For almost my whole life — and I’m pretty sure this gene comes directly from my father — I’ve been a glutton for physical thrills.

Horror movies?  No. Haunted houses?  Absolutely, definitely NOT, unless you want to watch me go Apocalypse Now on some poor hourly wage zombie actor.

But roller coasters?  YEAH.

Cliff jumping?  Sure!

Incredibly unsafe, disassembled every two weeks, I-can-literally-see-pieces-of-machinery-falling-off-onto-the-ground rides at roadside fairs?  Let’s DO it.

However Reader, as you know, I haven’t always been, what’s the word?  Graceful.  I have a modest dance background, but that didn’t stop me from being a bit shaky on the silks when I first started.  You remember.  It wasn’t that I couldn’t do the moves in a routine, they just didn’t look like a … dance.  Per se.

In aerial silks, the height issue has never really bothered me.

But these other random fears come up.

While I’m not afraid of falling (and probably should be), I AM afraid of forgetting choreography. Of botching some little piece of move mechanics that will make me flustered mid-performance.  Of not looking as good as other people, of not being flexible enough, of not blah blah blah.

In other words, these fears are in my head.  Fear has been my mean partner-in-crime lately, and I’m not sure why.

I was reading my friend Lauren’s post today on Hipstercrite, and was moved by her very distinct fear: Her fear of cross-continental flying.

But while I don’t want to make light of them, sometimes I do really envy fears like Lauren’s, which are so specific and diagnosable.  Sometimes, I feel like one of those people for whom fear is woven into their very fabric, just looking to tangle itself around any anxiety source that makes itself available: My performance ability, my job, my body.

Well yesterday, I OD’d on fear.

It wasn’t triggered by anything big. Just a slightly overfull work email inbox.

Normal, healthy people might chuckle to themselves in these instances, and say, “another busy day!” while cheerfully sipping their coffee.  At least this is what I imagine them to do.

But instead, I responded by FREAKING OUT.  Because as you know, I am the first person to experience a full inbox, ever.


That picture above is an outtake from a recent photo shoot for Austin Monthly, featuring my new silk.  It’s in my backyard now, and I’m totally f-g thrilled about it.  I’m pretty sure AM is going to feature just a picture of my face in the story instead, but anyway … where were we?  Ah yes.  Fear.

On Sunday, I had my first public silks performance, at Swan Dive.  It was the most amazing feeling in the entire world, Reader, and guess what?  I didn’t forget the choreography.  I didn’t botch the moves.

I fell even more in love with my performance partner, and we want to do more gigs. Many more!

There was a guy standing, like, a foot in front of my face during the show, and every time we did anything slightly flashy, he’d say (in my face): “I LIKE THAT.”  ”YEP, LIKE THAT TOO.”  It’s been making me giggle for the past few days.

So here’s the deal.

(Reader, the following is a private conversation between Fear and I, but you are most welcome to eavesdrop.)

Fear, I am hereby ready to take a break.

Actually, I’d like to fire you.

You will be replaced with dreams.

I’ve had a few ideas lately about my life / future, Fear.  These ideas involve risk, and a teensy, tiny bit of uncertainty.  Things I, careful, practical, calculating maker-of-plans that I am, am not always the best at.

But guess what?  I like that.  Risk, I mean.

And uncertainty, openness, a willingness to try new things, a more trusting spirit, and a kinder, gentler attitude about the world and its possibilities?

Yep.  Like that too.

  • Liz Treichler

    You are my hero. Love how happy you are in this photo! :)

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

      Thank you Liz!  Funnily enough, Ross took these pics, and the rest are some pretty hilarious CROTCH SHOTS.  (Nothing scandalous but wow, angles). Thank God I didn’t post those.

  • Breanna

    You had a show at Swan Dive and I didn’t know about it? Whyyyy, Tolly? Why? 

    NEXT TIME, mkay? I’ma come see you!

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

      I didn’t really tell anyone about it bc I was super nervous! 

      B, that’s so sweet though, that right after something tiny — GETTING MARRIED for example — you still want to come out and support other people doin’ their thang.  :)  You are the opposite of Bridezilla!

  • Hipstercrite

    Good for you, Tolly! I wish my fear of flying was specific, but there are definitely larger issues feeding into it. However, I’m constantly trying to grow and learn! :) I envy your thrill seeking!

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

      Yeah, I hear you — mortality (which may be underlying the fear of flying) is a pretty BIG one. 

      Let me ask you this, Lauren – how are you on psychological fears, like horror movies/haunted houses/et al?  I tend to find that people are either one or the other, either psychological thrills people or physical thrills people.  One time, after someone simply DESCRIBED Human Centipede to me, I had to whimper in front of CuteOverload.com for two full hours!

  • ChelleLynn

    General fear/anxiety is certainly intensely frustrating because it’s so hard to overcome. I actually saw a counselor for a little while (oh, the shame!), and the biggest thing I took away from it is really quite small: Fear is about real danger, while anxiety is about anticipation. For some reason, now I don’t let my anxiety control me as much. It’s still there, but I know that no matter what happens, I’ll be ok. Just because something makes me uncomfortable or scares me, it doesn’t mean that it has the power to hurt me. And, that’s liberating in all kinds of ways.

    I applaud you for kicking fear to the curb!

    • http://www.austineavesdropper.com Tolly Moseley

       Me too, ChelleLynn!  (About seeing a counselor.)  And hey, I love that – fear is about danger, anxiety about anticipation.  I think I’m the kind of person that wants EVERYBODY TO LIKE ME, ALL OF THE TIME, so that in work for example, if a client is less than thrilled with my services, I assume … they … hate me.  Or to put it in your counselor’s terms, I’ll start anticipating an email from them saying how disappointed they are.

      But anyway, yesterday (and today too), I started giving thanks all day long.  Thank you shower for cleaning me!  Thank you banana & peanut butter for being so delicious!  And in a funny way, I think it’s helping me calm down and deal with this nebulous anxiety stuff, because it’s turning my attention towards things that are AWESOME, rather than allowing my brain to spin scary tales about what someone may or may not think about me.

  • http://pinksundrops.blogspot.com Pink Sun Drops

    Can’t believe it’s taken me this long to visit your new URL, but I’m catching up. Oh, Tolly, posts like these remind me why yours is one of the first blogs I catch up on when I get back to reading.