When Fear Messes With You

My fear of heights almost prevented me from shooting this photo in Montana.

On Instagram I was on a roll with “M” words recently. No pretty alliteration, just posting about moon, mountains, memories, and so on.

On Monday — the first day of March and one month since I publicly launched my blog — this IG post recalled my trip to Montana. I decided to write about that travel memory after Popular Mechanics magazine recently listed the 25 most dangerous roads in the United States, and the Beartooth Highway in Montana made the list. No surprise to me. It is f*cking terrifying, especially if you are afraid of heights. I have a near-paralyzing fear of heights, so riding the road’s hairpin switchbacks high in the mountains was a challenge. Here’s another “M” word: Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Not for driving, obviously, but for this passenger it was a calming medicine.

Aerial view of the scary and stunning Beartooth Highway
Photo: visityellowstonecountry.com

How do you get over fear? “Be afraid and do it anyway!” “YOLO!” OK, I had to look up that annoying acronym, along with FOMO, and when I found out what it meant my response was “YODO” and I don’t want to die today. Maybe if I had a Fear of Missing Out I would jump on the You Only Live Once bandwagon. But I don’t give a sh*t about missing out. I am thrilled to miss out on plunging to my death in a fiery car crash off the side of a big-ass mountain.

I was going to write a blog post about five ways to overcome fear. Or four…or three…maybe two ways. But I’ve got nothing. Nada. I’m still afraid of heights, and it’s probably poor blogging form to recommend swigging Mike’s or Jack Daniels (my airplane companion whenever I fly) in a how-to post.

Instead, I’m listing all the things I won’t do because my fear messes with me:

Skydiving. Parasailing. Bungee jumping. Ziplining. Riding a rollercoaster. Hanging from a cliff or doing tree pose on top of a f*cking mountaintop for an IG pic. Swinging from or posing on anything mounted high in a treetop.

Also a no: Staying in a hotel hanging high off the side of a cliff. I booked and then canceled such a hotel in Indonesia three times before finally giving it a hard no, after reading reviews warning about aggressive monkeys climbing into guestrooms if the windows weren’t latched. Oh. Hell. No.

I have done a few things I didn’t think my fear would allow. Trekked up Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains (2500 meters/8200 feet); took a ski lift up a mountain in New York; rode a gondola swinging high over a vineyard in Napa Valley; did a submarine deep dive (reverse height fear) in the Cayman Islands; and ascended through the clouds on the record-setting Seilbahn Zugspitze glass tram to the top of Germany’s tallest mountain. I didn’t know what I was in for, however, and in some cases trickery was involved. Is that the answer?

What about you? Do you have suggestions for overcoming unreasonable but very real fears? No “YOLO” allowed.

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24 comments

  1. Wow pics and post Natalie. And you Are looking relaxed and good 😊🤗

    Courage is not the absence of fear but the willingness to go ahead despite the fear 😊🤗

    My wife had huge fear of heights and I and my son used to trouble her sometimes with our feigned stunts!

    Stay loved 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with you, when I was young I always thought it was best to push myself to overcome my fears, but it never worked and I was a ball of anxiety at all times (ok I overcame my rollercoaster fear by being brave but that’s it). And the older I get, the more I feel like self acceptance is better. Like ok, I’m afraid of this, I will just avoid and that’s ok. Why be petrified and miserable? I think it’s ok, unless you feel there’s an opening for change. If not, that’s ok too 💕 Great post, you’re fun 🤩

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I avoid and also can’t afford most big-fear items. My other fears usually involve speaking or doing just about anything in front of a group. For those things, wine is required. Similar to Jacks or Mike’s for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not knowing before it’s too late to say no has been how I’ve been able to do some frightening things. Portions of California’s coastal roads are on the list of most dangerous roads I mentioned in my blog post, so I’m sure I would have been terrified, too.
      I enjoyed reading about your 2013 trip, and your recent journey to overcome fear. Thank you.
      (And thank you for mentioning my blog in your post!)

      Like

  4. When fear tries
    messin’ with me
    I pull on my cowboy boots
    And walk as if
    I own the town
    I’m in
    Sometimes it’s all
    In my head
    I’ll be barefoot
    Standing still
    On the edge
    Of something
    and I feel
    Fear trying to get a grip
    On me
    And I won’t give in
    To anything or anyone that messes with me
    Anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

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