Whatever you do, don't conquer your fears

"Do one thing every day that scares you." This is one of those quotes that seems to be always floating around-  in graduation speeches, splashed across yoga t-shirts (yoga is pretty frightening), someone probably even has it tattooed across their shoulders, likely the final event in a string of very bad decisions one night in college. It sounds nice. It's probably meant to convey the challenges of life and the sort of "taking the bull by the horns" type of attitude we're all supposed to have. This is utter crap.

Fear is important. Fear keeps us from killing or maiming ourselves. A lot of people are afraid of heights. This makes sense: if you fall from a great height you can die. Some people are afraid of snakes. Snakes can harm you. And some people are afraid of clowns. This is rational. Clowns are creepy and they all secretly want to murder you in your sleep. It's evolution and self-preservation at it's basest form. If we all did something every day that scared us, we would spend our entire lives whimpering and rocking in a corner. And a lot more people would be killed off Darwin-style through astonishing acts of stupidity. You know on second thought...

Of course some fears are irrational. Mageirocophobia: a fear of cooking. Eisoptrophobia: fear of seeing yourself in a mirror. Automatonophobia: fear of ventriloquist dummies. Huh. You know what, I may need better examples.

Ok, here's one. When Boy was little he was afraid of birthday parties. More specifically, the standard "Happy Birthday To You" song. He's over it now, and if you ask him about it he'll chuckle in a self-deprecating way and say he doesn't know why. It was pretty embarrassing for a while. We'd be at a party; nerves on edge as the Elmo cake was being brought out and candles were being lit, mentally mapping out which grandmother I'd have to take down in order to get to him in time. Then BAM singing happens, and it's too late, he's screaming and writhing on the ground and I'd have to wrestle him away from the crowd kicking and screaming while everyone watched in horror.

But because of this fear we switched to playing The Beatles Birthday instead. Which is a pretty cool tradition, actually, if only the song immediately after wasn't "Yer Blues," a horribly depressing tune about wanting to kill yourself. Because nothing says Happy Birthday quite like songs about suicide, and a hysterical toddler.

So my advice to you is to not take the bull by the horns. Bulls are huge, angry creatures and you will most likely get gouged. Take it easy. Enjoy your life. And watch out for clowns.



yeah write

34 comments:

  1. So glad someone else uses the Beatles song for birthdays! It was a tradition that my mom started and it's so much better than the boring old "Happy Birthday".

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    1. It is pretty cool! Every occasion calls for Beatles songs

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  2. OMG. I love this!!! I hate that quote too and completely agree with everything here. I love hearing about toddlers irrational fears - my 2 year old is terrified of stuffed sharks...not actually sharks that are stuffed but cute looking stuffed animal-sharks. Smiley ones. My eldest, when he was just under a year, would get the look of fear in his eyes when my husband donned his black leather gloves. So weird!

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    1. Weird kids fears are the best. I get the stuffed shark thing, though. Shark smiles...scary...

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  3. Good advice. I'm all for the easy ride.

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    1. Thank you! I like to believe that I'm laid back and not actually just lazy.

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  4. HYSTERICAL!! i really love this. your nonchalant tone rocks my socks off. :) and, the image of you dragging your hysterical (the not funny kind) tike away from people singing Happy Birthday, is just too much. :)

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    1. Thank you so much! He is often hysterical in both senses of the word

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  5. The thing I love most about my kid is that he is very, very cautious. I hope he never loses that... it eases my parenting anxiety a bit.

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    1. God, mine too. My niece is off-the-charts daring and I feel like I'm constantly on the verge of a panic attack when I hang out with her.

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  6. Well, I don't blame Boy. The happy birthday song suuuuuucks.

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    1. It really does. It's not possible to sing that song in any sort of key. Or quietly.

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  7. Hilarious. I have several irrational fears that annoy me from time to time, but my rational fears are my best friends. Thanks, rational fears, for keeping me alive.

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    1. Me, too. I mean, it's kept the clowns at bay so far anyway.

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  8. "So my advice to you is to not take the bull by the horns. Bulls are huge, angry creatures and you will most likely get gouged. Take it easy. Enjoy your life. And watch out for clowns." Love this! I say do something that scares you, like, once a year or something. Not every day fergoodnessakes!

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    1. Right? Life is terrifying enough on it's own!

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  9. I love this! My favorite part is "So my advice to you is to not take the bull by the horns. Bulls are huge, angry creatures and you will most likely get gouged. Take it easy. Enjoy your life. And watch out for clowns." Mainly because I have an irrational fear of clowns but also because I think a little fear is not such a bad thing sometimes! Great post.

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    1. Thank you! Fear of clowns is not irrational. Nope.

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  10. Irrational fears are all ours. They give us our unique flavor. Face up to them and our uniqueness is gone. I like your perspective. Especially since I have my share and I have no intention of facing any of them. Unique post! :)

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    1. Thank you! That's a really cool way of looking at it.

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  11. I have a fear of crappy Elmo cakes. I wonder what they call that.

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    1. At least it wasn't a Dora cake. Creepy, creepy Dora.

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  12. The beginning of the post makes me stressed. I started to feel the jitters of fear as I think about what scares me. But the ending of the post soothes me with "enjoy your life" I breathe a sigh of relief :P

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    1. Sorry for scaring you! Just... ventriloquist dummies, man... sorry. I mean, life is good! No worries.

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  13. Funny and interesting perspective... I love that quote, but never thought of this perspective!

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    1. Thanks! It's really just because I'm a giant chicken. I mean, not literally. You know.

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  14. I have always thought that quote was utter shite. The part about crazy things to be afraid of made me laugh out loud. Erin

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    1. Thanks! I think a fear of cooking is what led to the invention of the microwave. God bless it.

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  15. You are so right. I am not too interested in being scared out of my mind every day, thankyouverymuch. So glad your son has worked through the birthday song fear...I bet he didn't like hearing overly enthusiastic adults mashing up a tune, with at least one or two tone deaf people thrown in for good measure (at least that's how it always sounds to me!)

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    1. Yeah maybe not so irrational after all, that song is pretty terrible.

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  16. My older daughter was afraid of "happy birthday" too. Unlike you, as the bad mommy I am, I made everyone sing to her anyway!

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  17. Wow, they should start a support group or something! Removing him was really more to spare myself from the screeching than anything.

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