Take a Bite out of Your Fear

The movie, Love at First Bite, came out when I was in the fourth grade. The movie is a comedy, starring the perpetually tanned George Hamilton as a love-struck vampire. There was really nothing truly scary about it. Except to me. Even seeing the trailer on TV was enough to give me terrible nightmares. Anything horror-related or containing monsters (Frankenstein, Dracula, evil scientists) gave me such terrible scary dreams.

I understood the monsters were actors playing make-believe, but my fear was so real, I couldn't rise above the fantasy. Even today, I don't watch any horror movies, or any subject matter that is particularly upsetting-like intense thrillers, or movies about home invasions, betrayals, etc. Some of my friends tell me they like watching these things-they like to be scared. I can get that feeling every morning getting on the scale; I don't need to put myself through fits of horror as a leisure activity.

Looking back, it's hard to imagine hunky, albeit orange, George Hamilton scaring me. And that's probably true of most of our fears.

Single women (and men, I'm sure) have fears related to being alone, ending up alone, living alone, dying alone. Married women's fears tend to revolve around their families: afraid something will happen to the kids; afraid something will happen to them and nobody will take care of their kids; fear that her husband will leave; fear that he won't and she'll be stuck in this life forever; fear the kids are going to leave or that they'll never leave. It's safe to say that everybody has fears.

One of the triggers for my fear has always been the holidays. Holidays are about family, and since I don't have my own family (husband, kids, etc.), I always looked to my dad and brother to help me feel okay during the holidays.

Last year, they did help me feel a lot at Thanksgiving, but the feelings were anxiety, anger, depression, and bitterness.

Actually, last Christmas was the first holiday I've spent "alone" in years. My good friend invited me to spend Christmas with her and her family, and it was absolutely the best Christmas I've had.

When I considered the possibility that maybe a holiday without family would be okay, I learned that (in my case) it's actually better than okay-it's great!

I used to get very keyed up over where I would spend the holidays-could I avoid my mother, spend time with my father without feeling like an afterthought, or be lucky enough to win some of my brother's free time? This year-for the first time EVER-I am actually PLANNING holidays sans family. And looking forward to it.

However, I do still have some fears related to my family-free holidays: the top fears are (1) What if there's a hurricane in Cancun when I'm there for Thanksgiving? (2) What if going to Paris for Christmas doesn't work out because of the European debt crisis? (Also, I don't want to be cold, and isn't Paris freezing in December?)

Maybe planning a solo holiday is too much for you to take on. Try tackling a smaller fear like eating lunch or dinner alone in a restaurant.

I'm never afraid to go out to eat alone. I've traveled alone on business for so many years, that eating alone just doesn't faze me. And, when I eat alone, I usually meet interesting people to chat with that I'd never meet if I had a dinner companion.

I've had women react with shock when I tell them I vacationed in Mazatlan alone this summer. Guess what-I'd rather go to Mazatlan, Paris, New York, Cancun, or anywhere else in this world I can go ALONE, rather than sit home and miss out because I'm afraid. And, afraid of what? That people will think I'm weird? They already think that, so I may as well go enjoy the world.

Come on. Take on one fear. Go to that fitness class that intimidates you. Go eat by yourself. Take yourself to a movie on a Friday or Saturday night. Fly to Paris. Stare that self-tanning vampire right in the face and suddenly he won't be so scary.

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