It is a powerful force in its ability to paralyze, hurt and manifest itself into a plethora of physical ailments. Its tentacles can grab you and overpower, keeping you from living.

Last year, I decided I wanted to be fearless. My biggest fear was inadequacy. I seemed to be always unsure of myself and waiting for the inevitable failure around the corner. Troves of butterflies harvested themselves in my tummy and serve as a reminder that I was not good enough for {fill in the blank}. I painstakingly worked on mastering this emotion.

A few weeks ago, I was driving on the freeway, headed from one appointment to the next, when I was sideswiped by another car. The impact sent my Mini Cooper spinning out of control over 5 lanes of traffic, through the Fast Track dividers and hitting the center divider. My first thought was, “How am I not seriously damaged right now?” No other cars hit me, I hit the center divider with the back end of my car instead of head-on, and even though I was facing the wrong way of traffic, the next car was far enough to safely stop in front of me. Also,  I was in my (now ex) husband’s car and its low center of gravity caused the vehicle to remain upright as opposed to my own car which would have flipped…and the many other things I can put on my “thankful” list. The man who hit me drove off. (He was followed by a witness luckily and was caught later on).

This event brought me right smack dab in the middle of the fear cycle again. For weeks, every time I drove and a car drove beside me, it felt as if the icy tendrils of fear wrap its fingers around my throat and force the breath from my lungs. Beads of cold sweat would instantaneously pop from my brow and those butterflies would do its rendition of Swan Lake in my belly. Visions of “What ifs” danced in my head and nausea would threaten to dispel all the dancing butterflies.

Last week, I decided enough was enough. I worked hard to conquer fear and now I wasn’t even able to sit in my car without a stress headache. After my last near-death experience nine months ago, I posted about seeing a piece of jewelry that was a good reminder to breathe. (One of my awesome brides, Brynn, surprised me and had it sent to me!) So I figured jewelry was a good catharsis for any kind of emotional trauma. I found this ring and it was perfect. I actually bought it so it would fit my thumb and I can see it while I have a death clench on my steering wheel. So far, it’s worked. Instead of hyperventilating every time a car gets close, I am only grimacing slightly.

I’m not as fearless as I used to be, but slowly I am working on fearing less and making those darn butterflies stop doing the ballet in my stomach!

P.S. I want to say thank you to the witness who followed the man who hit me for over two miles called the police and made the man stay and wait for CHP to get there. Mr. Holloway, whoever you are, thanks for being my guardian angel that day.

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