Irrationality and Illusions of Fear…

Fear is a funny old thing… like some kind of vestigial organ that we’ve carried over from primordial times…

The are very few times really in a modern world where we are faced with things that challenge our very survival and existence… but  we have hardwired into us all those fight and flight responses…

Sometimes we get flooded with inappropriate adrenalin…

Rushes and surges of mad and crazy thoughts and emotions that lead us a merry dance we’d much rather not be part of 😀

I know that as a child, I was naturally a fairly fearless free spirited sprite…

I had a nose for excitement and adventure and would disappear at will on wild adventures with whoever I managed to convince to follow me, with no regard for consequences or thoughts of what might happen…

I got into a few close calls… I picked up the occasional scraped knee but mostly I got away scot free, unscathed and unharmed…

I earned myself a few beatings… but I always considered them to be worth it… besides… it was the 70s and if the naughty step had been invented, I’m not sure that it had reached our neck of the woods and even so… who wants a child covered head to toe in cow shit sitting and stinking the place out while they think about what they’ve done and how they really shouldn’t have destroyed their new shoes…

As a child, I was convinced that I was invincible and immortal…

But that changes…

You start to ‘wise up’… you supposedly get smarter…

But… you start listening to all those reasons why you shouldn’t do something and they get out of control!

One of the very worse things I found about pregnancy was what it did to my head… I had perfectly normal and vibrantly healthy pregnancies… but the nearer it got to the end and the closer to the due date… and then horror of horrors… passed the due date…

My imagination would run riot…

I’d make myself practically housebound… terrified to go out alone… gripped by fear…

Imagining the worse case scenario… my mind catastrophising what may happen if I left the house…

Oh… no… I can’t go out… my waters might break…

Ha!!! and then the thoughts would spiral and grow and magnify and exaggerate and story upon story was invented in my mind….

Story after story… wild fictions and in hindsight… rather hilarious… but at the time… epic disasters… too many stories to even try to recall… each one more ludicrous than the last… but all of them ended with me almost on the brink of tears and with a big wobbly pouting lip… and always with this final line…

And then I’ll need to be rescued and there’ll be nowhere for the helicopter to land and I’ll be airlifted out with a human being wiggling out of my nether regions and it’ll be on national news…

Yup… and all it took to trigger that was the thought of walking to the end of the road for a loaf of bread…

And where does that come from? I’ve had only had one accident in all my life that resulted in hospital and even then, it was fairly minor… just a few stitches after flying over the handle bars of a pushbike…

And rationally and statistically… You are far more likely to be injured in an accident in your own house…

I’ve heard it said that Fear = False Emotions Appearing Real…

Yeah… I bought into that for a while… but you know… false/real… it really doesn’t make that much difference…

They are there… and they will affect you…

And when I tried to rationalise my fears… sure they went away…

But then it occurs to me… actually… you don’t always want them to leave… sometimes those trixie pixies are quite useful…

Now… some of you may or may not know… but every so often, I take a foray into the world of stand up…

There are numerous reasons how that came about, but one of them was that I was pretty terrified of public speaking… but not in general… only when I had to stand up and use a microphone…

It scared the living shit out of me…

And it annoyed the hell out of me… because… I talk pretty much all the time… I’ve always been a talker… I’ve chaired groups and meetings and delivered feedback and reports… I speak to strangers all the time… I talk… I talk a lot… And when I am sat down… I think nothing of it…

So… I was most puzzled by this paradox of a talker who gets scared to talk…

Because… why??? you can’t die from talking (mmm… ok…. yeah… maybe you can… depending on what you say and who you say it to… 😀 )but generally… nobody dies from speaking… It is not life or death… It will not kill you…

So… I decided I was going to kick this in the ass…

What is the absolute worse and most extreme scenario you can imagine where you have to stand up and talk…

Ha!!! Stand up!!!

So… I set myself the challenge…

And I’ve done a few gigs now and I’ve learnt a few things and replaced some of those trixie pixies with a few tricks of my own.

One of the first things that surprised me was that everybody who I have met who performs on stage gets nervous… no matter how long they have been doing it… I didn’t realise that as these people had never looked in the slightest bit nervous to me, but always perfectly poised and polished…

Mmmm…

Then it occurs to me that actually… people in the audience… they want to like you… they want to be entertained… and also… they do not want to be stood where you are… they are (on the whole) on your side…

Then I discovered… wow!!! I got nervous… but it makes you sharper and faster and some of my funniest lines have been panic induced off the cuff comments (though don’t tell anyone because… those are the lines that people usually find funniest and ask me after how I wrote it! 😀 )

And actually… it is really quite hard to perform well without that adrenalin…

That I noticed at  my first gig… The first half was pretty terrifying but it felt good and things soon got on a roll… Then you take a break and you relax… and being on stage feeling calm… mmm… that kind of sucks!! you lose the sparkle… Though I accidentally got it back…

The first half had flown by in almost an outer body experience… I was there but not there, it was me but not me but somehow more of me than usual… And in the second half… I felt calm… but then suddenly I found myself in the predicament of being stood in what a few days before had been the reply to my question to myself – What’s the worse thing that can happen?

Yikes… it was happening… or certainly looming… my nightmare imagining was to find myself stood there, with nothing to say and then to be heckled…

Now… Oh… I had stuff to say… or did I? I don’t know!!! I’d had to improvise and gap fill to such an extent in the first half that I thought I’d used all my material and even if I hadn’t… ooops…. I had no idea of what I’d been saying… I paused for a moment which felt to stretch for an eternity… damn… what haven’t I said yet? I scanned across the faces of the audience… shit!!! shit!!! shit!!! Oh! for God’s sake!!! Ah HA!!!! Talk to them! Have a conversation… So I picked a friendly face and started to talk and then a rather mouthy girl starts to chip in and I think…Oh…NO… I’m going to get heckled… I surged with adrenalin and panic and before I knew it, I’d dragged her up on stage and made up her part of my act…

So… FEAR… False Emotions Appearing Real…

Meh… you believe that if you want…

If it works for you, then who am I to knock it…

But me… I like to take Irrationality and Illusions and make them my bitches!

These days… my gigging formula equates to…

FEARFocusing Excitement Achieves Results!

Carpe Noctem

😀

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4 thoughts on “Irrationality and Illusions of Fear…

  1. Awesome Post, I can totally see you doing stand up! And I have to say Thank you, In the 22 years I’ve been talking pregnancy with women you are the first to admit the crazy train of thought that accompanies it! I always felt it was 10x’s worse than any physical pain or discomfort 🙂

    Like

    • LOL Thanks!! OMG!!! Pregnancy crazy brain!!! Ha! Now I think about it… I could probably do a whole stand up gig on that particular brand of hormonal induced insanity! You’ve pretty much got me summed up with… ‘ the first to admit the crazy train of thought that …’
      Yes… I am that person in the room who always says what everybody else thinks but is too polite to say 😀

      Like

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