Lately I've been thinking a lot about the concept of fear. Where does it come from? How can we overcome it? Does it, really, define us and our chosen paths in the end?
Because Matt and I have been regularly traveling long distances throughout our road trip, we've gotten into the habit of grabbing our iPhones, downloading a podcast and listening to it to pass the time. After hungrily consuming both seasons of Serial as we made our way from Texas to Montana (see dispatches 1, 2, 3 and 4), we've latched onto the NPR-produced Invisibilia, which holds a microscope over the invisible forces that control human behavior. (If you're into podcasts and you haven't heard of this one yet, do yourself a favor and give it a listen.)
This, as you would imagine, includes fear.
For me (and for Matt, too), so much of this trip has been about overcoming fears. Virtually every day we're put in situations that we've never had to handle before, experience things for the first time and document it all for the world to see. There's a lot of pressure on us to say yes to everything, both internally and externally, as we try to be good ambassadors for LifeProof.
Take the cliff jumping as just one of a dozen examples: It may not look all that high, but standing atop that ledge and looking down at the water below, it's as if you're 100 feet up. Matt and I agreed that we were nervous to jump but swore that we'd do it. Step after step I approached the ledge. A crowd forming below meant that every head was cocked my way, that every set of eyes was on me. I could hear the blood pounding in my ears as I willed myself to jump. Nothing. For a solid minute-and-a-half I stood there fighting with the paralyzing fear of what might happen if I flung myself off the edge.
Voices behind me shouted "Don't think about it!" and "Just do it!", but I couldn't. Every bone in my body resisted. But, eventually, I had to "turn off" that fight-or-flight response so deeply ingrained in our human selves. Sometimes it's not about what scares you in life; it's not about the what-ifs and could-happens. Rather, it's up to you as an individual to frame the world and the opportunities it presents in such a way for you to overcome, to grow and to move on.
So that's what I did.
Inhale. Exhale. I leapt.