When I went back to SUNY Potsdam as a “non-trad” anthropology student, in 2001. I learned in my Human Origins class that all humans are born with only two fears – the fear of falling and loud noises. The startle reflex, that we witness in babies, and sometimes experience ourselves, as we are falling asleep, or when we hear a loud sound, is our ancient response to those fears.
All other fear is learned. For the most part, it is either: intentionally cultivated by society, codified and legislated, thereby, designed to control our behaviors, physical phobias such as all the creepy crawlies, etc., or incredibly nebulous, but very real angst including the fear of the unknown, or of making mistakes.
I believe that those amorphous anxieties, and the taboos society has created, as restrictions, are inextricably tangled. The prevalence of judgment and blame within our culture feeds the restrictions, which then drives our apprehensions. We are taught from a very early age to keep our heads down, to follow the rules, be perfect, and just be “normal,” or else.
Many of us have a desire to take chances, make waves, explore the possibilities, learn through our mistakes, and create change; however, ejecting ourselves from our cozy little comfort zones involves facing that fear of being judged and ostracized - head on.
I feel this anxiety of potentially screwing-up – daily. The “what-ifs” could be overwhelming, if I let them. There are days that I am mortified by the errors I have made, while there are others that I am so very proud of our accomplishments, and, even, slightly amused by the mistakes. Yes, I have “bucked” the system, by creating something that is completely new and different, which, ironically, involves encouraging and trusting others to push through their own personal blocks erected by fear, to do those things that are important to them. Indeed, there are still those days that I want to chuck it all, and retreat back into my shell; where no one will judge or confront me, and where I can attend to mindless tasks that won’t involve nudging anyone, including myself, to do anything but bask in the comfort of low expectations. Thankfully, those days are few and far between, because wallowing gets really old, very quickly; and, oddly enough, I have come to appreciate the discomfort of being the “weird” one with “strange” ideas.
* This post was inspired by a personal mistake I was made aware of on Friday, and all the subsequent feelings I had in response to that discovery.
Time is marching on. August has arrived with September close on its heels. If you have been thinking that DRC might be an option for your child, please get in touch soon. There has been a flurry of interest over the last few days and I anticipate reaching our maximum number, soon.
Summer Programs are open to any child in the community – Register today.