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Column: Bravery in the face of fear

“There is nothing to fear but fear itself.”

What the heck does that mean? Sure it’s a great slogan if you are not afraid of anything, but if you are like me and the sonic boom from the space shuttle puts you in a tizzy, then FDR’s immortal words are not much comfort.

I tend to be frightened easily. Sure, I have the normal phobias – flying insects, heights and clowns.

I have always had a fear of flying – way before Sept. 11. People say being on an airplane with me is an adventure. I have the “hate-to-fly-love-to-drink” theory of air travel.

On one trip to Dallas, a fellow passenger told me upon landing, he was glad there was no in-flight movie because I, in my drunken stupor, was more entertaining than any film.

The flight attendants did not agree with the man’s assessment of the trip as they politely asked me to never fly the friendly skies ever again.

On another trip, while the plane was circling above Orlando waiting to land, I convinced myself there was something wrong with plane. I began rocking back and forth and started making squeaking noises.

“Calm down, Rain Man,” the irritated man sitting next to me said as he slapped me on the back of the head. Now, I know that flying is a safe way to travel, but fears are subjective.

For example, I am not afraid to eat hot dogs. My friend Patty Kim will tell me all the “extra” ingredients that are put into wieners. Doesn’t stop me. Nothings gonna keep me from my dogs. I’ll even scoop them off the floor and gobble them up if they happen to miss the plate en route from the grill.It is also amazing as to the degrees to which people face their fears.

I know people who will jump out of airplanes but are too afraid to get on stage and sing karaoke.

The people who won’t speak to a large group of people are the same people who will bungee jump.

Sometimes, right before I close my eyes to sleep, I think of all the scary things in the world. And while thinking about the recent events in the country can keep you up at night, I tend to think about situations I may face the next day or the things that may affect my future. And this is the stuff that can be really scary.

I dwell on the fact I am graduating in two months and have no idea where I will be working. And then when I do get a job, I fear I will be incompetent.

I worry about driving down I-4 in a car with 119,000 miles on it. I think about the health of my parents.

In the scope to world events these may be comparatively silly things to worry about. Trust me, if we ever stopped to think about all of the bad things that could happen to us, we would cease to function.

With the recent events around the country, we have seen some true acts of bravery.

Some save that bravery isn’t the absence of fear, but overcoming it.

Now, I have never considered myself a brave person, but I have also never been truly tested. And let me emphasize, I am not complaining about that.

  • Ann Norsworthy is a senior majoring in mass communications.