It’s funny how much you can change your own life. Since promising myself I was going to get over my fears, I’ve felt much more confident and free. I pride myself on being those things 365 days a year, but I had unknowingly lost a little of each in the face of my strange phobias. Simply saying I wasn’t going to let them control me anymore loosened their grip on me. I’m not cured, but I am now bold enough to be cured.
I wasn’t sure where to start facing my fears. Do I bungee jump off a bridge? Do I hop a flight to Paris? Do I ask for a loan to start the small business I’ve built in my head? I didn’t really know, especially when I had daily to-do lists longer than Adrien Brody’s nose. I had no choice but to start small, so that’s just what I did.
I don’t have a phobia of the phone per say, but I do have quite the aversion to it. I always have. I will leave my phone in a room far across the house so I don’t have to handle it. Most people feel this incessant need to talk, even if they’re talking about nothing – a gene I missed out on somewhere. Rather than give endless and blatant social cues to someone who will inevitably disregard my schedule, I just don’t make it an issue by deleting it from my itinerary. It’s probably a point of contention for some of my pals, but I hate holding that beautiful iPhone up to my face for longer than five minutes.
Last week I spent a day calling all of my friends to catch up. It was honestly mostly out of forgetfulness (and a few shameless TV marathons) that we hadn’t chatted in so long, but because of this extreme distaste I have for the phone, it dawned on me that it was entirely possible I had subconsciously put it off. I realized I might have let this whole me versus the phone thing edge closer and closer to a becoming a full-blown fear than was healthy.
While I am not physically afraid of the phone, I do fear getting phone calls from unwanted chit-chatters. I fear I will receive bad news that will destroy my day or I’ll have to listen to a barrage of shit I do not care about. I fear my conversation won’t be conveyed correctly because my face isn’t there to accompany my words. But most of all, I have always been afraid that my friends won’t understand my missing telephone gene. I fear when I go a few days without returning a friend’s phone call that they will take it the wrong way, that they will think it’s them, but it’s me. It’s always been me.
I realized very quickly that I had to stop avoiding the phone to avoid a harder turnaround later in life. While I will never be satisfied chatting away on my deck for hours – looking at you, Mom – I have to insert this annoying communication device back in my life. Because I want to? No. Because I have to? Of course. I don’t want to become Howard Hughes, J.D. Salinger, or Monk’s brother. (That was a super meta reference. If you don’t get it, you’re probably the worst….. or you have a life.)
Since that day, I have been carrying my phone around with me a lot more. I have been making an effort to answer calls, and those I haven’t, I’ve tried to return more promptly. My borderline fear was stunting me from fully living, and that’s the whole purpose of overturning these gonnas.
I will never, ever have proper phone etiquette, but at least I’ve steered clear of a ridiculous, inconvenient phobia.