Two places I dread: malls and airports. Why, you ask? Because malls and airports are notorious for having escalators. Yes, I have an irrational fear of escalators. Wait, scratch the "irrational" part, because escalators are DEATH TRAPS.
I mean, seriously, who decided it would be a good idea to make stairs MOVE, let alone METAL stairs that look like a hundred RAZORS lined up perfectly in a row, and assume that everyone is coordinated enough to step onto said moving razors while at great heights? GENIUS.
I've been afraid of escalators ever since I was a little kid and went running after my sister and her friends towards an escalator and almost tripped and tumbled down it. Since then, I will avoid going down escalators like the plague. I will gladly walk halfway around the mall to an elevator, or brave the sweltering heat and the stench of piss in one of those elevators on the Las Vegas Strip.
Yes, I am that passionate about it.
Recently, though, I've had a few wins. A brand new Nordstrom Rack opened about a 3-minute drive from where I live. Normally a shopaholic like me would be there every damn day. But guess what? The shopping gods are having a good laugh, because in order to get there, I need to go up one of the steepest, longest freaking escalators ever. Which means, in order to leave (which sadly I would eventually have to), I have to go down the steepest, longest freaking escalator ever. AND, to top it off, they place security at the top of the escalator, so I'd have to explain why I need to use the elevator because I clearly am not physically disabled, nor have children in a stroller.
But recently I've actually sucked it up, stepped toward that moving death trap, kept my eyes focused right in front of me (versus all the way down the moving metal death trap), and stepped onto the first moving rectangle that appeared.
Victory! As I ride down the remainder of the trip down to the bottom, my hands shaking and heart pounding, I begin to swell with pride. I conquered my fear! For today, at least.
While I'd say escalators are one of my biggest fears, I have a few more that I'm working on. Now, try not to laugh - some of these are silly, I know. But I wouldn't be surprised if there are more of you out there!
Now, a note on fear and how to conquer it. Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway.
Let that sink in: Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway.
So I can't take any credit for that. It's actually the title of one of my favorite books of all time - a complete life changer, Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers. She talks about how everyone feels fear. It can be debilitating, or it can serve you. It's not about not feeling fear, it's about feeling the fear and acting IN SPITE of it.
You see, bravery is not about being fearless, it's about being afraid, but doing the thing anyway. And that is one of the most sure fire ways to grow. Because the more you act in spite of the fear, the more your confidence will come, and your comfort zone gets bigger. In the words of Princess Leia herself:
So here are my 5 steps to feeling the fear and doing it anyway:
Tell the voices to STFU and just keep focusing on and doing the next right thing.
Today I start swim classes. My first step was signing up for the damn thing. My next step? Going to it. In all my one-piece swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles glory. Not knowing what I'm doing and feeling like a goober with my sub-par swimming skills.
Wish me luck! Maybe I'll have to parallel park my car there, but hopefully there won't be any escalators required to get to the pool. Seriously...DEATH TRAPS. But, I'll feel the fear and step onto that moving rectangle of metal razors anyway. :-)
-- Love always, Julie