Ah, Halloween. That wondrous time of year filled with awestruck children, enough candy to permanently ruin your digestive track, and the world’s tiniest sexy nurse outfits. I’ve never been much of a Halloween person myself. Too much chance for vandalism or getting hit on by a guy dressed like Snooki for my tastes. But there is one thing I love: scary movies.
Let me be clear, gross movies are not my dig. If Saw 1-78 had never been made, the world would probably be a slightly shinier place, but I can’t seem to stay away from a good psychological horror flick. I didn’t sleep well for two weeks after seeing Paranormal Activity and yet I ran back to watch 2-4. Twisted.
I have always wondered where my interest came from. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase “But you’re such a nice girl…” and I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly interested in the macabre, but I love the tiny thrill of watching a solid ghost movie. Are gremlins in my house? Sweet, I’ll get over the nightmares! Is there a demon in my attic? Probably no room with the monstrosity of an AC unit I’m rocking, but I’ll let you know.
Which leads me to my question: What is the role that fear plays in our lives?
It obviously exists for a good reason. I mean, besides keeping us from nonstop bungee jumping, which frankly just doesn’t look safe. Fear makes us hesitate, think, question, and assess a situation. It also makes us miss opportunities to learn, stay stagnant, and lose loved ones. Ouch.
So how do we find that healthy balance? How do we recognize the good fear that keeps us from unsafe situations and separate it from the paralyzing kind, the kind where you won’t call your mother because you’re afraid she’ll judge you.
I actually wouldn’t suggest my scary movie method. You’ll never get some of the scenes from The Shining out of your head, trust me. But yoga maybe, now there’s something. I can’t tell you how many times in class I’ve thought “Oh hells to the no” when I was asked to lift one foot or maybe a hand. The simple act of flipping over can be terrifying if done while off-balance, which is the very reason you should at least consider it.
Consistently testing your fear in small, repetitive ways can teach you to recognize when to ignore it and when to listen without too many consequences. I’ve face planted in crow pose and lived to tell the tale, but I’ve also pulled a ligament in my knee from not listening to a small voice in my head telling me to take it easy. Learning where the line is between over-protective and cautious will change your approach to life, it will open up doors and close windows you shouldn’t have been looking out of in the first place.
Maybe yoga isn’t your thing. Perhaps try a new hobby, an acting class, calling someone with an apology… Whatever makes your heart race just a tiny bit faster. After all, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.
And, you know, whatever else is lurking outside in your bushes.
– Meg Weathers, RYT 200 Hr