What am I afraid of?
Compiling a list of 100 fears was pretty difficult. There were a few conditions a fear had to meet to make it onto my list.
1) It had to make me uncomfortable. It didn’t have to be completely terrifying. I ranked the fears from 1 to 5, where a 1 skirts the edge of my comfort zone and a 5 will keep me awake for days before it happens. I’m sure when I get to the day I’m supposed to face each fear, the ranking will change. 3’s and 4’s might become 5’s once I'm staring them in the face. 1’s might make me realize they probably shouldn’t have been on the list because I’m really not afraid of them. But as the list stands, it consist of:
12 “1”s 28 “2”s 26 “3”s 21 “4”s 13 “5”s
2) It had to be worth doing. I’m terrified to hold a spider, but why would I want to do that? Is there a reason I need to? Will I feel rewarded or accomplished or liberated after I do that? No, no, and no.
3) It had to be something I could reasonably accomplish. That means it had to be affordable. Scuba diving, for instance, is probably out for this year, even though it would both terrify and thrill me. I also wanted to try zorbing, but apparently that's not really a thing in California. Also, my greatest fears are medical, but I can't really control when I'm going to need to face those—it's not as if there's a surgery I've been putting off.
Those were the main requirements. I didn’t necessitate that the fears be something I’ve never done before in my life. Some of them are things I usually do yearly or even more often. I’m still counting those.
Once the list was done, I began to backpedal. Hard. I guess I should have expected that. I was literally staring at a list of 100 things I didn’t want to do, knowing I was going to have to—no, choose to—do them all.
I counted how many were things I were going to have to do anyway without having taken up this challenge, and the number came to about 7. That meant I was consciously choosing to make myself unnecessarily uncomfortable 93 times, even though I don't have to. I’ve been accused of masochism before, and I’m sure I will be again.
But the one thing that makes me want to stop is also the one thing that keeps me going. That is, the fear itself. I hate the way looking at this list makes me feel, so I must do everything I can to diminish that feeling. Avoidance is temporary, but management can be lasting.
I won’t post the list in its entirety. I’d rather write about each as I complete it. Edits might still happen to the list—I'm not convinced that all of the items are a good idea, and some may prove to be impractical. The one caveat is that a fear cannot be removed primarily because I am too afraid of it.
God help me.