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Tornados and Lions and Babies, Oh My!

I’m going to do something I’ve never done here before. Go back in time to an old post.

And really, since I have such a fear of the unknown and of loss of control, maybe this can be the fear I faced. Did I mention this post is about fears? It is, as per this week’s “Finish the Sentence Friday” prompt: “One of my biggest fears I ever had to face….” Since I looooove to combine old and new stories, with old and new photos, I went back in time in my blog to find references I’d made to fears I’ve faced. I was particularly looking for lion and tornado stories, because they’re juicy, and because I wanted to share my semi-recent photos from the safari at Animal Kingdom in Disney World. Remember we did that?

This won’t be the full story about Animal Kingdom, but it will be a pretty full story about facing fears. I wrote a whole post about ten fears I’ve faced for Tuesday Ten. So here they are, in no particular order. I’m strong like bull. I face fears:

Ten Fears I’ve Faced, But Not Always Well:

1. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. I watched Wizard of Oz a lot when my father died. I was also a kid. How else can you better explain having a legit tornado phobia at age seven? I lived in New Jersey. Not Tornado Alley. I asked my mom to take down the wind chimes near my bedroom window because they scared the life out of me. She didn’t. I was on my own. And what better place to face your worst phobia, than when you’re not home and visiting your grandparents in Westfield, NJ? I was SO scared. I was shaking. We hid in the basement and heard the umbrella stand blow away. Then the storm passed and we went upstairs to survey the (outdoors) damage. I survived. Not only that, I was never afraid again.

As my childhood grief therapist said about me facing/overcoming my fear, “Yeah. No one died. THAT time.” Boom.

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2. Earthquakes. What could possibly be scary about the ground shaking underneath your feet? Umm. Everything. My first earthquake was actually in New Jersey, as surprising as the tornado. It was mild. My first San Francisco earthquake was bigger but I slept through it, because I’m awesome at that. My third earthquake was while I was at work as an Innkeeper – the only one on duty in a crowded Bed & Breakfast of 20 rooms. No big deal there. I was helping myself to quiche and heard what sounded like a freight train passing through the streets. My quiche was shaking. My plate was shaking. My hands were shaking. Everything was! I was petrified but trying to appear strong for my guests. Until my favorite family ran into the kitchen and they looked at me and they knew, and they enveloped me into their family hug. I think of you, Donna, Dan & Colton.

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3. Leaving home. Before I went to college, my throat closed up and I could barely eat. Instead of doing the rational thing, and telling someone, I relied on my magical thinking and powers of mind persuasion and sure enough, it went away and never came back. I have never taken leaving lightly. After college, I lived in NJ for several years. It’s when I moved to California that I knew, it was really real. I felt so homeless and parentless and so in-between. I never said I did it well, but I’m still learning how to leave and find home again. I’m still learning that it’s more than a place, but a feeling. That’s life, right?

4. Pregnancy and Childbirth. One of those things is much scarier than the other, and it’s probably not the one you think. Not long after I left home, (above) I went searching for it again. I knew a lot of things were up in the air, but the last thing I KNEW is that I was pregnant. And yet I was. Already six weeks along. Luckily, life gives you nine months (minus six weeks in my case) to prepare for the wonders awaiting you. I had zero morning sickness, I only gained weight in my stomach, and I was still running around like a lunatic at nine months. If all pregnancies were like Scarlet’s, the world would be even more full of babies. As for childbirth, I’d do it again. In fact I did. And I would do it again. That’s not the hardest part for me.

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5. Submitting writing. Granted, I definitely do things on my own time and in my own way and sometimes it feels like I still haven’t done IT, but I think IT is probably watching northern lights with whales, moose, chocolate, my kids, Tom Petty, Tim Curry, and others, and then writing a best-selling book about it. Since that hasn’t happened, yet, I should point out that I have four big, fat chapters in four books now. Half are about my most intimate of mental health thoughts. So, take that, fear.

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6. Photographing a wedding. Or four. If, at any point two years ago or more, you had told me I would photograph weddings, somewhat comfortably (if you call intense nerves beforehand comfortable) I would never have believed you. And yet, it’s coming together so oddly and magically. And who knows? Maybe I’ll even do three in one year. Someday. Or four. Or more!

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7. Vomit. Do I really have to talk about this, boss? Well since I’m the boss of myself, I’ll let it slide. Let’s just say I have Emetophobia and I also have two kids – one with my stomach, and one who barfed all night twice last year. NOT FUN.

I survived. I will survive.

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8. Traveling, Restaurant, Movie Theater Alone. Not only did I face these three fears in my 20’s, now it’s gotten to a point in which I desire them. I desire to be by myself.

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(It’s ok if you want to say it. If you want to say that this photo doesn’t look like me. I had gotten a free spa gift card and they did this to me. It took awhile to wash away the makeup so I needed a photo first. Also, self-care time is fabulous.)

9. Flying after September 11, 2001. Not only that, it was technically an international flight on Cathay Pacific. The plane was going to Hong Kong, but dropped us off in Vancouver so we could get through customs and then go find some otters and glaciers. True story. I was so nervous for the flight that I had plane crash dreams starting three months before my trip. My doctor gave me Klonopin just to get on the plane. I never touched it. And during the flight, I experienced the worst turbulence of my life. I’m talking the plane falling out of the sky a few hundred feet, or so it seemed. And calmly, I looked out the window and ate pretzels. I guess I had already paid my dues during the three months of bad dreams?

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10. Letting people in and out of my heart and life. What’s harder than that? And I’ve done it and I’ll do it again, and then again, and then again. And I think I’ll survive each time, even if it feels like I won’t. And there it is. Fears I’ve faced.

Some are still there. Some have gone. Some weaker. Some stronger. Some will never come back. Some have yet to form.

Now, how was that? A little long? That’s how I roll. No fears there. Now let’s talk Animal Kingdom. It was our first time. We had FastPassed the safari ride for late morning, but rushed in when the gates opened and got on it right away:

All four of us sat in one row, and of course we let the kids take the “window” seats.

I am just getting back into taking photos of my family adventures, after a year of needing space from it. So it’s rusty but fun. I did go totally crazy after the safari, but that’s a story or two for another day. (probably next week!)

The one thing we didn’t see that we wanted to see was a giraffe or two! It was still enjoyable and well done.

The JEEP drivers pretended we were really on a safari in Africa, and they had a lot of kids (and probably adults) fooled.

Did I mention lions? I used to have a legit phobia (read: irrational fear) of lions. My brothers were once screaming in the street because they were fighting, and I assumed they were screaming because of lions. In NJ. Hey, it happens.

I think I got the phobia of lions the way I got the ones of tornados. Wizard of Oz right before my father died.

I’m happy to say I’m way over it now.

After our first safari ride (because yes, we still used our late morning FastPass to ride it twice), we went to the “stroller park” and saw a squirrel enjoying the brownies from someone’s strollers. I took pictures, just in case anyone asked.

A fear of squirrels stealing your brownies seems like a legit fear, no?

Linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s ever-timely topic is “One of my biggest fears I ever had to face…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the matter: HERE.

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69 Comments

  1. OK, I love The Beatles song you chose and by the way, I am going to Animal Kingdom this time out in Disney in the summer if it kills me and will not be dropping my phone anywhere near water or I may cry! But still thank you for sharing your pics of Animal Kingdom and got me so excited to see 🙂

    1. It’s a song I didn’t know until I met Cassidy!
      I promise you, your phone will survive Florida this time. And make sure you say hi to the giraffes for me!

  2. We have some of the same fears and we’ve both met them and conquered them. I haven’t conquered all of them but I’m well on my way.
    I experienced my first earthquake in IL. which I thought was odd, but I’m afraid to face one here in WA.
    I’m from Texas… tornados are kind of a thing there… but IL has them a lot too!
    I love your writing, I can’t imagine you ever being afraid to share this gift. Keep writing always 🙂
    Also, I flew Sunday September 10, 2001 to Chicago from Texas to start my new life as wife with my husband, and two days later the world changed. My next flight would be scary but not as scary as other flights with anxiety moving in…
    XOXO

    1. Sometimes I worry that earthquakes are worse on the west coast. I guess you never know because I’ve had more here!
      I have a weird dream of chasing a tornado from a safe distance. I’m nuts! I would even go on a shark cage over.. say.. trying cocaine. In a heartbeat!
      I can’t believe you flew the day before..

  3. That squirrel is too funny! I’ve never been to Animal Kingdom, but it’s on my list. I haven’t gone to a Disney park in years, and I need to change that. Also, hooray for facing fears! Letting people in and out of my life is a hard one for me, but life is giving me plenty of opportunities to get better at it.

    1. That squirrel was a real entrepreneur, I think!
      I just found out that today is Animal Kingdom’s birthday (opened Earth Day, 1998) so I can’t believe how timely I am!

  4. Interestingly, my oldest daughter is the tornado in the Wizard of Oz tonight. So we have been watching quite a bit of Oz. Your pictures and words are always lovely and so heartfelt as usual. Right now things are intense and I am pushing my fears to the back burner, avoidance isn’t always good, but short term survival is my major concern for now. Sometimes fears help us grow, right? Hopefully that is what is happening for me now. Hugs! and have a great rest of your week:)

    1. She’s.. the tornado?? And she was a Snow Queen of sorts, right? Her range is amazing! Beautiful girl.
      I’m sorry to hear things are intense. I think sometimes avoidance just has to happen. We all rise to meet what’s coming for us, I believe, but sometimes in more palatable forms. And sometimes later. I think that’s ok.
      Hope you’re doing ok and you have a great weekend.

  5. Disney does it all so well!! Trust me, Africa never looked so good! Your post had me thinking about the fears I may have faced. Perhaps speaking in front of an audience would be the hardest one I overcame. That paralyzed me for a while. I supposed the hardest fears I have ever faced were those that I didn’t see coming. My mantra is “Fear is the mindkiller.” It’s been very useful. Then, of course, there are the ones I avoid, but we won’t go there 😉

    1. It’s true. Disney! I heard the safari is bigger than an entire town, or something like that!
      I had to do a speech at my sister’s wedding last year and I was so scared I was shaking. And that was people I knew! But.. the subject matter was more important than probably anything I’ll ever speak about, so maybe it will never be that scary.
      I avoid fears too, trust me! That could be a whole other top ten list.

  6. We all have Fairesta just like you I had a problem flying after 9/11. I almost didn’t make a flight just because of it and had nightmares that I was going to die and wouldn’t make it. I finally did but it was tough! By the way I love that song you chose ‘I will survive’ because you’re a survivor through and through. As for animal kingdom it’s great to finally see photos. We went last year and did get to see the giraffes, maybe you’ll see that the next time you go.

    1. I have more photos coming, so I’m glad you enjoyed! Maybe we’ll go next year and it will be giraffes everywhere. That safari must be huge, because where on earth were all the giraffes hiding??

  7. I know I saw this often but.. GORGEOUS photos. Love.

    And I always hated flying. But after 911 it made it worse. I had to fly several times afterwards and I was in a bit of a panic.

      1. Amber it never gets old! I have been worried I’ve lost my touch with photography. All in my head, because I do keep learning.. I hope.
        So thank you.

  8. I had many of the same fears at one time. And isn’t it funny when you look back at them. I was terrified of earthquakes- and my first time in California – yup, an earthquake. I’ve never been in a tornado and pray I never am – that **** is still scary!!!!

    1. I think tornados are so petrifying.. definitely a valid fear, although mine became a phobia in that I feared it in places it wouldn’t have gone! I feared wind chimes!
      Anyhoo…I blame Wizard of Oz. Darn genius movie.

  9. The safari ride first thing in the morning is the perfect time – the light is lovely. Your pictures are amazing, as usual. Tamara, I think you are so brave. You’ve faced all of those fears, and done it well. You inspire me :)!

    1. Ah, thank you! We went again later in the day and I didn’t take photos. I think it was partly because it was repetitive, and also because the morning light had been so great.

      You are so brave too.

  10. Oh my gosh, the safari ride looks amazing! And the light in your photos is so gorgeous, the way it makes the branches of the trees glow. Love that. Now I want to go take photos of something. (Visiting your blog often does that to me.)
    And squirrels better stay away from my brownies, that’s all I’m saying. (Even if I do find them kinda scary, especially when they chatter at me.)

  11. Ha, that picture of that squirrel! (On a playground trip last summer we a Cambridge squirrel did the same thing with my friend’s sandwich).
    I have found that I have become more fearful of flights since becoming a mom. Every time there is turbulence my heart races!
    The way you have faced your fears, head on, is really inspiring.

    1. haha! Your poor friend and her sandwich! Lucky squirrel, though. They’re ruthless.
      I feel the same way about turbulence now! I used to handle it way better.

  12. I have a love-hate relationship with “leaving” as I’ve left several times and have also come back several times too. Every time it happens, I feel anxious inside but through time, I’m getting better in dealing with it.

    I love your Safari photos! Hope to have that kind of adventure too with Reiko; he loves animals so much. Plus I wanna see a zebra in real life!

  13. I just read an article about earthquakes on the west coast, which I should not have done given that we are going there this summer. I tend to catastrophize.

    Fun fact about the lions on the Kimamanjari Safari – that high rock has cool air blowing out of it, to encourage the lions to hang out there. It works!

  14. Yay for recycled posts! If I’m not mistaken, that original list was from a Tuesday Ten. 🙂 I keep seeing prompts and thinking, “I’ve already written about that!” and I don’t even think about recycling.

    Love the safari pictures, too! That was one of our favorite things when we went to Disney!

  15. I never flew pre 9/11 – but I hate flying now. Mostly because the three times that I have flown, I’ve had to do it alone and it just gives me such terrible anxiety.

    1. Oh wow – I haven’t flown alone in ages. I have to confess that I like it more. Now I fly with kids and I get so busy entertaining them, that it’s less relaxing. I’d rather be tense alone!

  16. LOL, I skimmed #7 – you need not say more that the V word for me. You remind me that I have so many fears.

    I’m in a weepy mood today so #2 almost made me cry. I just felt you in that moment. Unlike the hurricanes we get here, you can’t really prepare for an earthquake. You try to with a tornado but it’s either going to get you or it’s not.

    We had a very rare earthquake or maybe tremor here once. We called it an earthquake. West Coast would call it a tremor if they even noticed. We are fairly close to base and used to the vibrations of low flying helicopters and range fire. That day I wondered if that was it, but I noticed things shaking. I froze. I didn’t know what do. I just called Christopher to come to me and we stood hugging in the kitchen. He felt my fear and asked what was on top of our house. Transformers was new to him and it was totally likely that a transformer was on our roof.

    1. ha! Don’t worry. I wasn’t detailed at all. And I imagine you’re less phobic than I am from what you’ve written about. Unless those stories made it worse.
      Let’s digress..
      I think a transformer WAS on your roof!

    1. It matters so thank you! I have been feeling blah about it lately. Maybe it’s the bigger emphasis on blogging as our main source of income, well, after Cassidy’s income, of course. So I can afford to say no to photography jobs that seem obnoxious. I used to not be able to afford that.
      Then if you say no to one.. sometimes you say no to two.
      Ultimately though, I’m a still a yes girl. You can just tell sometimes.. a bad fit.

  17. Love all the photos! We have never been to Animal Kingdom. The last time we were at Disneyworld, Animal Kingdom was set to open later that year. I have a lot of those same fears and number nine was a big one for a while. Looks like a wonderful family trip!

  18. Squirrels both scare me and fascinate me at the same time. I am scared at how completely fast and smart they are yet I am fascinated by how completely fast and smart they are. hmph. Lions are also scary but I never though about them enough to fear them—out of sight out of mind? I tell you one thing, when I see them in real life, I never get too close. I respect the king.

    1. Athena will chase every squirrel at the park. I tell her, “Athena, they have the biological advantage of being able to climb trees away from you!”
      She’ll still do it forever, though.

  19. Your photos are, as always, gorgeous and now I want to go to Animal Kingdom. I think we’re going to do Disney in December so YAY! Also, it was the flying monkeys that got me from Wizard of Oz (and isn’t it funny that you remember the windchimes so well?).

    1. Oh fun! I’ll probably be back down there a month later. Although with the money we spent on the Disney resorts, we could probably go to Italy this year! I wish.

  20. Who knew NJ was so darn dangerous?? I live here and I had no idea. Now I’m going to be scared to walk down the street! Earthquakes, tornados, lions…. My bff is scared to death of throwing up; I was always amazed as a kid (and a hungover twenty-something) how she never threw-up.

    1. haha! Yes! NJ is full of obstacles. So my lion phobia was legit because a lion escaped from a zoo in NJ in the 1980’s and my sister’s college boyfriend saw it!
      The vomit phobia thing is a weird one. Many of us have it. I’m sure no one likes to puke (I think?) but the phobia is quite certainly a sign of something deeper.

  21. I can so relate to so many of these fears. Earthquakes is a big one, as was flying, and death, both of myself and my loved ones. And yes, squirrels are crazy freaky, man. One minute you think they’ll scamper off, then the next, they’re these brave little guys you think just might pounce on you if you get too close!

    1. I remember getting close to a squirrel in Yellowstone and I had my zoom. These above photos were only taken with my 50mm because I got all the way to Florida before I realized that my favorite zoom lens won’t fit on my new camera body. Boo!

  22. I love the safari at Animal Kingdom. I was too clueless and carefree to be afraid of flying after 9/11. I was in college in Atlanta so the only way I was going home for Christmas was by flying home. I think I’m more afraid of flying now than I was back then. Being a parent has made me more afraid of a lot of things.

    1. I hear you. And also flying is harder now because we focus more on our kids. If I flew alone, I might better understand my flying behavior! hmm…

  23. Oh my gosh those pictures are absolutely BREATHTAKING!!!

    And I read through your fears with a smile on my face, because just knowing you for the time I have- I see how much you have grown and how your courage has paved the way through those fears- straight into victory and triumph and above all… JOY. I’m just so happy for it all. *Most of it anyway*

    You always inspire me, Tamara. <3

    1. Thank you, thank you! More photos coming this week. And more and more!
      It’s so true. I wrote this post awhile back and you have seen the growth since then. And more fears faced since then, I’m sure! And probably more fears realized, but I’ll take the win.
      XOXO

  24. Strangely, when my father died, I had a recurring nightmare about tornadoes. According to my Jung-Mystic Dream book, tornadoes represent CHANGE. So in the end, I think a lot of us, and judging from your fears, fear change. And I have a fear of vomiting. Not the vomit as much as vomiting. Between food poisoning and migraines, I’m so scared if I vomit, I won’t stop until drugged at the ER.

    1. Interesting about tornados! I was wickedly afraid of them. Not like I like them now, but it’s not a phobia. They don’t come here too often.
      As for your fear of vomiting, that makes so much sense. There’s nothing scarier than that legit loss of control, not only in feeling, but in body. I think I’m afraid I won’t be able to breathe.

  25. Earthquakes & tornadoes are definitely frightening and I’ve only been through wimpy little earthquakes here on the east coast. 9/11 also changed my attitude toward flying, though I’m not going to stop doing it! Good for you for facing the fears you have!

    1. We actually had a tornado here several Junes ago. It was so scary. The sky was yellow and green! A few people died too, which makes it major. I couldn’t believe it.
      The earthquakes are wimpy here! I hope that stays.

  26. You touched each and every avenue of all the women 🙂
    Natural disasters to being alone with heart ache and child birth…phew!

    Although, I want to compliment on your excellent photography skills, and I guarantee that you needn’t worry about that 🙂

    Lovely post, Tamara!
    xoxo

    1. Man, I really did, didn’t I? We have a lot of avenues!

      The photography comment really made my Monday. Thank you. I totally do worry!!

  27. These are relatable and universal fears. It’s hard to acknowledge them, but saying and writing these fears helps lessen the power they might have over you in the future. (I hope!) I’ve experienced a tornado, hurricane and earthquake. Talk about being in the middle of uncertainty!

  28. Oh I loved this so much!

    I identified with a lot of it too. Maybe because it was from an anxious heart, being read by an anxious heart?!

    I’m terrified of tornados too. My fear started with The Wizard of Oz as well. We live in Alberta – so my parents reassured me that no tornados ever hit here. Then in the summer of 1987 a tornado hit about 15 blocks away from my house. The storm itself was terrifying. I was a terrified 13-year-old. My parents were at work and I was downstairs in the basement.

    27 people died. There’s a great song by The Rural Alberta Advantage, called Tornado ’87 – which was inspired by the events of that scary day. Anyway… I’m even more scared of tornadoes now.

    I love the pictures of all these wonderful wild animals… the lions and the rhinos are my favourite!

    Thanks for sharing!
    xoxo

    1. 27 people! That’s so scary! We had a tornado here about five years ago or so. Scarlet has no memory of it, luckily. We had to hide in the basement although it never came to our actual town. Four people died, I believe, and lots of homes were destroyed. And it wasn’t a big one. But we were so not prepared for it because.. New England.

  29. Beautiful Pictures…I love the safari ride at Animal Kingdom. We share many of the same fears, except the one about tornadoes…along with hurricanes they are a regular occurrence in Florida 😉

  30. I’m not sure how you could develop a fear of lions from the Wizard of Oz…that guy was about as scary as a wet noodle. But I suppose childhood is all about irrational fears. I love your pics – I love what an awesome lady you are – and I love that you keep on conquering them all.

  31. those photos are unreal. you have such talent! like you, i felt like i was really on my own when i left the bay area and moved to chicago. that’s when life and living got REAL! what a big shift that was: no friends, no home, nada.

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