Please enjoy the following story from one of our clients, Cheryl Bailey, owner of Fearless Chix
My Secret Life with Fear
For years, I hid from many around me that I lived with a phobia of heights. I don’t know where this phobia stemmed from, but I learned how to live with it. I was too embarrassed to share with others for fear of being ridiculed. Thus, namely my family knew my fear, and they helped me hide my secret.
About 20 years ago, I met a couple of moms. Each had a son. And, their sons were about the age as my son. We came together through sports and formed a bond. Through our bond we did many things together. Whether it was a movie night, going out to eat, shuffling our kids around, family time together, we spent a lot of time together. I’m not sure when it happened, but one day we took a trip to the local mall. It was during our first mall visit together that they learned I had a hidden secret. I was terrified to ride escalators or walk stairs located in the middle of a mall. My fear of heights stopped me in my tracks even when I thought I was capable. And so, they learned my secret life with fear.
A Secret Well Hidden
My embarrassment of letting people know I had hidden fears, created the platform for me to learn how to mask my reality. I mastered how to maneuver. First, I rarely went to the mall. And, if I did, I rarely went by myself if the mall had more then one level. Typically, I went with one or two family members. My first choice to get from floor to floor at the mall was to use an elevator. If one was not available or close by, I had learned the trick of blending in with the people who were riding the escalator. If I was with family members. One family member would be in my front, while the other family was behind me. With me sandwiched in between the two people, I felt safe. When my girlfriends found out (because by then we had formed a tight bond), they wasted no time in ridiculing me. All in fun, my secret was out. Embarrassed or not, they knew. Through their teasing, it pushed me to look into facing my fears.
The Turning Point
Over the years, I had talked about facing my fears because I was a fan of the television series, “Amazing Race”. Since the show’s inception, I had dreamed of competing in the race with my college best friend as my teammate. My college best friend was probably one of the very few people I felt safe enough to discuss my fears with. And, I talked about it so much, that I finally decided to do something about it.
August 2011, I sent out an email to my closest female friends and family members. I also made a Facebook post. I was going to face my fears with a zip line adventure. On the day of the event, it ended up actually being (2) female friends I had attended high school with and my son. From the parking lot the adventure seemed doable, however when it came my turn the reality of my fear of heights and falling hit me front and center. 20 feet from the ground with the looming tight rope to be walked in order to reach the platform from which I would be zip lining, I literally cried on the platform. The attendant felt so bad for me, he gently guided me back down the ladder safely to the ground.
Do It Scared
My defeat on that day fueled my determination to face my fears, and ultimately became the catalyst for me starting my own community and online community center called Fearless Chix. I went home in search of group therapy sessions for people like myself seeking to face their fears. Through my research, I did not find such a group, however I did learn the best way to face a fear is to actually face it.
Fearless Chix organizes adventures to help individuals face their fears in a controlled environment. The group adventures offer the right mix of support, guidance and fun to step outside of one’s comfort zone. With Fearless Chix you face your fears one adventure at a time.
Come see more of our adventures at fearlesschix.com.