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Libris Craft
Level 5: 851 points
Last Logged In: September 11th, 2013
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Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) by Libris Craft

August 2nd, 2012 4:50 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Do one thing every day that scares you, for (at least) one week.

Fear is subjective. The fears I would be facing were not the rockstar fears. I'm not afraid of heights, or flying, or even death (dying sounds like a nasty process, but I wouldn't say I'm afraid of it).

No, I would be facing the fears of things I didn't want to do. Things that I put off doing, worried about in the back of my mind, projects that (for one reason or another) scared me enough that I refused to start them.

Monday: The Ending of an Era

I've been avoiding this for almost two months. My work and life have shifted, and I have to say goodbye to a thing (and group of people) that I love. I wanted to make it official (rather than just falling off the face of the earth), but the thought of writing the letter terrified me.

But I wrote it anyway. I kept it short, and to the point. I told the group how much I had valued our time together, and sent wishes of future success and joy to each one of them.

I drafted it in a word processing program, then pasted it into an email sent directly to each member of the group. Then, I posted it on the group Facebook page, and removed myself as an administrator.

When it was done, I felt numb, in shock. It was over.

So, since I was already in shock, I did an even more terrifying thing: I wrote a break-up letter.

A friend break-up letter. I had to say that a friendship of many years standing was done. And we know it was coming, and that even with the best of intentions, sometimes it hurts too much to stay in touch. So I wrote the letter, wishing her luck in all things, and thanking her for the time we had together. And I pressed the send button, as my hand shook.

I removed her from lists, put up an email filter (named "Bubbles!", because something about the whole damned process should make me smile), blocked access to online projects, and cleaned digital house.

And now, I'm sitting here, staring at the owl she gave me, and wondering if I can bear to leave it on my desk, or of it would hurt more to lock it away. For now, the owl stays. Sometimes love hurts, but throwing it away would hurt more.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 2

Tuesday: Haircut and Money is Scary


This is a little bit of an odd one. I don't mind the process of getting my hair cut, but the trauma of having a bad haircut makes it hard, especially as the lovely gal I used to go to is on the other end of town, so I can hardly ever get in to see her. And my hair is still all weird from the adventures in bleach back in October.

So I decided to find someone closer to me. And I did some research, and found a place nearby, that was not out of my budget, and made an appointment. Which was actually the first victory: I hate needing to make appointments for things that feel indulgent (like getting my hair cut). So, I made the appointment on Monday, but since it was actually set-up for this fear, I think it counts for Tuesday as well.

I pulled myself out of bed (much earlier than I would have liked) and headed off to my hair appointment. I remind myself that I have money in my pocket. I remind myself that if can even afford to get my hair redone if I hate the way the new stylist cuts it. The hair salon is in a plaza I know well, so at least I don't need to worry about getting lost.

I park the car, and walk up to the front door. Inside, it is quiet in the way that a very busy place is first thing in the morning. The receptionist offers coffee, and I decline. My stylist is ready for me, so I sit down. She asks me what I want. I stammer for a while, and she smiles at me. I desperately hope she understood my ramblings. She starts in the back, and I can't see what she is doing, since I'm blind without my glasses. I must trust that she can do something with the tousled mess my hair has become. We talk about her daughters, and about my job, and I don't worry when she trims near my ears. I am surprisingly calm. She runs the comb through my hair, and asks what I think. I put my glasses back on. It is good. Clean, strong lines, without the annoying flip that had prompted this excursion. I thank her, leave a tip on the chair, pay my bill, and walk out. The wind moves my shortened hair. I have my haircut.


I am in a place (for the first time in my life) where I have enough money to pay the bills, with some fun money leftover. So we planned a trip, out of town. And I budgeted, and booked the tickets and hotel. But for the past month, the idea of going out of town and spending money has terrified me. I was avoiding looking at my account balance (even though I know what it would say: everything is fine!) and avoided scheduling the monthly bills I pay online. This was definitely an irrational fear, but I couldn't bring myself to look. So today, I did. I scheduled all the bills that needed to be paid, double checked my math (yes, plenty of money for the trip), got cash from the bank for traveling, and paid to have my hair cut.

The To-Do List:
I keep a list of all the tasks for work on a white legal pad. Certain items have lingered on the pages for over a month. This task inspired me to attack something I did not want to work on: re-doing a flyer explaining what our department offers. The original is a half page of yellow paper, with ten point font. I am determined to make this better...

Problems with the current flyer:
There is a lot of information about our services, but most of it is not USEFUL information.
The font is tiny, and the layout is cramped.
There is no way to tell HOW to request any of the services.
Contact Information has changed.
Some services we offer are not profiled.

No wonder I don't want to work on this!

Also: new corporate branding, and I can't seem to find the logo and color guides on the website. So I can't even work on this today!
I will email the supervisor for branding information, and try again tomorrow.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 2 (and a half?)

Wednesday: The Hall Closet, and Flyer: part 2

The hall closet has always been a mess. Something about the layout, and the doors that try to fall off the track mean that nothing has ever been done about it. Before I could start packing, I needed to get my suitcase out.

I'd been avoiding it, coming up with many excuses to put it off. But in the spirit of this task, I decided to tackle it. I had an old dresser that I planned to stick in the closet to organize the sheets (which are one of the worst offenders in the things-that-like-to-leap-out-of-the-closet category. I neglected to take photos (often a downfall in these things for me) but I pulled most things out of the closet (finding ancient artifacts and sunken cities in its depths), and rearranged wildly. In the end, I had my suitcase, a box full of things that needed to go somewhere else, and a MUCH less booby-trapped closet.

Secretaries know everything. Don't ask the people who should know, ask the secretaries of the people who should know, and all branding information will come to you. Yes, I solved the branding problem, and the layout problem too.

My beautiful, informative flyer only needed the approval of my co-worker, and it was done.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 2

Thursday: Leave it undone

I arrive in the morning, and ask my co-worker to look at the flyer, just to proof it so that it could be done before I left on Friday. No.

She will not proof it, and anyway, why was I working on this anyway? She has too many things to do! And she already did this flyer. And the department shouldn't have asked me for a flyer anyway! And we are working at cross-purposes! and there are too many IMPORTANT things to be done!

So, I let it go. Sometimes, fighting the good fight isn't worth it, and it just isn't worth chewing one's way out of the straightjacket.

I hate leaving things undone. This was the last thing I had resolved to finish before I left town, and now... I can't.
But this isn't really a fear.

Traveling with Anxiety

The fear came later, as I sat crying with fear that the people I was taking my awesome trip with would hate me at the end of it. Traveling is hard for me: I am a creature of routines and knowing where things are. I have traveled a lot, which doesn't actually make it better, just more familiar.

And traveling WITH people? On a trip I put together? What if something goes wrong? Will they hate me? And something always goes wrong. And I made plans, but maybe they are the wrong plans, and maybe they will hate me for that, too. And food! What if we can't find food? Or the hotel could kick us out, or there could be a horrible disaster, and EVERYONE will hate me, and decide not to travel with me ever again.

My travel partners are calm, and talk sweetly to me, and convince me that even if the Metropolitan Museum of Art is taken over by terrorists, it will be ok. So off to bed, and tomorrow, we leave.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 1

Friday: That's Me in Atlanta: That's Me in the Airport, Missing my Plane

We nearly don't wake up to go to the airport. I set the alarm to the correct time, but failed to turn it ON (yes, I'm very smart). Luckily, Sir J wakes up, and checks the clock only 17 minutes after we should have woken up. So there is much rushing around, and I promise to buy coffee for everyone at the airport, and we make it there on time. And through security. And onto the plane, and we take off. I love flying, especially takeoff.

And I'm looking at our boarding passes for the next section of our flight, and realize that we only have 30 minutes to make it to the next gate in Atlanta. This makes me nervous, but I can't do a darn thing about it, so I wait. And we land in Atlanta. And they don't seem to have a gate for us. So we sit. And sit. And sit. And finally we get off loaded, and we run to the other gate, and... the plane has finished boarding, and our seats were given to standby passengers.

Speaking of standbys... turns out there are over 50 for the flight to NYC. Joy. And now we have joined their number. And to make it worse, two of us are on one reservation, while the Sir J. got his own ticket. But we can't leave him! So we wait. And wait. And wait. What if we can't get a flight? What if we miss dinner with my family? What if we are stuck forever in Atlanta?

Finally, they start calling standbys. They call me, and I grab the rest of our party, and insist that we need to fly together, or wait for the next flight. They find room, and we get to NYC.

Times Square
When we first started thinking about going to New York, the one thing I didn't want to do was to go to Times Square. I hate the lights, and all the people, and it makes me feel like I can't think. So I was firm. We were not going to Times Square. I didn't want to, and we were not going.

As much as I don't like to admit it, my memories of the last time I was in Times Square had me scared to ever go there again. The lights, and the people, and the sheer vertical-ness of the buildings had freaked me out so much that I had refused to leave the apartment the next day: I was way too overwhelmed.

And then, we did. See, my extended family, who we did manage to meet for dinner, love Times Square. They wanted to show it to me. So, we went. I admit, I was thinking about this task when I did it. The lights were less horrible than I remembered, and since it was still wet and chilly from the rain, there were less people than normal. So I survived. And then rewarded myself with epic cake from a little coffee shop we found when we got back to the hotel.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 2

Saturday: Making 42 Second Friends

Ever since I read the task description, I wanted to do this task. But, I live in a mid-sized town with only barely functioning public transportation, I decided to do it while I was in New York.

But being a small town sort of gal, I had second thoughts. I would have to break the edict of not talking to strangers, and talking to them on public transportation (which makes me nervous, anyway, because we might miss our stop, and be lost forever), which is a faux pas in big cities, from what I can tell.

And many people were in their own little worlds, reading, or listening to music, and I didn't want to intrude, or be rude. And sometimes the trains (or buses) were so crowded that it would not really be possible to take a picture without including people who didn't want to have their pictures taken.

I was starting to understand the challenge of this task. So, I had let one full day (and most of the second) elapse of my time to do this task. I made a list of conditions needed to be able to complete this task.
A) some room to move it, i.e. no packed subways.
B) targets would not be reading or listening to music.
C) I would make eye contact, and then ask.

As related in my completed task:

I managed to make some friends, and it was awesome.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 1

Sunday: Separate the party (Once, twice, three times)

During the New York trip, I often was heard to exclaim "Don't separate the party!" Losing people, especially in big cities is a huge fear of mine. But it was becoming more and more clear (especially in light of my bad knee yelling at me) that separating would need to happen, at least sometimes.

The first time this happened (on Saturday, mostly by accident), it was a disaster. We didn't set up a rendezvous point, nor a time, so I had to hunt frantically all over The Cloisters to find the rest of the party.

So, at the Met. on Sunday, we needed to split the party. One person wanted to go the the gift shop, one to the Greek wing, and one to the Egyptian wing, and then the gift shop. We set up a meeting point: front steps, side by the hot dog seller, and a time (3:30 pm), and heart in my mouth, we separated.

I, and Sir J met at the correct time and place, but we were missing our third party member! And we were waiting for two more friends, who had agreed to meet up with us to get food at the same time and place. We waited for a few minutes, before I sent Sir J in search of the lost. I, like a good girl scout, stayed right where I was. I would hold this point until everyone had gathered here. So I watched pigeons, dreaming of pigeon tagging (my pigeon tagging urges had been vetoed by everyone at this point).

I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more, valiantly resisting the urge to tag a pigeon, or wander off to try and find everyone. Finally, in the distance, I saw the lost sheep (well, party members, but you get the idea) wandering back down the steps of the Met.

After a lovely afternoon dinner, I was feeling adventurous, and agreed (only slightly nervously) to split the party again: one group running off to see the friends' apartment, and the other group (me included) heading to The Strand Bookstore. We had no meeting plan, or time, just cell phones.

It was quite nerve-wracking, but we did manage to reunite the party later that evening.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 1

Monday: Nothing, actually.

I had been making a noble effort to face my fears, but tasking while on vacation is tricky. I didn't really do anything that scared me on Monday. But, I continued to confront my fears after the 7th day, so I think it all evens out.

Tuesday: Claustrophobia sucks

Well, I learned something new on Tuesday: if I can't see out a window on a plane, I get really, really, really claustrophobic.

We were seated in the very back row of the plane, where there are no windows, and the windows further towards the front that I could see were all closed. I learned this by having an epic fit (complete with crying) as we took off. My traveling companion was incredibly wonderful about the whole thing, but if I had been given a chance to get off the plane at the time, I would have taken it.

This was a fear I didn't know I had, but I got to discover and confront it all at the same time. Joy.

When we got in the air, and the captain turned off the seat-belt light, my traveling companion got one of the people in front of us to switch seats, so I could see a window. I was still shaky from all the chemicals my body decided to dump during the panic fit, but I calmed down by the time we landed.

Libris Craft's Fears Confronted for the Day: 1

Fear is a Funny Thing

I started this task to accomplish several things. I wanted a task that I could integrate into my daily life, that didn't require a large material or time commitment (although, given how long it took me to write this, THAT part might be debatable.). I also wanted reward myself (through sweet, sweet tasking) for doing things that I didn't want to do.

I got both of these things, but I also thought a lot harder about what fear is, and how I feel it than I ever have before. Most of the things I was afraid of are not things people often list as fears. And to be fair, before I started this task, I didn't really think about them in that way. They were just things that I didn't want to do. Making myself name my fear actually made it... less scary, as strange as that sounds.

I met different kinds of fear: the intellectual fear, where your mind will not stop going around in circles; the fear that you try not to think about; the fear that makes you weep in front of strangers as the plane takes off. In some ways, I wallowed in my fears. I wrote them up, and thought about them, and planned some of them. Fear and I spent a week together, and I know her a lot better than I did.

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posted by Samantha on August 2nd, 2012 9:26 PM

wow you are so brave!