Fear is…Frightening

a-to-z-letters-fFear is not my friend. Somewhere along the line that enemy of an emotion, I’m sure serves some purpose. But, I for one do not seek it out on purpose and I can’t understand why anyone would want to. I will be the last person you’ll find watching a scary movie. I’m the girl who thought Charley and the Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz were scary. I can count on my hand the number of actual “scary” movies I’ve seen in my life – none by actual choice.

I saw  Halloween (you may have heard of it) in grade school at a girlfriend’s slumber party. I was afraid to be the only one that was too big of a “baby” not to watch. Unfortunately for me my vivid imagination replayed scenes from the movie preventing me from restful sleep for months (just ask my mother!) Poltergeist and Nightmare on Elm Street were two more peer-pressured movies I witnessed. Both led to more sleepless nights, where I humbly admit I pressured my younger sister into sleeping with me. What I thought she would do if we were actually attacked by Michael Myers or Freddie Krueger or that crazy clown under the bed, I don’t know. But I felt better having her there.

These days my fears are less about being stalked, haunted or murdered (although maybe they should be given the news on any given day), but more about the kind of fear that keeps me from being the best that I can be. The fear of not being good enough. The fear of not being liked. The fear of conflict. The fear of not moving forward. The fear of hurting someone’s feelings. The fear of failing my children. The fear of my dreams never coming true and the fear that they might actually come true and then what?

I hate that stomach-churning, sweat-beading feeling I get when I face something I don’t want to do. When it comes to fight or flight, my brain tells me to run as fast as I can and not look back. Yet deep down I know there is a time to fight and push that fear way forever. I find that courage more and more as I gradually venture outside my comfort zone. To pursue my dreams and not be afraid to be the woman I’m meant to be. To open my eyes going down the biggest hill on the roller coaster and see the track before me. To eat in a hotel restaurant alone instead of ordering room service. That’s they only way I’m going to be able to look at the fear reflected in my daughters’ eyes when they can’t sleep at night or are fearful that something they touched might make them sick. I want to tell them everything is going to be OK, and mean it. I want them to know it’s OK to fail and it’s OK to be afraid, but its not OK to let either stop them from their dreams.

What are you afraid of? Would you go to a scary movie on purpose?

Trick or Treat? Bah Humbug!

Halloween inevitably brings with it the custom of “trick or treat.” I don’t know who thought up the wonderful tradition of dressing up in a costume and going door-to-door to beg strangers for candy. I could probably find out in a matter of seconds via Google or Wikipedia (how did we ever live without these wonderful tools), but I actually really don’t care all that much who that genius was. It won’t change anything. Trick or treat will still come. Bah Humbug!

Yes, I know it’s the wrong holiday, but I think am the Scrooge of Halloween or at least trick or treat. Of all the holidays we have, Halloween is probably one of my least favorites. Even as a child the thought of trick or treating filled me with dread. It’s not that a I didn’t want candy…I did. Knocking on a stranger’s door to ask for candy (especially if they too dressed up and had  scary decorations) that could potentially be poisoned or razor-blade filled  made my shy, introverted body queasy. Thus, I would always make my younger sister go first. (I was just being polite. No, really, you go ahead…)

These days trick or treat appeals to me about as much as it did back then. Alas my daughters love to go and so I go for them. As an adult, my aversion to trick or treat is less about stranger danger and more about the weather. The weather? Yes, the weather. What does weather have to do with Halloween you might ask? In Northwest Ohio – everything. Nine out of ten times the weather on Halloween is, how shall I put it? Crappy. It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s rainy. This year will be no different. In fact, I’ve already been given one reprieve as the festivities have already been postponed once due to sleet and high winds and rescheduled for tomorrow night.

Halloween Past
Halloween Past

As we live out in the boonies, we’ll meet up with some friends who live in town to trick or treat. The houses are much closer together. As usual, the girls will bundle up with sweat pants and sweatshirts under their costumes and complain about having to put winter coats on over them. I can empathize with them in that regard as both a former trick or treater, who wanted to show off her cool costume, and as a mother, who just paid a small fortune for the costumes of choice and wants everyone to see how cute they look in them. (In the picture on the right is a pic from a rare Halloween past when we had beautiful weather and the girls were still young enough that they agreed to wear the coordinating costumes I got them!)

After the first block or so of candy gathering, I’ll have a pocket full of empty candy wrappers and be carrying the itchy wig I paid way too much for, while giving the youngest a piggy back ride, because she’s too tired to walk. Trick or treat lasts an hour and a half or so, and lucky for me the girls aren’t greedy and are ready to call it quits after 45 minutes or so and head back home for some pizza and more candy.

Now you may think I’m against trick or treat completely. I’m not. Truly, I’m not. Back before kids, my hubby and I lived in town. I loved passing out the candy to the kids in our neighborhood. Seeing the kids all dressed up and watching the smiles on their faces as I gave them their treats was great fun. Unfortunately, as I said we live out in the boonies and get no trick or treaters. Not even one. Though I still buy candy just in case:)

What about you? Would you rather trick or treat, pass out candy or skip the whole thing?