I don't know how it happened but when I was a teenager I was on holiday with my mum when we went to go into some caves. Now mum doesn't like caves so she was going to stay in the car while my step-dad, brother Murray and myself went down to see the crystals in the cave (My oldest brother Ian was too old by this point for family holidays and was probably at home trying desperately to scrape a piece of wallpaper off the wall where his friend had vomited on it- but that's a story for a different time). Anyway, I still remember this vividly, I was going down the stairs which were cut into the rocks and suddenly I panicked. I couldn't do it. I burst into tears and had to pretty much be carried out by my step-dad. Ever since this day I have been claustrophobic. I cant even watch tv programmes where there are tight spaces. It is the strangest thing, I have no idea what triggered the fear but I have never got over it.
Then there is my irrational fear of bones. Seriously, they freak me out! I can barely talk to people with broken bones and if there is a bit on television where someone has a bone related injury I have been known to conk out. Similarly to the claustrophobia this didn't effect me until recently and it is something I cant seem to get past.
Then there are fears which I have always had. Bugs for one, I cannot stand them, particularly spiders. Not just big spiders, any spiders. I find this a particularly frustrating fear cause I know it is ridiculous but the minute I see one I have a nervous breakdown, have been known to cry and was once trapped hysterical in a sink for a good twenty minutes when a very large specimen took up residence on the bathroom wall. But every time I throw a hissy fit I think to myself "Look at yourself fi, it is tiny and you are so big" but still I cant get to grips with our eight legged friends (saying that- one good thing that has come of it is that Craig is pretty much over his fear of spiders and has been forced to "man up" so he can save me from them) .
Another fear I have had since childhood (I can't believe I am about to admit this) is a fear of the dark. now admittedly it is not as bad as it used to be, but I really don't like the pitch dark. Or windows at night- in case there is a face. I also cannot sleep with the cupboard door opened (in case the monster gets out), I can't sleep with my feet over the edge of the bed (in case something bites off my toes), I didn't go into the attic at my mums for 6 years in case there was a dinosaur up there (this particular fear was thanks to Jurassic park and the lovely Ian) and sometimes I am scared to look in the bathroom mirror in case someone appears behind me (bloody mary, bloody mary, bloody mary anyone?!).
Other fears include; the dentist, china dolls, horror films and aliens. So do you get the picture? I am a scaredy cat. This is not something I am praticuarly proud of. I mean, I am a grown-up for goodness sake and I should know there is no monster in the cupboard and nothing is going to bite my toes in the middle of the night- yet I still sometimes lie awake wondering. Fear is a powerful thing, and many fears can be funny, but I think it is important not to let them rule your life.
I was due to be in London two days after the July 7 bombings. I was going with my dad for our annual daddy daughter London week where we went to see shows, visited Hamleys and just had fun the two of us. We did it for years and had booked months in advance. But this year, two days before we were due to go, the bombings happened. After some discussion we decided to cancel our trip. Dad didn't want to spend the trip worrying about something happening and thought that London wouldn't be a nice place to be and I was frightened. I was scared of what might happen or what I might see, scared of the airports on high alerts and was absolutely terrified of getting on a tube (admittedly I didn't like tubes before due to earlier mentioned claustrophobia, but I always managed on them). So we didn't go. And you know what? I wish we had. Looking back I am annoyed that I let the people who carried out the bombings win. there were a lot of people far more courageous than me who carried on their lives after that day. But I let fear dictate mine.
I am not big on regrets- I think they are a waste of time. But after that I try not to let fear make decisions for me. So yes I can laugh at my silly little fears like spiders and dentists, but they do not stop me doing things. Because fear is just a feeling, it cannot hurt you. And there are always times in life when you don't know what is going to happen and fear steps in. But you could spend your whole life not taking the chance just in case something bad happens.
So this year I want to be braver so that I don't have to look back and wish i had done something. It is ok to be scared sometimes but you can't let the fear of things going wrong stop you from living your life. But I need to scoot cause a large spider has just appeared and I am going to go and lock myself in the bathroom where it cant get me until Craig comes home.... maybe I will be fearless tomorrow.