September 5th, 2007

Feel the Fear..

This morning I went to a networking meeting where I heard a life coach speak. (I’m very big on the life coaches. Some of the best stories in Fibromyalgia AWARE have been written by life coaches.)


And Mynde Mayfield was, like the others I’ve gotten to know, crammed with cool sound bites. Cool and useful.


Unfortunately for me, I forgot the meeting was this morning—despite the fact that the friend who organized it emailed me about it twice, and reminded me about it several times (including once yesterday, for Pete’s sake). So I got there late, discovered as I hurried through the door that my glasses had mysteriously disappeared, and then realized that my omnipresent reporter’s notebook was… well, not present.


Extra unfortunately, I bear one very strong resemblance to Harriet the Spy. (Okay, she wears glasses and so do I, so that’s two resemblances. And she likes to eavesdrop, and I can’t keep myself from doing it, so that’s three. But that’s probably all the resemblances there are.)


Remember when she was forbidden from writing in her notebook, and she discovered that she had trouble thinking at all? She couldn’t concentrate on her classes or raise an interest in anything.


Well, with me it’s less extreme. If I don’t have note-taking abilities, I just can’t remember a damn thing.


But Mynde’s sound bites were so memorable that I feel comfortable paraphrasing a few of them.


Many of us can’t escape from our pasts—we dwell and dwell and dwell. But a better attitude toward unhappy experiences is: “So what? Now what?” (Boy, do I know some people upon whose persons those lines should be tattooed!)


“Life is a team sport.” (Too bad good sportsmanship is so often in short supply, eh?)


And my favorite:


“Feel the fear and do it anyway.” (A title of a Susan Jeffers’ book.)


I felt a little smug when Mynde tossed us that gem. I do it all the time! It helps that I’m afraid of practically everything, I guess. So whenever I do something I’m doing it despite the terror.


Did I hear someone cry, “Examples, please?”


I am afraid of:



But I live in the Wildlife Capital of Orange County. (I am referring here to my house, not my city. I can’t speak for an entire metropolis.) I am Queen of the Cricket Wranglers, and can trap one of any size (and some of them are as big as my palm, I tells ya) under a glass and hurl it into the outdoors. I have squashed spiders of many sizes and varieties (though the changepurse-sized yellow one—yellow!—that hurtled out from beneath the morning glories the other day did freak me out). I have even slaughtered an entire colony of wasps. Single-handed.  

Small enclosed spaces

House again. Okay, kidding! It’s not that small. But I do take elevators all the time. And I only rarely have panic attacks.   

Sharp objects

Yet I persist in cooking. Despite the inevitable damage to my person. Yesterday I was whipping up a batch of fruity goodness and managed to chop two entire apples without incident. I later made up for this by grating part of my thumb when I should have been grating lemon rind alone.

Sweltering summers when air conditioning is absolutely required though it does very little good and the picture frames start oozing (I am not exaggerating for effect)

But I live in Southern California. (I know, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.)


See above.


Well, it’s not the heights so much as the falling from them that upset me. But the offices of the National Fibromyalgia Association are located on the third floor. And I fly with some regularity. Not to mention the fact that I whip out my stepladder at a moment’s notice.

Police officers

Mostly because the last one I encountered gave me a ticket—my first ever! But after taking all seven quizzes based on the traffic school booklet that is providing my rehabilitation, I am feeling slightly less terrified. Now I really only fear final exams. (Wish me luck! I don’t think the exam questions are organized in the same order in which the information was presented in the booklet. Sigh.)


But I’m a writer!


See above.


I learned one other fun thing from this talk: complaining is a form of fear. And many of us connect to each other via complaining. (There were a couple of people missing from the audience who I thought needed to hear that!)


I am hopeful that general snarkiness is not exactly equivalent to constantly complaining. Not that I don’t do my share of complaining! In fact, one friend and I instituted a weekly meeting during which we could complain about the insanity of a mutual friend. (The meeting has expanded to cover lots of other topics, I hasten to add.)


One time I said to my meeting partner: “You know, we do an awful lot of complaining ourselves. What makes us think we’re better than our mutual friend?”


“Ah,” she said wisely. “The difference is that sometimes, we say, “That’s great!”


So feel the fear, and join a team, and quit complaining, people. There’s a world out there, ready to be invaded. Get to it!

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