Friday, April 29, 2011

Fairy Tales and Fear

I've always been one to appreciate a good fairy tale, especially romantic ones.  It's nice to indulge in a little fantasy.  In fact by the time you read this I will have been indulging in the Royal Wedding television coverage for approximately 4 hours.  To me, that wedding is like a fairy tale come to life and I can't wait to see it!

The problem with fairy tales is that they are a romanticized version of truth.  Reality is a much different world than the world of a fantastical fairy tale.

Fear on the other hand can be both fantasy and reality.  Healthy fear is good.  It's a great tool in and of itself in that it can cause us to have respect for things that might harm us.   In that way, it is like reality.  Irrational fear though is more like a fairy tale.  It is nothing like the truth.

The fact is that as I age, and especially after the rash of deaths that I went through from April of 2009 to June of 2010, I have found myself to be much more fearful than I should be.  In some ways, those deaths, even the ultimately "expected" death of my sister-in-law caused a shift in my thinking and I have found myself without confidence and positively fearful.

I spent most of yesterday whipping myself into a frenzy over my possible Muay Thai test.  It truly was awful and even now I cannot put my finger on what caused this.  The people who read this blog had some great insight and as I looked at the comments on Wednesday's post, I could see validity in so many of the ideas presented.  Yes, there was fear of failure and of exposure, there was fear of not doing things perfectly and perhaps embarrassing and disappointing both myself and Sensei Mr. Helen, there was fear of the unknown because the testing protocols are changing.  Mid-day I had an email exchange with Janell and told her I still didn't know what I was going to do.  (Her return email to me which said, "I totally get what you're saying.....  I'll bet they are serious as shit." made me whoop with laughter, which I desperately needed!)

So, I arrived home practically paralyzed and dove into something comforting to me:  cooking.  I made Strawberry and Cream muffins to eat while sipping tea and watching the wedding.

That process calmed me down enough that I was able to think more clearly and I made a deal with myself.  That I would stare this fear in the face - and if in some way I failed miserably, I would no longer put myself through this.  Because, you know, sometimes it is true that you have to face the fear.

The reality?  It was nothing like the fairy tale I had created in my mind.  Nothing at all. Not even the sparring managed to shake me.

In the end, I KICKED the fear out of my mind... at least for that moment

And I gratefully received my new belt to move on towards whatever fear I need to face down next.


  1. Woo Hoo! Or whatever you martial artists say. Congratulations, Helen. You rock! And kick.

  2. Ooooh, I scared of you, Helen!!!! :)

    Congrats!! What a wonderful accomplishment!

  3. Love seeing you kickin' ass Helen! Absolutely fantastic :)
    And Happy early Anniversary!! Hope you two have a wonderful night (whatever you are planning on doing).
    ttyl when I get back....

  4. You are one fierce woman! Congratulations on kicking some major ass,and your fear along with it!!!

  5. HUGE Congrats on feeling the fear and doing it anyway! That is the bigger accomplishment!!

  6. This is fantastic news! I'm proud you were able to move thru that fear and get on with your life. I think fear is a lot like grief. We have to actually move through it, cross the bridge (so to speak) to achieve the growth (aka pain) and once on the other side, we can enjoy strawberry and cream muffins and appreciate a good fantasy because we've done what we needed to do to reach the muffin point.

    From the photos, it looks like those folks were real serious. I would not mind sparring with someone a bit. ;-)

  7. Atta girl Helen!!!!!! Congratulations!!!!! You are an inspiration!!!!
    (and you aren't alone - I'm completely caught up in the royal wedding too!)

  8. You look so totally badass! I love it!

  9. This post made my day Helen!! So proud of you for saying FU to the fear and just doing it - now if you put your mind to it, you can do anything!! :D


    Have a great weekend. :D

  10. Good for you! Maybe just airing your fear on the blog helped you to begin to deconstruct it. You did in fact look fierce. Well done, oh fearless warrior.

  11. You did it! What an inspiration you are Helen! You are so brave and yes indeed you did look fierce!

    Mr.Helen must have been so proud of you and most importantly you must be so proud.

  12. You are the most bad-ass, kick-ass woman I know. AWESOME.

  13. Oh Helen I'm so proud of you! You look fantastic in the pics. Congrats girl!

    I've been watching the royal wedding too and loved every minute of it. She's almost as cute as our Princess Maxima.

  14. Wow Helen, that is awesome! Is it wrong that I am more impressed by your baking ability than by your fighting prowess? Just kidding. But those muffins are seriously delicious looking. And I do have some fresh strawberries in the fridge. Could you share the recipe?

  15. you are such a badass hardcore ATHLETE!!!

    My daughter has taken karate since she was 3.
    Im hoping she sticks with martial arts and grows to be, well, YOU!!