Tackling Fear and Touching on the Complexity of Life

Cupcakes by Jennifer Sando

Photo by Jennifer Sando

Action cures fear, inaction creates terror.
—Douglas Horton

The first chapter of the landmark book, The Road Less Travelled, explores the theory that life is a series of problems that we need to solve, and the sooner that we accept this then the happier we will be.

Since I took my blog in a new direction and began writing with my worldview in mind, I have begun to see similar thought patterns about old fears resurfacing, or new fears setting in, and that these need to be confronted, and (ideally) conquered.

In light of this, here’s a recent event that I’d like to share.

My eldest son (he’s nine) and I were at a school’s car boot sale and there was a cupcake stall on the grounds. My boy wanted a cupcake. I took out some money, handed it to him and asked that he buy two.

He looked mortified.

I don’t want to ask, he began, can you do it for me?

Now, this had come up before. If my son doesn’t know someone well, he gets funny about approaching them to ask a question. (It wasn’t an issue for him when he was younger.) Not that long ago, we were at the library and he was reluctant to enquire about a book with the librarian.

In the past, I have asked for him half of the time.

At the car boot sale, remembering the mission to conquer fears and solve problems, I told him that he needed to be the one that asked.

But I can’t, he said.

He wouldn’t let me put my money back in my purse, yet he couldn’t give in to the task either. For a few minutes, we stood there in a kind of limbo state because he wouldn’t commit.

I remember having some totally irrational fears when I was a kid (there was one time I had a fear of swallowing food—nope, not kidding), but at the time it was happening, that fear was larger than life and ruled my state of mind.

I told him that I would go with him to the stall, though I don’t remember what I said exactly that finally got him there with me. (Something like: they’re selling cupcakes, they want our money and it’s not like we are asking them for a pony, rather.)

We approached the cupcake stand. I said hello. My boy held the money, and when the girl asked what we would like, I looked at my son with my eyebrows raised.

Can I please have two cupcakes, his little voice sounded.

He did it. Such a small task, but I was still proud.

I knew of a relationship where the husband had a fear of speaking to shop staff and had to ask his then-wife to shop and go through the checkout for him. This was in the back of my mind when my kid was trying to get me to buy the cupcake. I had let my imagination run wild, I know; I just didn’t want my kid to be sixty-three and refusing to leave the house to shop because he needed to avoid dealing with people.

We ate the cupcakes on the way home. The icing was sickly sweet.

Sometimes, we solve a problem and it feels like only a moment passes before the next problem arises. It’s easy to get into the mindset of: what’s the point of continual drama? I think this happens when we don’t feel or recognise how we are developing personally; when we aren’t realising what there is to learn from each challenge.

If you stay ready for challenges, which probably requires a lifestyle adjustment—perhaps a more stoic approach (easier said than done if you’re an emotional person like I am), then you’ll enjoy and appreciate life’s offerings more, especially the icing.

Have you begun your year with trying to tackle a fear too?

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About Jennifer Sando

I am a writer and photographer, and author of the book, Picture In A Frame.

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2 Replies

  1. I’m tackling lots of fears with my new business, every day is a learning curve & stepping out of my comfort zone. Great post!

    1. Hi Katie, thanks for reading. Glad to hear it – hope your new business is going well!

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