From Fearless to Fearful and Back

Day 255

I was a fearless child. Growing up in the country and having the freedom to roam helped me be rather fearless. I do remember two points in time where I first felt fear as a child. One, I have written about one here on my blog, where my own thoughts were overwhelming and made me fearful.

The second memory has to do when I went with my siblings to ‘jump rocks’. Jumping rocks was what we did to move across or up and down the creek. We jumped from one exposed rock to another. I was the youngest of four children, and I am sure often the most annoying of the lot.

On this particular day, the creek was up, which made the available surface to jump to and from smaller. My siblings told me to wait on a very large rock because the jumps were too long for me to make. All was well until I looked down to see a snake and what looked like 20 babies swimming along beside the rock.

I started to scream bloody murder. All I wanted was my grandfather to rescue me, but unfortunately he was away visiting his brother. I screamed so loud, the entire community came running. No one could get me off that rock. I wanted my Grandpa.

I am not sure who finally got me off the rock, but I remember this as if it were yesterday. I know now the snakes were harmless water snakes, but at the time, they seemed deadly.

When my granddaughter was here, she started to say “scared” and the most benign things. It seems she has picked up fear of bugs at daycare. Being afraid of bugs in the mountains will not serve you well. We were able to show her bees and bugs and talk about where they lived, but I cannot help but wonder what goes on in her little mind.

Looking back, I think society influences our fear. The news, the guns, the crime, the hatred — all of it bombards us. I have made an intentional effort to limit the amount of time I read the news, spend time on Facebook, or watch too much tv. As a result, I live more peacefully and enjoy life much more.

I also think being knocked down through jobs we held, can make us fearful and believe we are not capable of all the magic that each of us possess. But the magic never dies. Sometimes we just need to unearth it.

The other day I walked by a huge grape vine wound around a tree. I remembered back to the little girl that would hike the woods with her brother, cut free the grape vine and swing like Tarzan. We drank water from the springs using leaves as our cups. That was a fearless girl. I’m glad she’s finding her way home.


22 thoughts on “From Fearless to Fearful and Back”

  1. It strikes me that you had an enviable upbringing in the countryside, Maggie. I spent my youth in central London, where there were no streams, or rocks to jump on. As a child, I developed a fear of spiders, based on my mum being terrified of them. It took me a long time to be able to even look closely at a spider. Even now, I don’t want one on my hand, or running anywhere over me. Strange how such pointless fears can be instilled in a child, and last almost a lifetime.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Pete, I was fortunate to grow up where I did. I never knew how hard it was to forge a life there. We all had chores and never thought anything of it. It was just what it was.

      I am not a fan of spiders either. The bigger they are the less likely I am to like them. We had a huntsmen spider in our house in Florida twice. Neither time was a pleasant encounter.

      The upcoming generation seems to have more knowledge at hand in preventing senseless fears. Not sure how well they can apply it if they carry their own fears along.

      I cannot imagine life growing up in London. Have you blogged about your early years?

      Liked by 1 person

    2. This may sound unbelievable, but I have always picked up spiders I find in the house and carry them to safety outside, and I have never been bitten. But I guess I read somewhere about the people in parts of India and how they have creatures living with them inside the house – creatures we would normally be afraid of, and they consider that their lives are sacred, so will not harm them. I am not quite like that, but I am ok with spiders. Yes, the fears of childhood can last well into adulthood. Good writing. Anne always

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  2. i grew up in rural philippines, and the use of electricity was basic back then meaning we only had a few light bulbs in the house. no street lights at all. so when it gets dark, barring full moon nights, it was pitch dark. i was very fearful of the dark. it took me a long time to overcome that fear.
    thank you, Maggie. i love reading childhood blogs.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That must have been difficult. I am afraid in our country we all take such conveniences for granted.

      My grandparents were teachers in the Philippines in the 1920’s. I have a few of my grandparents’ pictures from that time. I remember their stories well.

      Thank you for reading and for sharing your stories. I treasure the thoughtful comments and the connections made here.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. oh how wonderful to know the connection, Maggie. my parents were both from the northern part of the Philippines and their first teachers were Americans. 🙂 🙂

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        1. My grandparents taught at what is now Central Luzon State University. I think the classes were agriculture based.


  3. So I’m relatively new ’round here … did your parents spank or hit you? No pressure if you don’t want to share. I’m just wondering if that affected you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We were spanked but not often. We were never hit. Never punished in anger. We were only spawned a few times that I remember. What really affected us was the fear of repercussions. We knew the rules and if we chose to break them, that was on us.

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  4. I remember roaming the woods as a 12 year old, usually with friends, but occasionally alone. Now, I can’t imagine going without at least a big dog. “But the magic never dies. Sometimes we just need to unearth it,” makes me look forward to some earthy adventures.

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  5. Well you know I’m having a cow over the snakes!!! Ugh! My mother was repelled by snakes and it stuck with me. I don’t know where she would have experienced a snake before coming to the US from Scotland. I lived in the desert Southwest until I was 18 but I have seen more snakes in my yard here in the Midwest than I ever did in the dSW! They’re only garter snakes but I don’t care–a snake is a snake is a snake.

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  6. Great post! Respect for nature shares a fine line with fear, and in the wild, I can easily gauge who’s been a free-roaming child 😉


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