Monday, June 30, 2014

This little thing called FEAR

When I was a little girl I used to have nightmares about hammocks. Stop laughing. It's called hammockaphobia, according to the internet (do what you will with that piece of info). I would have horrible night terrors about falling out of one and breaking my nose. Not the “Marsha Brady football to the nose” kind of problem but the several surgeries to once again appear normal kind of problem. I would have these horrible nocturnal hallucinations that would cause me to wake up sweating, heart racing, and even trembling at times. I did grow out of those types of dreams but the fear of hammocks still lingered. As a matter of fact I can't ever remember actually getting on one even as an adult.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that
something else is more important than fear.” 
― Ambrose Redmoon

Yep! My face may not be supermodel material but it's the only one I have and I'd like to keep it as healthy as I can. My nose being the prominent object on my face (sticks out farther than anything else) makes it more susceptible to accidental modification.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” 
― Nelson Mandela

Okay Nelson Mandela, I get what you're saying. I am committed to becoming a better person. That means conquering my fear of hammocks. Sounds a little silly which is why I never really shared that tidbit of information until recently. Truth is, I'm a bit embarrassed that this is a phobia of mine. That is why I decided I would challenge myself.

This past week I happened to be petsitting for two households, both of which had a hammock. One house had a thick ropey thing hanging sinisterly over a cement slab of a back porch. No way was that going to be my choice! The other a bit less apocalyptic with its carpet like rug underneath. I sat in a nice comfortable stationary chair wondering what on earth would possess anyone to choose resting in an unpredictable nomadic contraption.

Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

As I mentally planned my descent into the cradle of condemnation, I also made sure I was prepared in case of emergency and had my phone tucked into my back pocket as well as the land line phone on the floor under the hammock in case I couldn't dig it out of my pocket or I land on it and break it. I started out small by touching it and giving it a little push. I stood watching it as it slowed. I turned around and grasped the side of the hammock with both hands and lowered myself into it. After the hyperventilating stopped, I leaned back and allowed myself to be cradled, my feet dangling off the side ready to grip the ground if needed. I did it Eleanor Roosevelt! I sat for a while contemplating the safest way to get out now that I had vanquished that little thing called fear. I then realized that I wasn't actually in the hammock correctly. I was sitting in it like a chair not lounging about like the confident hammock ace I had so recently become. I took a deep breath and grasped the side above my head with one hand and the other side by my legs with the other. One leg at a time I inched myself lengthwise on the hammock and exhaled. I did it!

Laughter is poison to fear.” 
― George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones

I laughed! I laughed so hard I almost started crying. I like this thing called hammock! I was laughing so hard one of the dogs came up to me panting and pawing. I reached down to pet her and calm her and in the process my weight shifted and off I rolled into the floor. I froze like a statue from shock then the pain materialized and I exhaled a small cry. Penny, the dog was licking my arm and whining. After realizing I landed on my back and not my face I sat up and sighed. I may not wish to lay in a hammock any more but I certainly do not fear that cradle of pain any more. I suppose facing ones fear isn't always pretty or successful but it is empowering. What are you going to do to empower yourself?