Conquering of fear

Once a month ChicagoNow bloggers all write on the same topic for a blogapalooza. We all get one topic and have an hour to write about it. Tonight's topic:

"Write about fear, or lack thereof, and the role it has played in any aspect of your life."

Fear used to play too big a role in my life. I had to tackle it first in the work place and then in my personal life.

When I was a young teacher I decided to start a Advanced Placement Program at my high school in French. I was really enthused, prepared like crazy and was terrified.

I was really afraid of not being good enough. I was so nervous about my French, my knowledge of the AP test and my pedagogy.fear

The first year I was always waiting for a knock at my classroom door. In my head, I would answer it and some unknown authority figure would say to me, "We know you are a fraud, just come quietly with us and we won't make a big scene."

Fortunately, the knock never came. (Phew!) And I taught each year with more and more confidence, even enough confidence to admit when I didn't know something. Eventually I became a "reader" of French AP exams (grader) and I even taught seminars to other French teachers who wanted to start a program at their school.

One summer I co-taught a workshop with a man who quite frankly, I didn't think was any great shakes in the teaching field. He was good enough, but I felt I was a lot better.

On the first day of the workshop, I told about myself and my first year teaching AP.  I confided in the teachers  my fear of the knock at the door, of being found out a fraud.

All the participants were women and they all shook their heads in agreement. We had a moment where they all cried out how they felt the same way and we were thisclose to a group hug. One of the women asked my male counterpart, What do you have to say about this feeling? He was dumbfounded and replied, "I have never felt that way, I don't even know what you are talking about."

That was a light bulb moment for me. I realized that if this guy with adequate pedagogy at best never even considered this fear then what the heck was I doing worrying? From then on, I had so much more confidence in myself as a teacher and in my career. I wasn't afraid to take risks and was a better teacher because of it. I applied for grants and awards, flew to France alone for seminars, escorted trips with students to multiple countries and if a mistake happened, oh well, I took it in stride. What a wonderful freeing feeling.

bigstock-A-person-draws-the-word-Fear-a-21701174This elimination of fear however, was professional. In my personal life I had an intense fear of regret. This was because I really regretted my first marriage.

When I met my current husband I fell head over heels in love. The man shook my world! We had books in common, movies, restaurants, politics and even the Cubs! But I feared that somehow I would blow it again, that this guy could not possibly be all that I thought he was. I was afraid of making the same mistake again.

He was very patient with me even when I drug my feet on planning a wedding. He knew I had fears and tried to reassure me in every way he could. The breaking point came on the Thursday before our Saturday wedding. I woke him up in the middle of the night and said, "I can't marry you, I am too afraid it won't work out and you'll turn into a bad husband." Probably because he just wanted to get a good night's sleep, he said, "Fine, but let's wait until morning."

Have you noticed things always aren't as grim in the morning?

Luckily, my dear husband realized this and we waited until morning when decided not to call off the wedding. Later he remarked to me that if he had done that to me, told me he couldn't go through with the wedding that I would have been devastated and never forgiven him. And he was right.

When he let me see how destructive my fear was, it really freed me of it.

Since then I have been less and less afraid. Want to try this, go here? Sure, why not? What's the worst that can happen is my new motto.

And this conquering of fear has allowed me to meet new people, try new activities and grow as a person. Have all of them been great, no way! Some have been stinkers! But so what, all I lost was a few hours.

Now if I can just have a similar "Aha" moment that will let me stop worrying about the health and well being of my family,  then my life will really be perfect. But may we all need a little angst in our lives or what we would have to write about?

To wrap this up, listen to a wise man talk about fear.

What else to write about? Quilting, duh! And I will go back to writing about quilting in my next post.

In the meantime, want to see what else I am thinking about? Check out my Facebook page. Like the page cause I've made up some pretty good stuff lately.  If you want to keep reading my blog, you can subscribe. To do so, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. That's all, you're done. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Want to read my other blogapalooza post? Click here for last months.

Filed under: blogapalooza

Tags: blogapalooza, fear

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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