrified.
I had to go alone on the top because my father had to be at the base and keep it stable. I told him I was afraid and I think I even cried, but he wouldn’t listen and commend me to do it. He could not climb it himself because he had 100kg and was too heavy.
I remember even to this day when I reached the half-length of the distance, the wind started to blow and I was sweating, I start thinking I will fall and die, I was afraid I might never walk again after I fall, I start feeling pain through all my body.
Caught in the daydream I started to lose my balance. My dad, of course, was screaming at me so I said to myself I have to concentrate, go up, go down and then I can go home. Focus on the task, that was what I did. I don’t have to say that when I got up there was only a concrete platform without a railing or something like that. I was afraid I might fall and I didn’t stand up I basically crawl to get the screwdriver.
When I got down I was still soo stressed and panicked, I think the whole day I was like that. My dad asked me if I liked the view. I just looked at him prepared to scream angrily. I didn’t. I could bearly walk, my whole being was trembling.
I can’t say that since then I was no longer afraid of heights. However, since that day, subconsciously, at least, I grow to believe that not all the things I am afraid of will cause me harm. From time to time, I still have chills in some situations, going to hospitals for example, but I just go there and I try to do what I have to as soon as possible and then get the hell out of there.
It seems that the most notorious natural predator of the apes are snakes. There is even a study that proves we developed such an amazing vision in order to detect those maleficient reptiles. Symbolically all that is evil in our myths is represented either by a snake (Genesis) or a dragon (The Hobbit).
My parents used to take, yearly, me and my sister with them to an old resort. The place was known for its healing waters and my dad had back problems, sometimes he would stay paralyze in bed for an extended number of days. The town had a serene vibe, it was in a valley protected by high mountains, and the buildings despite being old and unattained they were still beautiful. A mix of communist and interwar architecture.
In order to get to those magic springs, you had to go further into mountains, drive sometime and then walk through the forest. They were caves or natural basins unchanged since the Roman times. You did not have showers or places to stay you just go there, undress and enter the water, something like a virgin beach but more wild and with a lot of old people. I and my sister were not allowed to enter because it had sulfur and was harmful to us. We had to wait an hour, twice a day, on the margins of the basin with the smell of rotten eggs (that is how sulfurous smells). Usually, I was reading and Cristina was complaining.
I recall we went there for several years, my father stills go there periodically for his treatment. Annually, we heard stories about how people would get bitten by snakes and die. In those forests live vipers, their venom is not mortal if properly attended but as far as I summon into mind, they never had antivenom on a radius of 50km from the town.
Very often the reptiles would come near the thermal springs in search of hot places to rest. I even relive in my imagination one time, a man got out of the spring and went to the nearby river to cool himself and suddenly he sticks quickly his hand inside the river and raises a snake above his head.
All in one, I was terrified I might be beaten by one and die. It all changes in the gymnasium (5th grade) when the pet of the girl I had to share the bench with died. It was a snake. She was soo full of sorrow that would carry it with her everywhere inside a jar full of vinegar. I had to live with that “enemy” for a few weeks and, as time passed by I got used to the sight.
In Romania, the health system is public, this means that everybody is taken care of in case of medical need. Children have free vaccinations and blood analysis once a year. Socially, this is a good idea because we don’t have epidemic crises and you can detect a lot of diseases in time to get cured.
For children is terrible. You are brought into a communist building, with the paint on the walls falling, you have to wait in line for at least an hour while you enjoy the melodious song of your peers crying their hearth out.Fun. After that when you get inside the cabinet, the nursed is already grumpy, your mom is pissed off too. She is screaming at you not to cry, sometimes restraining you while the other starts putting needles inside your arm. If they collect blood, as in my case, due to the stress, “your veins hide” and are harder to stab.If the nurse is not experienced, it may try up to 5–6 times to stick pointy things inside you. We were not particularly wealthy when I was a child so when we start affording I started to go for blood checkups at private clinics. The experience is much pleasant. I was afraid of needles, but I was more afraid of getting sick and not knowing it.
I had a 2 years relationship and during that time my boyfriend had 4 knee surgeries. I had to go to see him in the hospitals, buy treatments, see him sticking needles into his belly, go to recovery sessions with him. It was as painful emotionally for me as it was physical for him.
It was a time I felt responsible for his pain (I know that is not the proper way of thinking, but I will talk in another post about harmful relationships). My friend was not as wealthy as me so he did not have the same possibilities as I had. He went to the military hospital for his first surgery, he got an infection there, his second operation meant cleaning all his knee because it was damaged by the bacteria. He could not walk for half a year. On his third operation (1 year later) he had to cut his healthy knee to get some tissue so in the fourth one he could use it for his damaged one.
In order to get to his salon, I had to cross the hospital and smell death and disease. I had to see people with tubes inside them, I had to see him half alive with drains inside his feet and arms. I should mention that his father was dead and mom very ill. I helped him get out of the hospital in crutches after a few days from his last operation and put him in my car and see him crying from the pain when I pass through the infinite wholes in the road. I had to see him cry from pain too often. I bought him anticoagulant and other serums and watch him how he would inject himself with them because I was too afraid to do it, my hands would shake and it would only harm him more.
After that period I was no longer afraid of needles or hospitals, but every time I enter one of these medical centres my inside kind of grows numb. The bright side is that after this moment, I could go to visit my best friend and sister into the hospital and be calm, I already saw enough more than one could bear. A piece of advice, the worst thing you can do to someone hospitalized is to provide insecurity, you must seem in control.
My dad despised seeing us weak. We were not allowed to cry in front of him otherwise we would be grounded. We weren’t allowed to be angry or sad, we would be punished if so. We weren’t permitted in general to manifest emotions or better-said sensitivity, that meant we were not strong enough.
I know that is not true and as a result, sometimes I struggle expressing my feelings when in an intimate relationship with someone but I can control myself much better than other people. I also learned that my dad thinks in that way because he considers (unconsciously) himself weak and was profoundly harmed.
When I was little I was afraid of darkness, of being alone in the blackness. Some kids imagine monsters come out after them, but I did not. I was just afraid of being abandoned in nothingness. I was so scared that I could not move out of the bed and cried, cried and cried…without making any noise, otherwise, I would be disciplined because I annoyed my parents. As time passed by I start accepting the situation.
I think and now I can say I like both darkness (the night) and being alone (I still enjoy company but sometimes I like being let alone with my thoughts).
I had a lot of other situations when I was scared: when I was chased by gipsies, when my mom drove on an abandoned mountain road across a ravine in which there were 80% chances for us to fall, when I was full of blood after my father beat the shit of me or when one day I had a pain flash throughout my spine and I could not move being paralyzed for a few days etc.
In some kind of way (it may sound crazy) I was blessed with these experiences. I think I grow wiser and stronger throughout them and suffering and pain were important for me because they shaped me
MY GREATEST FEAR NOW
I am afraid to be ignorant. We are all fools to some extent but we are not aware of it. I am afraid that someday I might grow too arrogant and stop thinking I no longer have to learn, or worse, be able to learn. I am frightened to become that person that thinks knows it all that in fact, doesn’t know anything.
The truth is, that we as a species know nothing, compared to the knowledge potential that exists. I am afraid to lose my fool status, the position of the learner, but not by becoming a master but the sorcerer’s apprentice. I try to learn something new every day, to encircle myself with people that are wiser than me, that want me to be better and are not afraid to tell me when I am wrong.
Life is suffering but is more bearable when it is meaningful.