Halloween has passed and Alice McKinney is reflecting on why embracing and overcoming your fears can have positive outcomes.
The nights are drawing in and I awake each morning in darkness. Limited edition lattes from bonfire to the PSL (pumpkin spiced latte) are being held in gloved hands across the city of Edinburgh; orange and black packaging dot the aisles of my local Sainsburys; Warburtons has rebranded to Warbootons and even MoonPig’s Twitter handle is now Tombpig. Yes: Halloween is upon us. It’s time to watch re-runs of The Simpson’s’ Treehouse of Horror, listen to the Backstreet Boys’ ‘Everybody’ again (I will fiercely defend this song: it is a true Halloween classic), and watch Hocus Pocus for the thousandth time. This spooky time of year calls for reflection on the twisted and macabre: it’s time for me to delve into the murky waters of my darkest fears.
Firstly, to keep within the theme, let’s start with the negative. These are the fears I have yet to face: leaving voicemails, my doorbell, flying insects, falling down the spiral stairs in the office, scurrying mice, Brexit, and a big one: driving. I’m twenty-seven and I still have never learned. My Dad, at the peak learning age in my life, was a driving instructor. He taught all my friends to pass their tests with flying colours. It’s painfully ironic I know, but I just didn’t have an interest at the time, disregarding the youthful bliss to not feel fear when on the road. I missed that window when you feel that bit more invincible and naïve to the world. Now, I’m resigned to settle for the morning bus commute and sporadically suffer a recurring nightmare about being in a car that’s rolling down a hill and I can’t stop it.
But, there is hope. I have recently conquered quite a few fears. Last year I saw my first ever horror in the cinema (I had seen a few horror films at home hiding under cushions and conveniently leaving the room). I wanted to experience a scary movie in full cinematic atmosphere to get the full whack of this fear I have, stare it on the face and get over it. The film was It which turned out to not be that scary and even quite funny at times…but I’m still counting this one. A couple of weeks ago, I faced my fear of public speaking. We had a Presentation Skills workshop at MediaCom where we learned lots of useful techniques such as the ‘power pose’, and had the chance to practice in front of others. It really helped and before I knew it, I had presented 4 times that day and felt more confident by the end. Lastly, my final conquered fear is perhaps the most grotesque and horrifying of all: exercise. I am not an athletic person- I never took to sport. But this year, I took up cycling. This mixed my fear of the roads, lack of knowledge of road rules and inexperience of being in traffic, with exercise. Having not been on a bike in years, I’ve done pretty well and love a nice weekend cycle around Edinburgh more than anything.
While there is still a long list of things that scare me, it’s important to hold on to those things that I have managed to overcome, and the feeling you get when you accomplish something you never thought you could. So this Halloween season, while I’m curled up at home in my blanket, surrounded by candles, reading Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven while eating Mr Kipling fiendish fancies, I just have to remind myself: there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
If you’re feeling brave, don’t miss this week’s spooky Internet Picks. We take a look at the brands embracing Halloween. Discover more here if you dare…