Being scared as a call to action

Often when I’m scared of doing something the fear acts as a strange signal to me that the very thing I’m scared of is, in fact, something that I need to do.  I don’t know when exactly this behavior pattern started, but I do remember the first time I noticed it, which was when LJ decided that for her 30th birthday she wanted to go skydiving.

Now, I love roller coasters, but I’ve never liked plummeting part, just the loops and roles and twists.  Therefore, jumping out of a plane had always seemed like all the worst parts of roller coaster rides without any of the good parts, yet when LJ said it, I felt compelled to do it.  Upon examining further this seemingly oxymoronic behavior. I realized that I’d been acting this way for quite a while, but that as I grew older — and more determined to continue to grow and challenge myself and not become a fossilized old poop — the drive has become even stronger.

This afternoon there was .

Over the past few months my neighborhood has had multiple break-ins… all in the middle of the day, all with vandalism and theft, and all towards the middle of the month.  Some folks in the neighborhood have gotten in touch with the Police Department and they’ve told us some of the things to be aware of, including cars parked in front of people’s houses that don’t look like they belong there.

This afternoon, I was taking my brother’s Christmas package down to the mailbox (only about a week late — not bad!) when I noticed a white van parked in front of my neighbor’s house.

Having set the package down at the base of the mailbox (I love being able to print out shipping labels online!), I turned back around to head into the house, thinking to myself “Well, it’s probably OK.  I shouldn’t worry about it.”  I hadn’t gone three steps before I turned, shaking my head and realizing that I couldn’t just walk away from it, even though the prospect of confronting potential burglars was more than a little scary.

So, I hollered out to the man standing within the open doors of the van “Are you finding everything okay?  Is there anything I can help you with?”

He didn’t respond.

Needless to say, this worried me a little… if he were the criminal sort, he might be hoping that I didn’t see him or that perhaps I would just go away.  More fear.  More very nearly turning around and heading back into the house.  More realizing that the fact that I didn’t want to go talk to him probably meant that I needed to.

So walked over to the van and asked him directly if there was anything I could help him find.  He looked at me, quite confused, and said “No,that’s ok, she’s home” at about the same time I hear my neighbor calling from around the back of the house “It’s okay, it’s okay.”

It was okay.  He was legitimately there to repair something, so I apologized to him, explaining why I’d asked.  My neighbor then thanked me profusely for bothering to check.  We talked about the break-ins for a little bit and exchanged telephone numbers in case either of us saw something odd over the holidays.

I walked away feeling an odd combination of brave and somewhat stupid.  On the one hand, I’m glad I’m taking chances and doing what I believe is right.

On the other hand, one of these days, I might end up dead.

(hm.  I suppose that’s pretty much a given anyway)

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4 thoughts on “Being scared as a call to action

  1. Will you be my neighbor? I don’t even know my neighbor’s last names, or what they look like for some… I keep thinking about getting some kind of security alarm, but there are so many to choose from.

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