There's not much that scares me in life*. I have a very simple philosophy – if there is a problem, deal with it. Take some form of action. And if you can't directly control it, don't worry about it too much.
Needles used to scare me into insensibility; now, not so much but they still put the shits up me. A phlebotomist described it as an irrational fear, but that's not really true. Needles had never bothered me until I was 16, and had to have an injection between my toes. That, Fact Fans, is fucking hideous. And I had to have it twice more at later dates, knowing what was coming. Fuck. That. Shit.
So there's what you might call a clear path for that particular fear.
What else? Well, bikling does actually worry me. Back in the day, when I was about... 28, I think, I used to cycle to work. Initially, this was 3-4 miles-ish. Later, it became just shy of 10 very hilly miles, so a little under 100 miles a working week. I had to drink a lot to stay fat then, believe me. Total dedication.
On the first route, an elderly driver decided that because he had indicated, he had right of way, and so turned across my path. It was on a very steep hill, I was coming down it. I wasn't doing more than about 20mph, as there were bus stops and speed bumps, and I could not go around the back of his car as there was another vehicle behind him. I almost missed him but clipped the back bumper, left the bike, and went flying down the hill. Which was steep enough that when I landed, I did so on my feet. I caught a leg on the car as I went over it, but that was all. I was basically unhurt, but for a big dent in the muscle that runs alongside the shin (another disproportionately large muscle on me, and I suspect that here it kept my leg from being more seriously hurt as it kept the collision away from the bone).
On the second route, on a bright sunny morning where I was wearing a white hoody, another driver turned right across the front of me. This time I went over the bonnet, managed to clear it except brushing my arm across those things that squirt water on the windscreen. Weirdly, that left a tiny scar for many years. Again, I was basically unhurt but this time, my bike didn't make it.
So there's some residual fear/worry about cycling that I just need to step into the face of, meet its eyes and say, "Hi. I'm badgerdaddy. Is there anything you would like to say to me?"**
I'm also, and this will sound stupid, worried about who I am. We define so much of ourselves by our fears and our habits, that to be facing fears for me leads me down a path of wondering who I might be at the end of it – or more realistically, if there is indeed an end or if I may have found a path of personal evolution that I can barrel down instead of living within zones of comfort or fear.
I have defined myself in the past with alcohol. Not consciously, but if I was away with work, I would find a bar, take a book and settle in. Same at home, frequently. More frequently in the last 10 years. I have a couple of million great stories that start with, "I was in this pub..." or "I was fucking shitfaced when..." I have not had a drink in four months. Four months today, actually, was my 'official' not drinking date, though I had not had any alcohol for a few days before that. But I think as animals, we need our arbitrary lines, and that's mine.
Who am I? I've not really got any idea at the moment. Not in a mid-life crisis stylee, but in a curious way. What defines me? Well, I know that fear doesn't. My most basic credo is that we choose out of two things every day, and in almost every decision: fear or love. I do my best to make the right choice every day. I don't always succeed. So does love define me? I hope it's a part of the package. I guess we'll find out on this journey, because if there is one thing endurance training has taught me, it's that you will find out exactly what you are made of at some point on the way.
*Beards of bees.
**"Nothing? Then get the fuck out."