Club Together / topical

How Did You Conquer Your Fears?

In celebration of National Face Your Fears Day last week, we asked our writers to share personal experiences of when they’ve stared down something that scares them and come out triumphant. Here are our favourite contributions:
Last month, I wrote an article for ‘The F Word’ on Sass Intimate Skincare products (vagina wash to you and me) and why I thought they were damaging to women. Response to the article was great, and I was pretty satisfied with reaching the goal of writing for one of my favourite feminist magazines. However, life loves to make things terrifying at a moment’s notice, and on Friday morning I received an email inviting me to speak on Radio 4 BBC Woman’s Hour about feminine hygiene products, with a second panellist of their choice. I spent the whole of Friday drenched in sweat, waiting for confirmation of the second panellist, and ended up agreeing to the slot without learning their name. It came in on Friday evening – the co-founder of Sass had agreed to come on and debate with me. Merde.

I spent the entire weekend in the throes of a mild panic attack. I HATE public speaking, and only agreed to the slot for two reasons: 1) personal development (I need to stop being such a wuss) and 2) it’s something I really strongly believe in. Women don’t need “feminine hygiene products” and they certainly don’t need yet another unachievable beauty standard, leaching their time, money and self-esteem. I have three younger sisters, two of whom are teenagers, and the thought that they would feel pressured to buy products like Sass filled me with rage. So I went through with it. Despite having the worst night’s sleep of my life (spoiler alert: no sleep was had, but there was a lot of shaking and yoga-style breathing) and it being one of the scariest things I’ve done in my life, it was totally exhilarating. And it went well! I stated my case, didn’t crap my pants live on air and left the BBC building on a high. I even swept down the Oxford Circus escalators with no hesitation – and I’m also super scared of escalators, which shows how totally awesome and ready-for-anything I felt. The support of my feminist sisters (biological and non-biological) helped so much through the experience, and it was kind of a horrible whirlwind for the most part, but I’m really glad I faced my fears. Next year – maybe it’ll be time to tackle the escalators properly!

– Jade Moulds (@msjademoulds)
London
www.thejarbelles.com

I have this thing about deep water. It doesn’t even have to be really deep, just enough that it’s higher than my boobs. I have no idea where it comes from, I’ve never had a water related accident, and I don’t know anyone who has drowned. It probably doesn’t help that I can’t swim. The thought of being in deep water absolutely terrifies me if I’m being honest, my palms sweat and I want to turn around and run whenever I am near it.

I refuse to be defined by my fear, so I make a point of trying to conquer it whenever I can. When I go abroad I am always the first one in the sea, and I make a point of wading out until I’m neck deep. Living near a marina, I know quite a few people who have boats, so I often find myself walking along the pontoons (which are pretty narrow and tend to move about a bit!) and climbing on and off their boats. This fills me with a cold terror in the pit of my stomach, but because I have only admitted this fear to a very small number of people, I have to grin and bear it and just do it. While this hasn’t cured the fear, it has certainly made it easier to deal with. And the feeling of facing the fear and beating it, well there’s nothing quite like it. The mixture of relief and knowing I felt the fear and did it anyway is unbeatable!

– Debbie (@randommusings29)
NE England
Random Musings

When I was younger I had a huge fear of escalators. Big jagged moving stairs? Whoever in the hell had that idea really didn’t like people. As you can probably tell, I’m still not a great fan of them but I had to get over it. Escalators are everywhere, and it’s horrible to live in fear.
I think I was about 6 or 7 when I had my first bad experience on an escalator. I only slipped down the first few steps and got a few tiny grazes on my hands, but it was enough to put me off. After that, I wouldn’t go near an escalator without freaking out. My parents slowly talked me round, and with plenty of hand-holding I started to use them again, though I always tried to find excuses to use lifts instead. By the time I was 10 I was a little more confident; as long as I held on tight and stayed still I’d manage it. Then I fell down one – all the way down, top to bottom.
Surprisingly, I came out of it with only a few scrapes and bruises. They were very big bruises though, but being ten I liked showing them off at school. Luckily, when I’d fallen there was nobody further down on the escalator. I remember landing at the bottom and just getting up feeling dizzy – I hadn’t even been knocked out. Maybe I can thankful it was the 90’s so I was wearing thick denim and canvas trainer-boots which might have given me a bit of protection.  I was scooped up by a security guard and taken to the medical room. I remember feeling surprisingly calm, just in shock I suppose, whilst my poor mum was in pieces. I was more worried for her!
So I definitely didn’t want to use escalators after that, and I didn’t until later in my teens. I’d make excuses out of going to places with escalators, or I’d make sure they had lifts beforehand. But it reached a point where I wanted to go on trips with my friends. I was going to London and I knew I would have to use escalators on the Underground. I realised that I’d always be making excuses and would be too scared to travel anywhere if I didn’t face my fears. If I could do it when I was little, I could do it now. I didn’t have my parent’s hands to grab onto this time but I did have supportive friends who were very understanding.  Slowly but surely I made myself use escalators. My heart would pound every time and I’d feel dizzy, but it lessened over the years. Even now, I still sometimes feel uneasy on them, but I’m glad I tackled my fear. I may not have travelled the world for over 5 years after that if I hadn’t.
When we conquer our fears we gain more power and control over our bodies. Our confidence grows and we feel more empowered in our lives. This feeling far outweighs the scariness of trying to overcome thefear. Honestly, it’s worth it. If you’re scared of something, keep doing it! It will get less and less scary every time. You can do it!
Have you faced any fears recently? Let us know in the comments below!

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