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


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.

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


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.’

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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.

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Feel the fear and strip off in public

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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:



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

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Feel the fear and get on the motorway


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.

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Feel the fear and chat up TWO men on the tube

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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.

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Feel the fear and go to bed


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?

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