Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I was talking with someone Saturday casually and then again to the hubs last night about fear - my fear specifically. (Not a phobia - although I DO have one of those.)

Paranoia, vigilence, awareness, being careful... all of these are things we're all taught to do at least a little to keep us safe (ish) in this crazy world full of nut-jobs. Some people probably don't pay close enough attention, and then there are those people, like me, who probably are a little too vigilent, paranoid, careful, worried.

The conversation started while standing in line for Batman at Six Flags. There was a group of teenage boys behind us in line that were apparently under the impression that if they got close enough to our group, they could magically appear on the other side of us (or maybe even at the front of the line). I began discussing boundaries in public - how so many people seem unaware of personal space. People in the grocery line sometimes are so close I can hear them breathe in my ear. REALLY?!? You being that close to me isn't going to make the groceries check any faster.

I don't think anyone enjoys having thier personal space invaded by a stranger. I, however, almost always begin panicking at least a little when this happens. When someone steps too close (even something as innocent as a teenage boy in line at Six Flags), my heart begins racing. I get fidgety and start looking for people who could help me if the situation turns bad. I do everything short of running over someone else and/or slapping the person who's gotten too close to distance myself from the person.

Normal? Probably not. Worrisome? I'm not sure. THIS is what brought the conversation up again last night. I know that I'm probably more hyper-paranoid about strangers and dangerous situations than the average person. I can even tell you WHY I am that way. I can name the day that it began for me and some of my scariest run-ins with my fear since then with great detail. My question to my husband was, "I know my fear's greater than that of the average person, but if it's not keeping me from living my life, is it something I should worry about?"

I think some of my extra awareness is GOOD. When I'm walking through a parking lot or into the house, I take inventory of every single person around. Is there anyone near my car or door? Is there anyone behind me going in the same direction? If so, how close are they and is there a store worker or other trust-worthy person nearby if I need them?

I never stop to get gas without someone knowing exactly where I am (usually my poor mother gets this call - "I'm on _____ Street at the QT getting gas. I'll call you when I get back in with locked doors"). I figure at least that way if something happens, someone knows TO look and WHERE to look.

I think those things probably keep me (and Tucker) safe.

But some of my fear may not be so good. I never walk in or out of my house without thinking that there's the possibility that someone could be watching us, taking note of our routine, or watching for the perfect moment to grab us or shove his way in our house. I get panicky when people get too close in the grocery store or in line at Six Flags. Those things aren't normal. I know that.

My question is, how much fear is TOO much?

What do YOU fear? How much? Do you think your fear is normal? a good thing? worrisome?

(A little deep for a cold Tuesday in May, I know.)

Love, Shipoopies, and a fearless day,


Rebekah said...

I totally understand the fear thing. Somethings I worry about and others I have anxiety over. Whenever I go for a walk, no matter the time of day, I always tell my husband what I'm wearing. I sometimes even text it to him. You just never know what could happen!

Julie said...

Hey Leslie. I've been reading your blog for a while, but I haven't made any comments because as much as I enjoy a person's blog I usually just don't make comments...unless it's a topic like this. I can totally identify with your fear issues. I've had them as long as I can remember, but they were taken to another level about 10 years ago when we lost a family member at the age 30 in a helicopter crash. He wasn't murdered or abducted, but the fact that he was 30 and dead made my fears even worse. Now every time a person was late or someone didn't answer the phone, I automatically assumed the worse. My fears turned extremely irrational and I allowed them to control me.
Last fall I went through Beth Moore's Esther Bible study. It gave me a whole new perspective on fear. According to Beth, the phrase "Fear not" or phrases like it such as "take courage" occur more often than any other phrase in the Bible. She also gave this great illustration and asked us to imagine our worse fears. Then she asked us to fill in the blank. If _____ then GOD. (The blank is where you put your worse fears.) I wouldn't even write mine down, but I knew in my mind what they were, because I thought about them so often. This lesson was a huge eye opener for me. I KNOW that God does not want us to live a life full of fear. I do think He wants us to use our instincts and intelligent minds (that He gave us) to make wise decisions and be cautious, but when these things turn into irrational fear (like mine), we are not taking the courage that He offers us. It was also a great lesson on trust. Unfortunately bad things do happen, but we have to trust God’s sovereignty.
I still struggle with my fear and it is certainly not something that I have under total control, but it does not control my life anymore.

McCrakensx4 said...

I think the same things a lot of the time...when I am walking to and from my car in the parking lot...when people crowd me in line especially at the grocery store or ATM. I live in a T shaped caulisac so I really don't think about going and coming from the house but when pumping gas, I always get as close as I can to the attendant and lock my doors so noone can get into my car from the other side. I think proactive safety is very important so I have ta say I really see nothing wrong with it! Never know what can happen!

Camily said...

I think a lot of the same things. I'm always, always aware of my environment--the cars around me in the parking lot, locking my doors, all of it. I always call my husband or parents if I'm walking to my car at night. I definitely think some of that is fear--but I also think it's SMART. I believe God gives us instincts for a reason, and that we are taught to ignore them--that they may seem irrational, but so many times, they are NOT. Of course you don't want to live in fear, but being cautious, aware of your surroundings, taking precautions, etc.: Not necessarily a bad thing to do.
My mom has ingrained this in me. I can hear her now "Lock the car as soon as you get it. Pull the car into the garage and turn it off. Close the garage door and THEN get out of the car." I used to kind of laugh at her, but she has gotten herself out of two pretty scary situations that could have been very dangerous just because she was aware of what was going on and was calmly able to think and react. I think, especially as women, we need to be smart/cautious/and maybe a little fearful. As long as it isn't too much--you know?
Did I ramble enough? Jeez!

Anonymous said...

Hey sweetness,
My philosophy has always been that if I let my fear change the quality of my life then the bad guy has already won.
When your dad used to officiate, there were several wives in the group that would worry themselves sick until they knew 'our men' were safely home. I always figured that if a State Trooper showed up at my door to tell me the unthinkable had happened, my life would suck from that point forward. No amount of worrying ahead of time would change that. So I didn't worry about what hadn't (but might) happen. That doesn't mean that I am not cautious. I am very careful. I am aware of my limitations but I am seldom afraid.
Continue to be cautious but stop short of fear. Life is too precious to spend in fear.
Love you,