Category Archives: Feel The Fear Posts

Feel the fear and go to the hospital AND the dentist on the most miserable day of the year

Image

So yesterday was something called ‘Blue Monday’ – one of those made up days meant to depict the fact that it’s the middle of January, the New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned and life is generally crap.

A great day, then, to face not one but two of my fears – going to the hospital to get a mole checked out and getting my fillings done.

Who says the universe doesn’t have a sense of humour?

First up was the hospital appointment – which I’d not been dreading so much as completely ignoring.

A bit of background: when I was 18, I had a dodgy mole on the inside of my left calf, which turned out to be a malignant melanoma – one of the most serious types of skin cancer.

It was a very scary time. I was meant to be starting university but instead I was in hospital having a sizeable chunk of my leg removed while the word cancer was being thrown around.

I didn’t realise it at the time – my parents didn’t tell me – but the kind I had is fatal in about a third of cases.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and never ever haggle your way to a spin class again

Image

Yesterday started off as a quest to face my fear of haggling. I have an acute embarrassment around money. I have such a fear of looking like a cheapskate, I flash money I don’t have.  To me the idea of quibbling over prices or asking for a discount is mortifying.

So when I got an email from a local gym announcing 3 months free membership, if you sign up for a year, I grabbed my chance. I phoned them up and asked if they could improve the offer.

‘Any chance you could make it 4 months free instead of 3?’ I asked. And I’m not joking, my heart was beating like crazy. I felt so cheeky.

The man on the phone didn’t seem put out by the request but was pretty matter of fact in his response: ‘No.’

Continue reading

Feel the fear and love your fridge

A few people have been asking me the very reasonable question of whether my daring deeds are making me feel happier and more confident. The answer is, I don’t know. Right now, they’re making me feel tired.

But on the whole it’s been good.

The main benefit has been that I don’t have time to over-analyse little things as I normally do. I wake up every morning and think ‘God, what is it today?’ (It’s karaoke tonight) and just get on with it. Well, sort of. I panic a bit but it’s getting less with each day.

Last week parallel parking was freaking me out but compared to getting your kit off for strangers, it’s a breeze.  I’ve noticed little changes too: I’ve been sending off important emails in seconds, instead of faffing for hours as I usually do.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and strip off in public

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 13.35.54

Last night, as the rest of the world prepared for an evening in front of the telly, I set out in the rain and the dark and the wind to get my kit off for strangers. And I wasn’t even getting paid for the privilege.

A million questions flew around my head:  Should I have waxed?  Is it going to be really cold? What if I don’t know how to stand in the right way? What if I find it all so awful that I start crying? Or just want to run away?

Patrick Palmer, the teacher of the life-drawing class I would be sitting for, tried to reassure me. He told me that nobody would be thinking of me as a naked woman, they’d be too busy worrying about their art. Very easy for him to say, wrapped up in his jeans and jumper.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and speak in public

It’s a well-known fact that public speaking is most people’s number one fear. People fear it more than dying. In fact, the comedian Jerry Seinfeld once joked that ‘Go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.’

Too bloody right. I’ve been asked to do readings at friends’ weddings and each time it gets me into such a stress, I’d almost rather pay for their honeymoon than get up in front of the crowd and read another ‘Love is…’ poem.

While most of my work is at a laptop, I have turned down a couple of speaking invites for fear I’d mess it up.

And so last Thursday I felt the fear. Big time.

A local speakers group – the Camberley Speakers Club – had kindly agreed I could come and do a talk at one of their meetings.

The speech would need to be 5-7 minutes long and it would ideally be without notes.  I got an email advising me that there would be a traffic light system timing me (green when I’ve reached my minimum time, amber-time to  tell me I’d reached 6 minutes,and red to warn that i had 30 seconds to wrap-up or be disqualified), and that I would have an ‘Evaluator’ assessing me.  There was also an agenda.

Continue reading

A funny PS to my first day of POSITIVE THINKING BY POST-IT

I tried explaining the idea of positive thinking and affirmations to mum. She is horrified.

Me: “The idea is that we replace our usual negative thoughts with positive ones.’
Mum: ‘You mean you delude yourself?’
Me: ‘No, you just try to focus on the good rather than bad.’
A pause.
Mum: ‘You’re not going to go all American, are you?’
Me: ‘What do you mean?’
Mum: ‘You know… happy. People don’t like that. It’s not real.’ I’ve been warned…

Continue reading

How Post-its can change your life

I’ve just walked around the block, talking to myself. I told myself that I’m strong and capable and that good things are coming my way. I assured myself that I handle everything with calm and ease and that money comes to me easily and effortlessly. I’ve repeated, about 80 times, ‘It’s all happening perfectly.’

I am now sitting at a desk, surrounded by these:

Image

Image

Yup. I’ve finally lost it. I’m fallen down the self-help rabbit hole – and we’re only in week two.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and get on the motorway

Image

Yesterday I drove on not one, not two, but three different motorways – the M25, M3 and M4. Fascinating stuff, I know.

I’m sure that this will be no big deal to most of you but I am quite a nervous driver on any road and a VERY NERVOUS driver on motorways.

‘Hard shoulders’, ‘slip lanes’, overtaking… I feel like I’m in some sort of computer game that I don’t want to be in – a game in which death is only one dodgy lane move away.

And because I’ve lived in London most of my life, without a car, I haven’t ever had to face my fear. Now I’m back in the burbs, it would make life a lot easier if I could get over it. So yesterday I drove to my friend in East Sheen, instead of taking the train as I usually would.

My heart was beating hard the whole time and I didn’t go above 60 (sorry to everyone behind me) – but I did it. I even went into fifth gear. I felt like The Stig.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and chat up TWO men on the tube

Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 13.14.14

Yesterday evening I chatted up not one but two men on the tube. Or at least I think I did. I’m not really sure where the line is between chatting and ‘chatting up.’ But anyway, I approached two total strangers of the male persuasion and started talking to them. Something I have never, ever done before.

Number 1 male was a tall, pale, dark haired man in a suit. He was handsome in a kind of knackered, fed-up with life way. We both got on a Clapham and the train was busy. I was standing right next to him.

By this point I’d been on two other trains and had so far bottled any opportunity to talk to anyone. I had to go for it.

I asked him if the train was always this crowded.  He looked up from his phone, said ‘yes’, and looked back down again.

Right. My heart started beating a bit faster but I wasn’t going to back down.  I waited a minute before asking: ‘Where do you live?’

Despite being busy the carriage was very quiet and I could sense a couple of people looking up. A man sitting on a seat next to us smirked. I winced.

Continue reading

Feel the fear and go to bed

shutterstock_99483260

Oh dear. This weekend I felt the fear and did absolutely nothing. I put the blog up last Wednesday, New Year’s Day, and told the world – ie Facebook – about it on Thursday. Lots of friends, people who I hadn’t heard from in years, got in touch. I got excited. Then I got overwhelmed. I went to bed.

On Friday I asked people if they had suggestions for scary things I could do in my Feel the Fear Month. They did: Dump a friend, telling them why you don’t want them around any more. Write an erotic story and send it to your mother. Streak at a major sporting event. Shave off your hair. The list got more evil and imaginative as the day went on.  I started to panic: What exactly have I taken on here? Why am I doing any of this?

Continue reading