I'm deathly afraid of bobcats. I live less than a mile away from a forest, and bobcats can run 30 miles per hour, which means a bobcat could show up in my backyard in two minutes. Why would a bobcat show up in my backyard? Probably because cats can sense fear and I fear them. I'm deathly afraid of bobcats. Or, I thought I was.
A couple of months ago, I went camping for the first time ever on a piece of property that I heard, and someone had seen, a bobcat on. It was with a group of people that I love and a tiny dog that would surely protect us from the bobcat. But, the idea of playing manhunt, sitting around a bonfire, going camping for the first time, and everything those two things entail excited me more than the idea that a bobcat could be roaming around on the property scared me.
A bonfire burned near the tent, and I stared up at shooting stars and airplanes through the ceiling of the tent. Everyone in the tent argued about climate change and the state of America until we fell asleep. It rained on us, we got up at the crack of dawn, and a tiny dog crawled into my sleeping bag at 4 o'clock in the morning. And I wasn't afraid. Maybe I was distracted, maybe I was having too good of a time to care. What I realized was that that thing-the fear-it was in the back of my mind the whole time, waiting to see if maybe it could come out-and it never did, because I didn't let it-for whatever reason.
Honestly, if I saw a bobcat in the wild, there's a good chance I would pass out. The mere thought of encountering one while walking or playing manhunt in the forest makes me not want to do those things. But, I love doing those things, and I don't want the fear of something (with a small chance of it occurring in the first place) to hold me back from doing these things.
And that's the thing about fear. It's the thief of joy.