Tuesday Toss-Up

Are You Afraid of Falling Through the Cracks?

Facing a Big Project Turns Us into Little Kids Again

…in a Bad Way

pg pier by mike138 on FlickrWhen you were a kid, did you ever walk across a pier, look down through the narrow cracks between the planks to the ocean below and become convinced that, if you made the slightest misstep, you were going to fall through the cracks and drown? Or maybe you crossed a bridge, clinging to the side or staying steadfastly in the middle because it seemed like you might be easily swept over the side and plunge to your death, that you might even be compelled to jump over?

When we got a little older, we realized how irrational, how insane, those fears seemed. We could laugh them off because we knew, duh, people can’t fit through the cracks in a pier nor easily be swept over a bridge. But it seemed so real back then.

I think the same thing happens when we face a huge project, whether it’s getting fit, making a life change, writing a book, joining NaNoWriMo or learning something new. Every step along the path to our goal seems treacherous.

Maybe we can’t even admit we’re afraid.We’re adults. Adults aren’t afraid of falling through cracks in the pier. That’s just nuts.

And sometimes those fears stop us cold. We can’t fight back because we can’t even admit we’re having them. We make excuses. We get busy. We forget. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow,” and every day is today.

Of course, once we screw our courage to the sticking place or drag ourselves kicking and screaming onto the path, we realize what we realized when we were kids: just keep moving, one step at a time and you’ll make it to the end just fine, even if you have to hold the rail the whole time.


What irrational fears crop up for you when you’re facing a big project? How do you handle them? Do you have a funny irrational-childhood-fear story to share?

For all my fellow NaNos, how’s it going for you so far?

Photo Credit:
p.g pier by mike 138 on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

3 thoughts on “Are You Afraid of Falling Through the Cracks?

  1. I can’t think of any particular fears I have – irrational or real. However, your childhood fear of the cracks in a pier remind me of my sister’s admonishment that if I stepped on a crack on a street or sidewalk I would break my mother’s back. To this day, I subconsciously avoid stepping on cracks when I walk.

  2. I remember being afraid of falling through the cracks! It seems silly now, but it scared me then. I would jump from board to board and my parents would ask what I was doing. Part of me must have known it was silly cause I never told them.
    Now I’m afraid of failing, of telling people and not living up to their expectations, of being deluded and thinking I’m good at something when I’m really not.

    1. It’s hard, especially when you put yourself out there. That’s the scariest thing about announcing an intention. But, while me might fail, I feel like we can use that failure to learn how we need to do things differently and as encouragement to others so they can see that failure’s just part of the journey. 🙂 That’s how I calm myself down anyway. 😀

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