Fear is an imaginary thing. It’s all about “what if’s”. What if it goes wrong, what if I end up alone, what if I fail? Sure back in the cave man days it was a real thing if you were standing in front of a bear and you were fearful that it was going to eat you. It probably would. But now that we live in our safe little worlds, fear becomes irrational and over bearing. Excuse the pun.
This year has been a year that I will remember for a long time. The year that I broke my arm, and when I say broke, I mean open fracture, dislocation, the full shebang. It was a really scary accident for me, one minute I was fine and then the next I was upside down and hurtling to the floor. Luckily I’ve been doing this stuff long enough to have some aerial awareness and was able to take the brunt of the fall on my arm and not my head. I remember hearing the snap of the bone and knowing immediately what had happened, and then of course there was the excruciating pain. I waited for the ambulance for 40 mins, which is one of the longest periods of 40 mins I’ve ever experienced in my life. At the time I was dealing with both the pain and the reality of the situation, then once the paramedics got there and drugged me up I was focused on being in hospital and what came next, and then I had a big reality check when the surgeon told me how big the scars were going to be on my arm. It was then I realized how permanent this accident was. However, the trauma of it all didn’t truly hit me until I got home from the hospital a few days later, and lay down in the comfort of my own bed, in my own house with a huge awkward cast on my arm and a bunch of drugs that would sell for a lot on the street. My husband asked me if I was ok and I burst into sobbing tears, he’d never seen me like that and the poor guy didn’t know what to do. He tried everything he could to comfort me, and take it away but I just needed to get it all out and cry for a solid ten minutes. I did feel a decent release afterwards.
It’s now 6 months on and I’m still not healed totally. I’m receiving treatment on it and I am able to function normally in everyday life, but if I want to get back to where I was before the accident I have a long way to go. While these physical restrictions are enough to get me down, by far the biggest hurdle I’m going to come across is my fear.
Everyone, I’m sure, can relate to those times when you know your fear is making you irrational and it feels completely futile and frustrating to argue with it. After an accident, fear becomes this monster that keeps you in a little “safe” box, and if you let it, it can start to take over other areas of your life. At the moment I can’t watch other people try new and scary skills for the first time, for fear of them hurting themselves. I think about car accidents, and getting run over. I imagine myself slipping over in the shower and somehow landing upside down on my head and breaking everything. And while not totally out of the realm of possibility, I would have to be the unluckiest person in the world for it to happen to me. Most of the time my rationality wins, but I still vividly see these things happening. The only way to fight it is to get out there and do the things that I am so afraid of to prove to myself that nothing bad will actually happen. So I tackle this imaginary beast called fear.
I have always been of the belief that you can be the safest person in the world and still have something bad happen to you. Someone who never crosses the road and barely leaves the house can be struck by lighting, or some other equally freak occurrence. So you may as well do the things you love even if there is an element of danger because, as Forrest Gump said, “shit happens”. The late Phillip Hughes recently suffered an extraordinary freak occurrence resulting in his death. I don’t follow cricket and barely knew of the guy, but watching the outpouring of love for him made me extremely emotional. Cricket is not a dangerous sport. The likelihood of him getting hit in that specific spot was outrageously slim, and likely to never happen again in 100 years. That poor bowler is going to have to fight the fear of hurting someone else for a very long time, and until he does let go of that fear, he’ll never be a great bowler again. It’s probably enough to make him never want to play cricket again. But why let that fear rule us? Is there any benefit to letting fear get the better of us? Sure it’s a huge uphill battle, but there is a big fat juicy reward at the end of it all. Why let this imaginary force dictate your life? I truly believe that age old saying that “a life lived in fear is a life half lived”. And there’s nothing that motivates me more than telling me I can’t do something. So it’s about taking small steps at a time and before you know it, it’ll be years down the track and the pain and trauma of it all will be a distant memory. Time really does heal all wounds. But fear doesn’t go away with time; fear only goes away with a constant prodding, constantly pushing your brain to retrain that fear reaction.
I make a promise to myself to never let fear consume me, to constantly push myself out of my boundaries.