Many people in the world have phobias, things/places that they are scared of beyond belief. For example, many people have a fear of spiders otherwise known as arachnophobia.
I had some phobias before in my younger years. I was deathly afraid of spiders and heights. However I would always say “No, I’m not afraid. Are you!?” to seem manly to my friends. This never changed the fact that when I was at home by myself and saw a spider next to me, I would go to the other room, not killing it but just leaving it alone. Also, whenever presented with opportunities that involved heights like a rock wall, I did not back down. This situation was a little different. I would start the challenge but then realize how far I was from the ground, obviously not following the common advise “Don’t look down”, and freaking out while hanging on the side of a wall. Undoubtedly, I would let go or slip and return to the sweet ground once again.
Through my life I have been heavily involved with Boy Scouts. I started when I was 7 as a TIger Cub and am now an Eagle Scout with 4 Eagle Palms; I have spent many years in Scouting. Through these years, many of them have been spent in the woods with no electronics. You will be surprised how your body changes when it realizes you have no niceties anymore. You will begin to avoid things that normally you would try hard to get like Oreos for example. Instead, you begin to crave the main meal like lasagna because you need the nutrients. Along with your body adapting comes overcoming fears, one of them being insects of all kinds. Since you are living in very close vicinity with every insect known to man, you must become very comfortable dealing with their presence in a calm fashion, otherwise you get made fun of. As you would expect spiders were included in the insect category and I have had many run ins with these creatures. I remember one time in particular where I realized that I had to overcome my fear of spiders. My friend was more afraid of spiders than I was and there was a black widow on the roof of his tent, right over where he was sleeping. That would freak out anyone but the fact still remained that we needed to remove it so we could continue sleeping. No one else was up so it left me to deal with the nuisance. I was so inclined to wake up a leader to do it for me but the amount of alarm that would raise at 3 am would be all on my shoulders and I did not want that. So I took my Pringles can and proceeded to whack the spider multiple times until it was dead. I felt bad that I killed it but I also felt vindicated that I overcame my fear.
Recently I overcame my fear of heights. My friend called me from back home and asked if I would like to celebrate his 18th birthday with him. Since we were really close friends I obviously said sure. He told me he was skydiving and would come pick me up so we can do so on a specific weekend. The height I knew I would be at was frightening but two things made me say yes. The first being that if I said I was too scared he would definitely hold that over me for a long time. The second being that I heard skydiving was one of the most exhilarating things ever to be done. So I said yes and that weekend came up and we both went to the skydiving center. He even got a package where we went an extra 3,000 ft higher so we could have more free fall. Retrospectively, I am so glad he did. That was the best experience of my life. Now I look at heights a different way. Instead of being scared, I think that if I fall, I will die quickly so I don’t worry about pain or anything.
Matthew Zackschewski – mgz5020