This question came up recently in a conversation. I was surprised I didn’t have to think too hard for an answer. Perhaps because I have thought about this particular question often enough in the past. Or maybe I engage in ample metacognition to be able to piece together an answer at a short notice.
Regardless, the answer I gave during the conversation was incomplete, I realise now. So I am going to provide a full answer here.
There are two things that scare me the most - one physical, the other psychological.
My #1 physical fear is a debilitating injury. A stroke, an amputation, a haemorrhage, the sorts. Why? I have built my mental health around my physical health. The two are strongly intertwined - my physical health is how I improve and maintain my mental health. I can imagine how depressed and annoying I would become if I were to deviate from my idea of good physical health. I don’t want that.
My #1 psychological fear is creating a perception of my character in someone’s mind and not living up to it. Call it the fear of getting cancelled over a misunderstanding. I am a feminist. I care for the environment. I want to build an equitable welfare state. But I am not perfect. So I might do things that do not fit the archetype I portray. And I don’t want that conflict to become a matter of conversation because I feel that I’d be in an indefensible position. Funnily enough, this fear holds (strongly) true only for a subset of people - colleagues, acquaintances and the like. For everybody else, it doesn’t matter because either they do not know me enough or they know too much about me.
I could try probing this further and arrive at some plausible reasoning. Perhaps my fear of debilitating injury comes from watching my own father deal with one. Perhaps my fear of getting cancelled stems from a desire to be appreciated and talked about as a nice guy.
But that doesn’t matter to me. I maintain that an explanation is not a solution. (Y’all therapy nerds can get mad at me, I don’t care)1
But what about those usual fears? Let’s look at a list of most common triggers of fear I found on Wikipedia and I’ll tell you whether they trigger a fear response in me or not -
- The paranormal: ❌
- Enclosed spaces: ❌
- Cockroaches, spiders, insects: ❌
- Snakes: ✅
- Failure, social rejection: ❌
- Examinations: ❌
- Public speaking: ❌
- Fear of the unknown: ❌
- Death: ❌
So uh… don’t be bringing any snakes near me. Lizards are okay but from afar.
I’ll be honest, it does feel pretty good to not get an anxiety attack over all these things that tend to plague my generation - career, responsibility, the unknown. Was it always this way? Nope. How did it get this way? I can’t quite say. I’ll think about it and maybe I’ll write it down in another post.
What do you reckon? Send me an email or a text message!
more on this in the future ↩︎
Last modified: Jan 07, 2022