Surrendering to fear – my biggest childhood regret

Y’all

*sigh*

My childhood was plagued by an irrational fear of dying.

I remember running to my father at bedtime when I was just six years old as the nightly dread of the grave overcame my consciousness.

me: “Daddy, I don’t want to die!!!!”

Daddy: “Asha, we all have to die. Death is a part of life.”

me: “But I have a perfectly good body, it seems like a waste of a body if I have to die. Why do I have to die and be buried and let worms eat my body??!!!!” (damn…I was precocious 0_o)

Yes, yes, yes…I had been fed the rigmarole (which I believed and still do) that we go to heaven and all that jazz. But, coupled with fear of death was a fear of eternity. What am I going to do for all that time? I had/have a linear concept of time so what was eternity anyway? Just thinking about it, trying to wrap my mortal mind around the concept of forever made me feel nauseous and filled me with anxiety.

This dread colored my outlook. There were moments when it seemed that I was free of it and in exchange, filled with peace, but those moments were never granted any permanence in my psyche.

Let me tell you of a time when my morbid paradigm (or commonsense…you be the judge) stopped me from ‘seizing the day’.

I was about 10 years old, when my family, along with a few friends and I, hiked up to Fort George in Trinidad. It was a lovely day I think…my memory of the whole escapade fails me but there is one incident that is seared in my ‘hard-drive’.

It happened just before we were about to leave. The path we were taking went along a steep grassy incline. On the incline was a tree, and its branches stretched temptingly over the path. I wanted nothing more than to jump up and catch hold of the lowest branch, but…I was scared. I knew that if I missed the branch, I would go tumbling down the path (although there was a fence along the bottom to stop me, I would still get a bit shaken up if I fell).

I stood there…procrastinating (yowza, I’ve been procrastinating my whole life?! #JesusTakeTheWheel)

Anyway, my friend Seka, who was (and still is) considerably shorter than I am, casually walked across next to me, jumped, caught hold of the coveted branch, swung herself back and forth a few times and then let go of the branch with enough momentum to land back onto the path. #likeabawse!

*I wanted to insert an illustration here but y’all have some active imaginations so far be it from me to deny you the pleasure of using them*

The rational part of my brain worked out that since I was taller than Seka, reaching the branch would be no problem for me. But, I was crippled by fear and self-doubt. I dilly-dallied there on the path, giving myself pep talks , trying to work up the nerve to jump. ‘you only live once Asha, you only live once. ‘ Then…

“Asha! Time to go!”

I didn’t jump :(.

The regret of that moment -of surrendering to fear- haunted me for such a long time. It is certainly true that: “You often regret the things you do not do more than than the things that you have done”

My father always told my sister and I that if we detest a characteristic in someone to CHECK OURSELVES because most likely, we exhibit the very trait that we so abhor.

I cannot stand cowardice. 0_o

What about you? What are your regrets? Where there is life, there’s hope…there will be other obstacles to overcome to build my courage! 🙂

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6 thoughts on “Surrendering to fear – my biggest childhood regret

  1. Whoa! Can you believe that we grew up right next to each other and never knew we shared the exact same thorn?!!! This is encouraging because I believe you have overcome that hurdle and it gives me hope for myself as well. Too many times have I surrendered to fear and been left only with memories if regret and woulda’, shoulda’, coulda’.
    Thanks, this post was amazing and very timely!

  2. Hmm, this is interesting. It does make me think. There is alot to say on this but I will try and be brief.

    I’m well aware of my challenge with regards to regret and fear. I love meeting people and doing new things, going new places, new adventures etc etc, but my main fear is making that first move, taking that step, because lawd knows I have already played the scenario out in my head and it involves every possible outcome. This is a HUGE issue when it comes to communicating, the fear of rejection or disappointment, leads me to take the safe route and just not say anything or make any first moves, and instead observe……………..while unfortunately hoping the other party(ies) will go ahead and make the first move… so I feel you on the ‘characteristic trait’ thing which, believe me, I keep CHECKING.

    So what happened?……I go by the “What do you have to lose?” motto and for the most part it has worked in helping me overcome my fears, in taking the plunge with new experiences (The GOOD KIND), and even sometimes in communicating.

    But sometimes,that little Jiminy cricket character comes and rationalizes with the motto, and unfortunately its usually at the time when I would like to reach out to people and communicate……..as this clashes with my introverted nature :/ hmmmmmmmmm *sigh* oh well, so I stay in my safety zone with my anxiety levels in check.

    Asha……you were one creepy kid thinking about death like that…. what happened to dolls and bicycles….and ish….

    Anyway, I think this has resonated with me and in good time..

  3. ‘that little Jiminy cricket character ‘ aka ‘the little hater’ aka ‘the devil’ is empowered by our lack of faith. I’ve tried to combat it by thinking less of others…(e.g. he poopoos just like you) but that never works. Because, how can I talk to someone when I can only think of them poo-ing.

    yup, i was creepily precocious 😛 #dealwiddit

    Really pleased that this post resonated with y’all.

    I was hesitating to post it because I was afraid as being perceived as weird(er). 😛

    • wahaha listen you are going to have to use another illustration besides the poo-ing because I am not too sure I got your point……..

      Cant get past the visual of…….poo….

      yeah so please re-translate pweety pweese

      And sometimes that Jiminy cricket is what I like to call ‘risk assessment’. There are just some things that you have to think through before you go ahead and jump into it…..regardless of weather or not you have something to gain or lose.. or if you will regret it or not… I firmly believe that yes while its good to put fear aside and live your one life to the fullest, you also want your one life to be happy and healthy… so… ASSESS

      kisses all round 🙂 🙂

      • To explain my poo analogy. Do you know of the (now discontinued) Tyra talk show? Well on the show, she was giving women tips on how to overcome their nervousness on a blind date especially when they thought that the guy was ‘out of their league’.

        You know the popular saying that if you get nervous public speaking, then you should visualize the audience naked? Well Tyra took it a step further and told these women to think of the “fact” that their date probably had a miniscule bit of poo in their pants. I guess that was her way of helping the ladies to ‘humanize’ their gorgeous dates.

        Thinking of poo…sooooooo romantic ..not -_-

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