Fears are like assholes – everyone’s got ‘em! But what exactly is fear? It’s an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Some of the most common are heights, public speaking, spiders, snakes, and closed spaces. Many of these fears are actually evolutionary and help to keep us safe. For example, being afraid of a snake makes you less likely to get bit by one because you’re not going to run up and pet it like you would someone’s pug walking down the beach. (Side note – what if we walked snakes? Weird but I kinda like the image of that.)
Lucky for us, most people are able to distinguish between which fears are rational and irrational and don’t cross into the world of having a phobia. A good example of this is being scared of heights. This is beneficial because it keeps us from standing on the ledges of 100 story buildings, but we understand that going up an escalator to the second story of the mall is completely safe and do it without even a second thought.
I’ve talked about some of my fears before, which have to do with going out in public alone and meeting new people. These are both things I’ve worked on in the last 6 months and that I’m happy to say I’ve gotten over for the most part. Of course, I still get wicked awkward when I’m in a group of people I don’t know but I’ve learned to own me and just go for it and I must say it’s doing me well.
But this week I’m here to talk about an entirely other people – kind of similar to one of the earliest posts I wrote for TNTML. Ya see, one big fear of mine is sleeping alone. No, I don’t mean this in the “I need someone to snuggle with. My bed feels so empty when I’m alone.” No way –this girl LOVES her space when it comes to sleep. If I cuddle you while we sleep you can assume it means I really like you. I’m all about being intertwined before and after the actual sleep but I get way too hot when I’m sleeping to have someone else all up in my grill.
Anyway, I digress. So yes – sleeping alone is something that terrifies me, almost to the point of it being an irrational fear. Once in high school my dad was in the hospital for nearly a month, my mom had passed away, and my brother was staying with family in Indiana so I had the house to myself. My best friends had been staying with me nearly every night, and trust that we were getting into all sorts of trouble, but there was one night they couldn’t so I asked my boyfriend at the time if he would and you know what he said? No! First off, what dumb ass teenager wouldn’t take advantage of having an empty house? Probably the first of many signs I needed to end things with him. I remember getting in a huge fight about it and I actually wound up on the phone with him all night arguing, which was totally a manipulative move on my part to avoid having to sleep alone. Another time in college, my roommates were both out of town and I had to sleep alone? This time my tactic was to leave all the lights on and stack chairs in front of the door. That way if someone broke in, at least it would make enough noise to wake me up. I understand all of this makes me sound crazy but it’s just the truth. I’m a heavy sleeper and I’m almost positive someone could break in and steal everything in my bedroom without me even noticing.
Besides those two instances, I’ve been able to avoid sleeping alone for all of my life. But a couple weeks ago I was asked to dogsit/housesit at this amazing house in Hermosa Beach. (I’m actually sitting on their rooftop right now! Ahhh what an amazing view to have behind my laptop screen! And I’m working on evening out my farmer’s tan. Lovely.) After I agreed to do the job I realized that it meant I had to sleep alone. My first instinct was to try and convince a friend to stay with me the entire time, or find some way to avoid sleeping at the house…. Maybe just staying till bed time then leaving to my house where there would be other people.
But in an effort to stick with the theme of forcing myself out of my comfort zone, I bit the bullet and decided to sleep here alone. No craziness. Just embracing the fact that people have to do this and why avoid the inevitable? Everyone sleeps alone at some point! Well guess what? I’ve slept here three nights without being murdered! Honestly, there’s probably something weirdly wrong with me and I should go see someone to talk about how scared I am of being attacked by an intruder, but right now I’m going to ignore all that and just celebrate the fact that I’ve successfully given my fear the finger and slept alone in this big ol’ house! The first night I was really anxious and woke up every few hours but since then I’ve been able to sleep all the way through the night. YESSSSSS. I know this is lame but I’m really fucking stoked on it. Even the amount of times I play through all the possible scenarios continues to decrease. I’m such a believer in immersion. If you’re scared, just DO IT. Talking about it isn’t going to get you anywhere and this is proof that it works!
Alright, now that I’ve lost all my cool points (like I ever had any) let’s pretend I faced some way better fear, like swimming with the sharks or learning to swallow swords. Swallow… Ha…